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Badger Bits: How has Gary Andersen handled the transition so far?

Should we be worried, or is the recent spate of transfers par for the course in a coaching change?

Douglas C. Pizac-US PRESSWIRE

The news that David Gilbert will be transferring to Miami sparked some hand-wringing in the B5Q comments section. Since Gary Andersen has taken over, four players have transferred -- defensive backs Reggie Mitchell and Donnell Vercher, quarterback Danny O'Brien and Gilbert -- and a pair of staff members have bolted in tight ends coach Jay Boulware and assistant strength coach Brian Bott. As a result, some may wondering whether there is something about Andersen that is driving away players and staff.

So are the recent departures signs of a disease, or simply coincidence? Probably the latter, but it's a fair question to ask. All of the departures have relatively tidy explanations, however. O'Brien was buried on the depth chart and wanted to play, Vercher was a compliance casualty, Boulware went to Oklahoma for possibly better pay, and Bott's motives are unclear but he went way out of his way to emphasize that his decision to leave had nothing to do with the regime change.

That leaves Mitchell and Gilbert as the two most sting-worthy departures. Mitchell had seemingly locked down a starting safety spot as a redshirt freshman, and Gilbert could have been one of Wisconsin's biggest impact players if his balky foot issues ever subsided. Both players moved closer to home, but made lateral moves at best by joining Pitt and Miami, respectively.

Given the reports that Andersen has been open to players and gone great lengths to create team unity, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that he isn't actively driving players away. Every transition will have its costs. In a large program, it's safe to assume a few players won't be comfortable under a new head coach. No coaching change is exactly like another, but on the spectrum from "seamless" to "Rich Rodriguez tire fire," Andersen's move to Madison has been much closer to the normal end. Until someone slams the door as they walk out muttering something about "family values," I'm not going to worry much.


Wisconsin State Journal profile on Chasen Andersen.

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The process of identifying a concession provider comes on the heels of UW Athletics making a change in its non-alcoholic beverage supplier. The Dr Pepper Snapple Group, whose brands include Dr Pepper, 7-Up, A&W Root Beer, Hawaiian Punch and Sunkist, will replace Coke, which had pouring rights for the past 10 years.

I love Hawaiian Punch with all my heart and have no problem with attending sporting events for the sole purpose of drinking it.

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