On Thursday, Paul Chryst completed his 2021 coaching staff by hiring new cornerbacks coach, Hank Poteat. That means that the Badgers now have five offensive coaches, five defensive coaches and one special teams coach for their 11 on-field coaches.
As Owen noted on Twitter Thursday, this is how the coaching lineup shakes out:
QB: Paul Chryst
RB: John Settle
WR: Alvis Whitted
TE: Mickey Turner
OL: Joe Rudolph (also associate head coach,
offensive coordinator and run game coordinator)
DL: Ross Kolodziej
OLB: Bobby April III (also run game coordinator)
ILB: Bob Bostad
CB: Hank Poteat
S: Jim Leonhard (also defensive coordinator)
Specialists: Taylor Melhaff (not one of the 11 “on field” coaches)
Special teams coordinator: Chris Haering
Jeff Potrykus noted on Friday morning that Chryst will be going back to calling the plays on offense which is a welcome sign for many Badgers fans.
#Badgers coach Paul Chryst said he had productive talks with OL/OC Joe Rudolph. With a full/somewhat normal off-season planned, Chryst plans to coach QBs and go back to calling plays.— Jeff Potrykus (@jaypo1961) February 12, 2021
This makes an awful lot of sense for multiple reasons. Firstly, Rudolph wasn’t a particularly good play caller and when Chryst was calling the plays as the OC in his first stint at UW the offenses set records. Secondly, the offensive line hasn’t been as good as expected the past two years and that may be because Rudolph hasn’t been able to focus as much on them while also dealing with game plans. Offensive line is a complicated position to play and coach so having Rudolph with one fewer thing on his plate will help.
On the other side of the ball, adding Poteat is a solid decision too. It takes something off of Leonhard’s plate and allows him to focus on the safeties as well as the overall defensive strategy. I also like that Poteat is not an in-house hire or Wisconsin grad, even though he does have Chryst connections from their time together at Pitt. Slowly branching out and getting new, fresh ideas is a good thing.
One thing I’m concerned about is recruiting responsibilities, most notably at the quarterback position. Former QB coach Jon Budmayr was excellent at identifying talented players before they blew up (see Mertz, Graham and Hill, Deacon) but who is going to take on that role now? Chryst obviously won’t be trekking around the country trying to unearth QB prospects, but he sure as hell needs to find someone to do it.
Also, where will Poteat recruit? He went to Pitt and was born in Philadelphia, so Pennsylvania and New Jersey seem like reasonable places for him to start. As cornerbacks coach he’ll probably also find himself in Florida a fair amount since the Badgers like to pull guys out of Dade County and surrounding areas for their defensive backfield.
After finishing this post I went to UWBadgers for some volleyball info and found that Mike Lucas had posted an interview with Chryst discussing a whole lot of this! It is worth your time to see how Coach Dad is feeling about his new look staff heading into spring practice.