Oklahoma Sooners: Gary Andersen

The decision to accept a job at the University of Oklahoma was pretty simple for new tight ends coach Jay Boulware. The opportunity to move closer to family and join the Sooners’ staff was a no-brainer for Boulware, who was born in Oklahoma City and still has family in the area.

Nonetheless, Boulware drew the ire of Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen after leaving UW less than two months after being hired to coach tight ends at UW in January. Anderson was disappointed by Boulware’s decision, saying “I brought the wrong guy in here” and “I failed the kids in this situation” when talking about Boulware’s departure on Monday.

During his first time speaking to Oklahoma media on Wednesday, Boulware had a clear explanation for his decision to leave Wisconsin.

“I told Coach Andersen before I accepted the job, there’s one main reason why I left, and that’s family,” Boulware said, while noting he enjoyed his short stint at Wisconsin.

Boulware told a story about his aunt being hit by a car in Oklahoma shortly after he took the Wisconsin job and his mother calling him in distress because she had no way to get from Texas to Oklahoma to check on her sister. Boulware said he did what he could to help his mother and said his aunt is doing better now but is paralyzed.

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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.

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