Wisconsin v Oregon State

Badgers reportedly ‘part ways’ with offensive line coach


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.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.

Unitas Award whittles watch list in half down to 15

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 03:  Trevone Boykin #2 of the TCU Horned Frogs looks for an open receiver against the Texas Longhorns in the second quarter at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season?  Watch lists are being whittled.

The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior.  The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.

The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).

The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten.  The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).

Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.

Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah