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Badger Breakdown: Darrell Bevell

The quarterback behind the rise of Badger Ball becomes the ultimate Wisconsin man? Could happen.


In the past day, there was talk of a need of a Wisconsin man to coach up the Badgers. Someone who would be always loyal to Badger football above and beyond all others. Someone who is a cornerstone of the program's history. This may be a fit of fancy, but hear me out.

Maybe we're in need of a bit of professionalism.

Overview: Darrell Bevell is the quarterback who beat Ohio State at Camp Randall in 1992 and won the 1994 Rose Bowl. He was the first, and you always hold a kind spot in your heart for your first. After his time at Wisconsin, he worked his way up the college ranks before crossing over to the pros as a Brett Favre wrangler-slash-quarterbacks coach until he was wrested away by the Minnesota Vikings. He found safe landings in 2011 in Seattle, and is currently the man calling plays for Russell Wilson.

Why This Works: I have this theory. When the sheen of the NFL is bestowed on a coach dropping down, there is a certain amount of competitive advantage where, unless you're a complete boob like Al Groh or fundamentally don't understand these kids and their high-powered offenses like Mike Sherman, you're going to get something worthwhile. I mean, Todd Grantham, who was as journeyman as one could get, has become one of the best defensive coordinators in college football.

So it might not matter that Bevell's never really had a truly great pro offense. There's an outlier in his total offense rankings. Let's see if you can guess the reason why.

Darrell Bevell's NFL Offenses
Season Total Offense Ranking
2012 24th
2011 28th
2010 23rd
2009 5th
2008 17th
2007 13th
2006 23rd

That's right. The final Faustian bargain with the devil Brett Favre made was Bevell's best offense in totality. But you know what? It doesn't matter. Jim Harbaugh was once an assistant in Oakland under Bill Callahan. Greg Schiano was once an assistant in Chicago under Dave Wannstedt. Mike Riley was a career 14-34 in the NFL. I may be giving this short shrift? But dropping back down to the collegiate level feels like it has some value to it.

And did I mention he won the Badgers' first Rose Bowl in the history of ever?

Why It doesn't? He seemed to be the worst enemy of an offense that was dominating the preseason with his "Canada"ing of Wilson. Wilson was such an electric presence in August that he managed to fool idiots into thinking that Seattle was a Super Bowl team. By the first part of November, Wilson was only completing 56.7 percent of his passes and threw 8 picks against 10 TD's.

Now it goes without saying that Wilson's numbers have been spectacular in his last four games, and I'm not the fool that will just irrationally throw someone under the bus without giving them credit for the good they do. But Bevell is someone with the temerity to run a stentorian offense even when it seems not to make a lick of sense. And this is something familiar.

And as it is familiar? It is very worrisome. Because you may be able to drop down and have success. But someone with inconsistent offensive performances and someone who takes nine weeks to figure out a spectacular talent like Russell Wilson is someone who could very well get this patient but ambitious fanbase into a lather. And at best? This means a frustrating inconsistency that would make Bevell jump before he was pushed.

And at worst, we're going back down the hill.

My Opinion: He's the opposite of Taggart. The casual fan would love him. But he seems to be someone who needs something the Badgers don't often get to be a success. I know what I said regarding NFL coaches dropping down. But I think I'm out.

Percentage Chance: He's a sleeper with a higher than expected chance of being hired. But he's also an outsider at present. Throw it in at 6 percent.