Badgers reportedly ‘part ways’ with offensive line coach

14 Comments

An uneven start to the 2012 season that included a stunning upset at the hands of an unranked team has apparently cost a member of Wisconsin’s coaching staff his job.

While not yet confirmed by the school, the Wisconsin State Journal, citing a source close to the football program, reported late last night that Mike Markuson is out as UW’s offensive line coach.  The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel subsequently confirmed Markuson’s ouster.

During a radio interview Monday morning, head coach Bret Bielema declined to address Markuson’s status.

“As of now there is no comment on that,” Bielema said, speaking on WIBA-AM (1310) by way of the Journal Sentinel. “We’re trying to work through the work week.”

Bart Miller, in his second season as UW’s offensive quality control coordinator, will reportedly step in as the new line coach.

Markuson was hired in the offseason to replace Bob Bostad, widely regarded as one of the top line coaches in the country and who left to join former Badgers offensive coordinator Paul Chryst‘s staff at Pittsburgh.  Bostad then left his position as Pitt’s coordinator to take the line job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Two games into Markuson’s tenure, the Badgers sit at just 103rd in the country in rushing yards per game.  UW hasn’t finished any lower than 37th in that category since head coach Bret Bielema took over in 2006, and haven’t ended the year below 15th the past four seasons.

In Saturday’s loss on the road to Oregon State, the Badgers were held to just 35 yards on 23 attempts.  In a narrow five-point win over FCS program Northern Iowa, UW averaged just 3.6 yards per carry.

Montee Ball, who entered 2012 as one of a handful of preseason Heisman favorites, has averaged just 3.9 ypc and scored one touchdown on the ground.  The past two seasons, the All-American running back has averaged over 6.2 ypc and rushed for 51 touchdowns.

It should also be noted that, in addition to Bostad, the Badgers also lost three all-conference linemen to the NFL.

UPDATED 3:11 p.m. ET: Bielema confirmed Monday afternoon that Markuson is no longer a member of his coaching staff.

“[We] decided to move on,” Bielema said according to the Journal Sentinel. “It was really something that wasn’t a knee-jerk thing by me.”

Of course, “parting ways” with an assistant two games into his first year on your staff is the dictionary definition of knee-jerk, but whatever.

Jeremy Smith’s dad says RB son transferring from Louisville

Getty Images
Leave a comment

A lost 2017 season for Jeremy Smith has morphed into a departure for the player.

The father of the running back confirmed to the Louisville Courier Journal Monday night that his son has been granted a release from his Louisville scholarship. A school official subsequently confirmed Smith’s departure as well.

The senior will be leaving the football program as a graduate of the university, giving him the ability to use his final season of eligibility immediately in 2018.

Smith came to the Cardinals from the junior college ranks as a member of their 2015 recruiting class.  After rushing for 270 yards his first year, he ran for 382 (on 57 carries) in 2016.  That latter season, his eight rushing touchdowns were second on the team to Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson‘s 21.

Entering the 2017 season as the Cardinals’ top returning back, Smith suffered a foot injury during practice between the first two games of the year that sidelined him for the remainder of the season.  That injury limited him to just eight yards on five carries.

Jerry Kill to make health-related decision on future as Rutgers’ OC

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Once again, Jerry Kill‘s health could force him to step away from the game.

Citing multiple unnamed sources, nj.com is reporting that the Rutgers’ offensive coordinator “is evaluating his options and is expected to make a health-related decision in the coming days” on his coaching future. The 56-year-old Kill was hospitalized in September of this year after suffering what was described as a minor seizure related to his ongoing battle with epilepsy, although he returned to his coaching duties shortly thereafter.

Ahead of an official decision, the website added, head coach Chris Ash has been informing prospects on the recruiting trail of the possibility that Kill might not be with the Scarlet Knights because of the issues that stretch back years.

In October of 2015, Kill was forced to step down as Minnesota’s head football coach because of health issues related to ongoing epileptic seizures.  Prior to joining the Rutgers staff, Kill spent the 2016 season in a non-coaching role at Kansas State.

In the year prior to Kill’s arrival, RU was 127th nationally in points per game (15.7) and 18th in total offense (283 yards per games).  In Kill’s first season in 2017, they were 121st in the former category (18 ppg) and 129th in the latter (263 ypg).

Nebraska’s Scott Frost confirms he will indeed coach UCF in bowl game

Getty Images
Leave a comment

After a little uncertainty, Scott Frost will indeed finish what he started this season.

After Frost led them to a perfect regular season and AAC championship, UCF earned the Group of Five’s bid to a New Year’s Six Bowl. In between the title win and bowl announcement, however, Frost was hired as the head coach at Nebraska. At the time, all of the sides involved indicated that Frost and his coaching staff, all of whom are following him to Lincoln, would be coaching the Knights in that bowl game.

As recently as late last week, however, there was some uncertainty as to whether Frost would actually lead UCF in the New Year’s Day Peach Bowl matchup with Auburn.  Tuesday, though, Frost was back at UCF with his undefeated Knights team and confirmed that he will coach them one last time, calling it “an honor” to do so.

“There’s some unusual circumstances but we’re gonna handle this as we would any bowl game of this type,” Frost said according to the Omaha World-Herald. “Our staff is completely committed and we’re going to do everything we can for this football team. …

“It’s an honor to be invited to this game. These players have poured their hearts out to accomplish a lot this year. There’s been a lot of circumstances swirling around this season and that’s been tough to navigate but they’ve been great with that. I’m grateful we have a chance to give them their best possible chance to put on the best show in Atlanta and win a football game.”

Frost had been on the road recruiting for his new team before returning to Orlando Monday night.  He and his assistants will remain there through Thursday as they continue preparing for the bowl game, then will continue recruiting duties for the Cornhuskers right up until the dead period starts Dec. 17 while continuing prep work for the Knights’ postseason.

Unlike in any other year, there’s an early signing period that starts on Dec. 20 and goes for 72 hours.  After that early signing period ends, there’ll be just a week or so left until Frost takes the field one last time as the Knights’ head coach.

Sonny Dykes to coach new team, SMU, in bowl game vs. old team, Louisiana Tech

Getty Images
Leave a comment

This is something you don’t see every day, in a couple of ways.

Monday night, SMU confirmed reports that had surfaced earlier in the day that Sonny Dykes has been named as the Mustangs’ new head football coach.  Dykes replaces Chad Morris, who left for the same job at Arkansas late last week.

At an introductory press conference Tuesday afternoon, Dykes’ new boss, athletic director Rick Hart, revealed that the new coach will get to work immediately as he will coach the Mustangs in their bowl game Dec. 20.  Dykes will immediately begin assembling his coaching staff to help in preparation for the Frisco Bowl.

And SMU’s opponent in the Frisco Bowl?  Louisiana Tech, which Dykes was the head coach of from 2010-12.  After going 22-15 in three years at Tech, he left for the same job at Cal in December of 2012.  He went 19-30 with the Bears before being fired after his fourth season in 2016.