This weeks loss to Michigan State sums up what I have been thinking for a long time. We can not progress with Bret Bielema as the Head Coach of the Wisconsin Badgers. He is incapable is making decisions for the team to win in close games and allows to be out coached or out coaches himself.
Many people say on other blogs or comments “But Bielema has a winning record and has taken the Badgers to two Rose Bowls, that’s all you should need to see Bielema is our coach”. I have come to the conclusion that he has won up to this point for two reasons. 1) He won with players from the Barry Alvarez era. 2) They still won despite his poor choices. Examples of the second reason would be:
- Cal Poly (Missed Cal Poly Extra Point)
- Arizona State (Blocked Extra Point)
- Northern Iowa (Ran out of time)
- Utah State (Missing Chip Shot FG)
- 2010 at Iowa (Iowa player stays inbounds not giving FG kicker a chance to win)
- 2007 at UNLV (Donovan with a great QB run at the end of game to win)
- Big 10 Championship Game vs Michigan State (Roughing the Kicker penalty wipes out long return)
There are many other games that we have lost that should have been wins due to poor choices. The Michigan State game (or should I says all the previous Michigan State games) are proof Bielema is taking the Football program to a place we have not seen since before Alverez, in the before time, in the long long ago, when we were consistently at the bottom of the Big Ten. This drop to the bottom is not going to be a quick one.
With Bielema, we will slowly drop down the standings over a span of 5-7 years until we are at the same level with the likes of Indiana. Then we will replace Bielema, but the damage will have been done and will take another 20-30 years to reappear as a relevant team especially with the likes of Michigan, Penn State, and Ohio State paying signing, in the Big Ten, the bigger names in the country.
My logic behind this impending doom is the slow degradation of incoming talent that will (or in this case will not) play for Bielema. For example, lets look at the QB position starting with when Bielema first took over:
- John Stocco – Very good QB, was able to run the offence and was a left over from the Alvarez era
- Tyler Donovan – Also a good QB, backup to Stocco, but was able to run the offense and could run a little faster. Also left over from the Alvarez recruiting class.
- Dustin Sherer/Allan Evridge – This is where the wheels starting falling off the bus. Both QB’s not especially accurate with a slight edge to Evridge to run the offence, but when you have PJ Hill running the ball the way he did, who needs a good pass game?
- Scott Tolzin – A slightly better passer than Dustin or Allen but not to the level of Stocco or Donovan. He did what he needed to do since the running game was once again dominate.
- Russell Wilson – A lucky Free Agent pickup, very good passer and runner, but should not really count since Bielema did not recruit him from High School. He just got lucky he could not hit a baseball and NC State did not want him back.
- Joe Brennan – In limited action, Brennan on every play looked like someone who just witnessed a large car crash and was still in shock. By just watching, you knew he was not going to improve. I don’t know what Bielema saw on the recruiting tape, he must have been watching it with his eyes closed.
- Danny O’Brien – Another Free Agent signing. For everything that was right about Wilson was wrong about O’Brien. Frankly I don’t know what Bielema was thinking with this signing. This guy last year was 2-10 at Maryland with 7 TD’s and 10 INT’s. This guy appears to think the right decision then, 5 seconds later, decides to execute the decision , but by then it is too late. Once again Bielema must have watched the tapes with his eyes closed
- Joel Stave – I’m giving this one an incomplete due to the limited playing time and the play sabotage by Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada. There is hope, but I want to see how he plays next year.
With the exception of #5 on the list if you look at the list from the top to the bottom, the talent level generally got worse and worse, a sign to Bielema is taking the program in the wrong direction. This lack of recruiting is seen heavily at WR, TE and somewhat at DE, CB, K, P. No division one program should struggle at Kicker or Punter.
To avoid this program being sunk to the bottom, the only right thing to do is to find a new coach to replace Bielema before it is too late.