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Firing ‘a surprise’ for ex-Badger OL coach Markuson

Bret Bielema AP

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).

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14 Responses to “Firing ‘a surprise’ for ex-Badger OL coach Markuson”
  1. alligatorsnapper says: Sep 11, 2012 9:15 AM

    Markuson, as he said, ” to teach them the way I know what’s right and the success that I’ve had.” Interpreted, teach the Badgers the SEC way of “smash mouth” football. That was completely alien to the Badgers and they began to see how much hard work required to play that kind of football. Not much finesse, just a great amount of weight training, muscle building, and practice, practice, hard practice.

    If Wisconsin did not like Markuson, the Badgers would hate John Chavis of LSU or Kirby Smart/Nick Saban of Alabama or many other SEC defensive coordinators.

  2. beedubyatoo says: Sep 11, 2012 9:29 AM

    Check the number of All-American O-Linemen and NFL starters from UW before you embarrass yourself again with uninformed posts.

  3. ningenito78 says: Sep 11, 2012 10:15 AM

    Yeah alligatorsnapper of all teams to pop off on the offensive line to prop up your SEC homerism you pick Wisconsin? That school churns out high draft picks from their line year in and year out and they play BIG up front. UW o-line average size is larger than some NFL teams. I think the firing is a complete overreaction and not a good sign if I was a Badger fan, but saying their offensive line couldn’t hack some delusional SEC style you just invented in your head is a new level of pathetic homer. Pick up a book and read a little about them before you make a putz out of yourself.

  4. normtide says: Sep 11, 2012 10:31 AM

    Playing o-line in the SEC is a different animal, because of the beast d-linemen here. That’s the point snapper wanted to make. B1G fans want to compete with the SEC, and maybe changing their style a little would help. It is different blocking these giant linemen who run like linebackers.

  5. mogogo1 says: Sep 11, 2012 11:43 AM

    My guess would be it had WAY more to do with how he got along with Bielema than what the players thought. Still, a puzzling move in many ways. He’d spent the prior 14 years in the SEC, coaching line and even doing some OC work. There was a clear body of work and no shortage of references. Stunning they couldn’t get through a full season with him. And how bad must it have been to decide you’d rather have the quality control coach–who’s never had a full-time coaching job before now–step in?

  6. makimaguro says: Sep 11, 2012 12:49 PM

    Gator: You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. If there has been any team in the country over that last 10-15 years that is the definition of ‘smash mouth’ it is Wisconsin. They are slower and not as athletic as the SEC (the guys that get paid to play) but they are tougher and nastier. Pretty sure this guy got fired because he wasn’t as nasty as his predecessor.

  7. normtide says: Sep 11, 2012 1:09 PM

    Mak- NFL players get paid, but I can see how you confuse the NFL with the SEC, people do it all the time.

  8. gravedigger93 says: Sep 11, 2012 2:10 PM

    beedubyatoo says:
    Sep 11, 2012 9:29 AM
    Check the number of All-American O-Linemen and NFL starters from UW before you embarrass yourself again with uninformed posts.


    Actually Wisconsin doesn’t have the most OLinemen currently in the NFL in their own conference, much less the NCAA. Texas and Miami each have 8 playing in the NFL, with Texas having 7 that are current or former Pro Bowlers. Iowa and Nebraska are tops in the B1G with 7 OL currently in the NFL. So this myth that Wisconsin is Offensive Lineman U is just that, a myth. Talk about uninformed posts!

  9. hoggeek says: Sep 11, 2012 2:57 PM

    This isn’t about Bielema, it’s about Markuson. Just because he was in the SEC forever doesn’t mean he was a good coach. In fact, he’s a charter member of Houston Nutt’s Murray State Mafia. Everything he knows, he learned from Houston Nutt. If he wrote a book on the subject he wouldn’t get past the inside flap.

  10. beedubyatoo says: Sep 11, 2012 3:33 PM

    Check the number of All-American O-Linemen and NFL starters from UW before you embarrass yourself again with uninformed posts.
    Where did I say UW had the most NFL O-Linemen? Do they teach reading comprehension at the SEC schools?

  11. huskerzfan says: Sep 11, 2012 4:37 PM

    Gotta love how an OL coach getting fired from Wisconsin turns into yet another bashing of the Big 10 and hailing of the mighty SEC.

  12. scooterboots1 says: Sep 11, 2012 6:41 PM

    Actually Wisconsin has 7 OL in the NFL, Nagy, Thomas, Carimi, Urbik, Zeitler, Konz, and Moffitt.

  13. jkaflagg says: Sep 11, 2012 11:52 PM

    Real issue has nothing to do with SEC vs. Big Ten… matter how you slice it, it appears that Bielima has fingered Markuson as the fall guy for the team’s poor start…..And fair or not, it might work, as such a move will certainly get everyone’s attention…..

    Of course, Bielima should have to answer for hiring a guy for a key staff position who was apparently on a completely different page……but from the tone of his rhetoric, I doubt Bielima is the type to be held accountable for anything……

  14. parkcityute says: Sep 13, 2012 5:37 AM

    I understand I am one of the majority on College Football Talk, in that I read most things but seldom post, usually only about my team. I am not in the SEC, and I am not fans of the SEC, but I respect what the conference and its teams have done, and hope we will be there one day.

    Smash mouth football at Wisconsin? When you face SEC teams that play that kind of play normally, you lose.

    Poster is correct that this is not about Wisconsin and the SEC because if it was Wisconsin loses. I found the following on the Internet for all the Wisconsin homers.

    SEC BCS Champions:

    2011 Alabama
    2010 Auburn
    2009 Alabama
    2008 Florida
    2007 LSU
    2006 Florida
    2003 LSU
    1998 Tennessee
    1996 Florida
    1992 Alabama

    7 of the last 7 BCS championships = SEC teams
    10 of last 16 FBS National Championships = SEC teams

    Wisconsin’s record 2012 season 1-1 lost to Oregon State
    Wisconsin’s football national championships past 10 years-0; 20 years-0; 50 years-0;
    100 years-0
    SEC national championships over past 100 years–52

    Wisconsin’s all time record v. SEC 2 – 8

    2008/01/01 Wisconsin 17 – Tennessee 21 L Outback Bowl
    2007/01/01 Wisconsin 17 – Arkansas 14 W Capital One Bowl
    2006/01/02 Wisconsin 24 – Auburn 10 W Capital One Bowl
    2005/01/01 Wisconsin 21 – Georgia 24 L Outback Bowl
    2003/12/31 Wisconsin 14 – Auburn 28 L Music City Bowl
    1998/01/01 Wisconsin 6 – Georgia 33 L Outback Bowl
    1984/12/29 Wisconsin 19 – Kentucky 20 L All American Bowl
    1981/12/13 Wisconsin 21 – Tennessee 28 L Garden State Bowl
    1972/09/30 Wisconsin 7 – LSU 27 L
    1971/09/25 Wisconsin 28 – LSU 38 L

    This is just facts. I don’t dislike Wisconsin. It is a fine academic and research university. But this is a football blog. In football, they have not been in the same category as the SEC, as proven by the stats above.

    If Wisconsin wants to compete with SEC championship and bowl winning teams, they need to hire some SEC coaches and do what the SEC is doing. Oh, I forgot, they had a very capable SEC coach and fired him….hmm.

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