Somewhat curiously and even more surprisingly, reports surfaced late Sunday night that Wisconsin had parted ways with offensive line coach Mike Markuson just two games into his first season on Bret Bielema‘s coaching staff.
As it turns out, the general public wasn’t alone in scratching its collective heads over the abrupt turn of events.
In an interview on SiriusXM radio shortly after Bielema confirmed the change, Markuson acknowledged that he was indeed surprised by what the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel described as a firing.
“[Bielema] brought me into his office [Sunday] afternoon after a staff meeting and basically told me he was making a change. We had talked a few times before just about certain things. It was a surprise for me but in this business you’ve got to anticipate anything. It can happen. It’s just like the real world out there. People get hired and fired and coaches get hired and fired.”
In a quote that raved about the school and the players in the football program, Markuson also hinted that his new approach may have rubbed some of those very players the wrong way and paved the path for his departure.
“They are great kids at Wisconsin. They really are. They’re very good students. The reputation of the university with the academics, outstanding. I mean, it is a top, top notch school. Those guys had so much success and they had a coach in my position that they had before for four years that, man, they scored a lot of points, they ran the ball well. I mean, them guys were used to hearing it a different way. So now I come in, here’s the new guy on the block and I’m trying to teach them the way I know what’s right and the success that I’ve had. It kind of threw a bump in the road. So they had to get used to me. I had to get used to them. We had to work through some things and I really thought we were making good progress. In light of what has transpired I still believe what I was teaching is the right thing to do. Obviously it didn’t fit into what they wanted at Wisconsin.”
Prior to his hiring this past January, Markuson had spent the last 14 years as the line coach at an SEC school — Arkansas (1998-2007) and Ole Miss (2008-11).