Monday, March 4, 2013
UW's Andersen upset with Boulware's exit
By Adam Rittenberg
Like any new coach, Wisconsin's Gary Andersen wanted a full staff of assistants in place for the start of spring practice.
Andersen still has that goal five days before the Badgers hit the practice field, but Jay Boulware has made things a bit tougher. Boulware, hired in January to coach Wisconsin's tight ends and special teams, left Friday for the same post at Oklahoma.
The decision isn't sitting well with Andersen. At all.
"It's upsetting," Andersen said Monday at his pre-spring news conference. "I brought the wrong guy in here. ... I don't like the timing of it. I don't like the situation at all."
Andersen was completely caught off guard by Boulware's departure, learning of it just hours before Oklahoma made an official announcement. The Badgers coach took full responsibility saying, "I failed the kids in this situation. It's important. We talked about building a family environment."
Asked if Boulware provided an explanation for his departure, Andersen replied, "Jay's got his world. I don't want to get -- I don't want to start all that stuff. I'll probably say something I shouldn't say."
Andersen said plenty, and it was refreshingly honest. These moves seem to be happening more and more in college football -- Jim Bollman spent barely a month at Purdue before moving to Michigan State as co-offensive coordinator and tight ends coach -- and they shouldn't always be greeted with politically correct responses and fake well wishes.
Boulware's replacement will hold the same title, and Andersen hopes to have him in place before Saturday. Although secondary coach Bill Busch has experience coaching special teams, Andersen noted that there are only four defensive assistants, and he doesn't want to add to Busch's plate.
Other items of note:
Quarterback Jon Budmayr has decided to end his playing career and become a student coach with the Badgers. He'll remain on a medical scholarship. Budmayr has battled nerve issues in his throwing elbow since August 2011 and has missed the past two seasons.
Andersen expects the quarterback competition to last through the spring and into preseason camp. He pointed out that junior-college transfer Tanner McEvoy, who arrives this summer, will have a legitimate shot at the job. Andersen mentioned leadership and consistency as two traits he's seeking from the quarterbacks.
Andersen said the cornerbacks and wide receivers likely will be making the biggest adjustments this spring. Cornerbacks will play more man coverage than before, and wide receivers will have a bigger role in the passing game and must create separation in man coverage. Andersen also mentioned the center spot as an intriguing position as Wisconsin must replace Travis Frederick.
Like most coaches, Andersen opposes increasing the Big Ten schedule to 10 games, noting that it would be "very difficult" on the players' bodies. He can see a move to nine games, which is likelier.