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).
Nearly four months after leaving Ann Arbor, Maurice Ways is set to settle in on the West Coast for the next step in his collegiate playing career.
On his Instagram account Sunday, Ways announced that he has decided to transfer to Cal. On November 29 of last year, the wide receiver took to the same social media website to announce his transfer from the Michigan football program.
As a graduate transfer, Ways will be eligible to play for the Bears in 2018. The upcoming season will be his final year of eligibility.
A three-star member of the Wolverines’ 2014 recruiting class, Ways was rated as the No. 8 player at any position in the state of Michigan.
In 25 career games, the former Detroit Country Day high schooler caught eight passes for 71 yards. Ways started two of those contests, with both of those starts coming during his redshirt freshman season in 2015.
After coaching the second half of the season for Oregon State in 2017, Cory Hall is now making his way to the MAC. Hall has officially been added to the Central Michigan coaching staff, where he will serve as the team’s secondary coach and defensive pass game coordinator.
“We brought Cory in, and he made a presentation to the defensive coaching staff,” CMU head coach John Bonamego said in a released statement. “(Defensive coordinator) Greg Colby and the rest of us were impressed with his preparation and what he had to say. “There is no doubt he is a high-energy coach, and he’s a great fit for our program.”
Hall was named the interim head coach at Oregon State midway through the 2017 season following the removal of Gary Andersen. According to The Oregonian, Hall did not interview with new Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith to remain a part of the Beavers coaching staff in 2018.
Spring football practices concluded for the Colorado football program on Saturday with the playing of the annual spring game. Starting quarterback Steven Montez had his ups and downs with three total touchdowns and a pair of interceptions thrown in the scrimmage.
Montez led six and a half drives during the game, ending his day going 8-of-15 for 90 yards and two touchdown passes and two interceptions. He was also the leading rusher in the scrimmage with three carries for 43 yards. Co-offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini shrugged off the two picks by Montez after the game in a postgame interview.
“That’s going to happen, especially if we’re calling stuff that’s aggressive, it’s going to happen,” Chiaverini said. “What I like about him is he comes right back. It doesn’t bother him. Some guys get shy and won’t let it go. He comes right back in that two-minute drill and pulls the ball and runs for 60 yards. I like the fact that the kid loves to play football. That’s something you can’t teach kids. He loves to play, he loves to compete.”
Montez completed 609.5 percent of his passes in 2017 for 2,975 yards and 18 touchdowns with nine interceptions.
Colorado is coming off a 5-7 season, a year removed from playing for the Pac-12 championship in 2016. Colorado ended the 2017 season on a three-game losing streak to prevent the Buffs from being able to play in a bowl game at the end of the year.
Colorado estimates a total of about 4,500 fans attended the live scrimmage.
The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has been a joy to watch over the course of the first few days. Highlighted by some significant upsets and some thrilling finishes, this year’s tournament has everybody talking, including college football coaches. This is especially true for college football’s non-power conference programs, who seem to be celebrating the upsets performed early on by schools like Marshall, Loyola-Chicago and, of course, UMBC.
UCF took to Twitter to extend congratulations to the University of Maryland Baltimore County after the 16-seed Retrievers became the first team in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament’s history to upset a No. 1 seed, in which UMBC throttled No. 1 Virginia by 20 after an unbelievable second-half performance that left Virginia clueless how to respond.
UMBC has been the story of the first round for the historic upset of the Cavaliers, but FAU head coach Lane Kiffin claims he picked UMBC to win the game. In fact, Kiffin showed off a bracket in which he picked UMBC to win it all. Of course, such a bracket cannot be taken too seriously, especially after closer inspection reveals Kiffin went heavy with the underdog mentality throughout his bracket. Perhaps such a bracket strategy plays into the kind of mentality Kiffin is attempting to build at FAU.
Troy coach Neal Brown also used the UMBC upset to make a case for the Group of Five representation in college football to get more of a fair shake in the sport of college football.
Brown is not the only person to have this thought, although the idea has just as many on the other side of the fence as well. The College Football Playoff is a much smaller system to determine a college football champion and expansion is a hot-button topic of conversation for a variety of reasons. The current format allows for one guaranteed spot in a major bowl game for the highest-ranked conference champion from the non-power conferences, but undefeated UCF was still left out of the College Football Playoff last season and it may be a long time before a non-power conference champion gets a shot at the playoff.
Washington State head coach Mike Leach has proposed a 64-team college football playoff, but the most likely step for expansion of the playoff system will double the field to eight teams. That would still likely leave out some top non-power conference options, but it would leave the door open just a little wider for a team like UCF last year.