So far the wild and crazy coaching carousel of the 2021 season has not impacted the Wisconsin Badgers football program, but with many schools now settled on a head coach, we might start to see more and more action as the various coaches try to fill out their staff with assistants and coordinators.
One of those programs is Virginia Tech who recently hired Penn State’s defensive coordinator Brent Pry as their new head coach. According to a report from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Pry has targeted Wisconsin’s offensive line coach Joe Rudolph to join the Hokies staff.
Joe Rudolph played at UW and has been an assistant with the Badgers for a total of 11 seasons -- from 2008-2011 and from 2015 through this season.— JSOnline - Badgers (@js_badgers) December 21, 2021
Rudolph is currently in his seventh season as the Badgers Associate Head Coach and offensive line coach. Before that, Rudolph was the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach for Paul Chryst at Pittsburgh.
If hired, Rudolph would likely retain a similar position to what he is in currently at Wisconsin, with a title as “run game coordinator” in the mix. Pry has already hired former Penn State tight ends coach Tyler Bowen as his offensive coordinator, so a jump up in terms of position title does not appear to be in the cards. A departure from Rudolph would not be an overly surprising move as he has shown interest in other jobs in the past, most notably in 2019 when he was a top candidate for the Temple Owl’s head coaching vacancy.
A departure from Rudolph would certainly cause some shuffling in Wisconsin football’s coaching staff. The Badgers would need to replace a major position on the offensive staff, but there are certainly some staff members in house that could possibly jump into his role like linebackers coach Bob Bostad who was the Badgers offensive line coach and run game coordinator during his first stint at Wisconsin. Rudolph is also a top recruiter for Wisconsin, so his departure would be a significant blow to that department as well which is already under some scrutiny.
Overall, these reports are just that, reports, and nothing is official just yet, but they are an interesting story to keep an eye on. We will update on any further reports as they come out.