Gary Andersen gave a measured performance Wednesday when called to the podium at Big Ten media days. He talked in platitudes, gave away just a taste of information, and didn't call Urban Meyer an axe murderer when prompted. When he deigned to indulge himself, he maintained the appropriate volume of his voice and stated, simply and repeatedly, that Chris Borland is the best linebacker in the country.
Reviews came in, and they were unanimous: Gary Andersen is boring. The State Journal, Journal Sentinel and B5Q all used the word. Rodger Sherman said that Andersen "seems like a dude from Utah" during SB Nation's live blog yesterday. Our new head coach is a dullard in an age when weirdness reigns on the sidelines, where one can find men who can turn their faces violet, who eat grass, who can't stop making that face (seriously stop it Tim Beckman), or who are actively trying to ban the last decade of offensive innovation.
Understandably, data is scant tying podium personas to in-practice and on-sideline products, but there are practical examples. Brady Hoke, Mark Dantonio and Darrell Hazell come off as stoic, gruff and fiery, respectively, in front of media, and are much the same way on game days. Borland, Jared Abbrederis and James White stood up for their head coach yesterday, saying that Andersen is much looser around players than he is speaking in front of crowd, though they were inclined to put a positive spin on the story.
How Andersen is perceived will have a major impact on Wisconsin's success this season. Teams with dynamic head coaches have won-What's that? It won't? Okay then.
Weirdly, having a milquetoast coach is sort of exciting. There's an air of mystery when compared to men who truly wear their hearts on their sleeves. Some vacillate easily between passionate extremes, while others are patient and leave you wondering what it would take to make them break. The first day Andersen feels the need to speak his mind could be terrifying.
We have no idea what's going on beneath that leathery exterior. If television has taught me anything it is that mild-mannered men rarely ever are, and that Andersen could really be Superman or, just as easily, Patrick Bateman. I prefer the latter:
Doomed Reporter: Will your offense differ from Wisconsin tradition?
Andersen: I want to smash your tender skull.
Doomed Reporter: I see, have you always been dedicated to running the ball?
Andersen: I have to return some videotapes
There might be some fanfic in this space in the near future.