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Badgers reportedly ‘part ways’ with offensive line coach

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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.

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14 Responses to “Badgers reportedly ‘part ways’ with offensive line coach”
  1. florida727 says: Sep 10, 2012 9:18 AM

    “It should also be noted that… the Badgers also lost three all-conference linemen to the NFL.”

    Hmm. Wonder if this had anything to do with their poor performance to-date? Oh well, guess you can’t fire the players, right? I guess last year with 3 all-conference linemen he was a genius, but now that they went to the NFL, what, he’s an idiot? Too bad. Wish they hadn’t taken all that ‘genius’ with them when they left.

  2. WingT says: Sep 10, 2012 9:48 AM

    It sure is rare for an assistant coach to be let go at the start of the season.

  3. coolhorn46 says: Sep 10, 2012 10:02 AM

    The former offensive coordinator at the University of Houston says hello…

  4. john42pl says: Sep 10, 2012 10:05 AM

    florida727 says:
    Sep 10, 2012 9:18 AM
    “It should also be noted that… the Badgers also lost three all-conference linemen to the NFL.”

    Hmm. Wonder if this had anything to do with their poor performance to-date? Oh well, guess you can’t fire the players, right? I guess last year with 3 all-conference linemen he was a genius, but now that they went to the NFL, what, he’s an idiot? Too bad. Wish they hadn’t taken all that ‘genius’ with them when they left.

    I finally saw enough stupid comments that I had to sign up for an account. I take it you can’t read. He wasn’t with the team last year. It states clearly in the article he was hired in the offseason to replace the coach that left! So no, he was not considered a genius last year because he wasn’t even with the team!

  5. thraiderskin says: Sep 10, 2012 10:34 AM

    Honestly… they should part ways with the Head Coach… Good recruiter, bad in-game decision maker.

  6. pacific123ocean says: Sep 10, 2012 11:43 AM

    Wonder who gets fired if the Badgers lose to Utah State or UTEP.

  7. cuse6468 says: Sep 10, 2012 11:56 AM

    Bucky, sucks

  8. mogogo1 says: Sep 10, 2012 12:53 PM

    A move that smacks of desperation. If the guy was clearly in over his head from Day 1 how’d he get hired in the first place and why wasn’t he replaced before now? And it seems like if the “offensive quality control coordinator” were a great o-line coach he’d have that title already.

  9. mogogo1 says: Sep 10, 2012 3:09 PM

    And looking over his resume, he’d spent the previous 14 years in the SEC, coaching line and even some OC work. Sounds like he wasn’t getting along with his new bosses and the talent drain to the NFL than a case of him suddenly forgetting how to coach.

  10. rcali says: Sep 10, 2012 3:43 PM

    Interesting that coach just didn’t say it was an “unspecified violation of team rules.”

  11. 11inthebox says: Sep 10, 2012 6:52 PM

    Wow. Total chicken—- move by Bielema. To be fair he was probably pressured into it by someone in the athletic department.

    You don’t fail to move the ball because of the o-line coach. You fail to move the ball because your game plan sucked.

    If that’s the case, then fire the offensive coordinator, not a position coach.

  12. jkaflagg says: Sep 10, 2012 8:56 PM

    Gotta be more to this than ” we decided to move on”……However, Bielima probably figures that in Madison, he can control the fallout, whereas in a larger market reporters would have the whole story of who pissed off who within a few days……

  13. cbass59 says: Sep 10, 2012 11:14 PM

    Good recruiter, most have current freshman class ranked around 60th. That not good. He’s going to Iowa when Ferentz is fired. Don’t believe me? What’s tattoo’d on Brett’s leg? It’s not Bucky.

  14. gfj7000 says: Sep 11, 2012 1:21 AM

    Sounds out-of-the ordinary but everyone seems to have some brazen/mixed and funny comments here – so, I’ll throw in my chuckles here – Maybe Mr. Bielema made a low-class move to boot his offensive coordinator — he should have been given 3 months probation before getting ‘the boot’. Maybe Bielema should give Bobby Petrino a call to fill in for Markuson? I heard he’s still looking for job and also to note – he has a fasssst motorcycle that could get him up to Wisconsin for the job by Friday. : )

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