As was widely reported during last night’s San Diego County Credit Union Bowl, Wisconsin Offensive Coordinator Paul Chryst accepted the head coaching position at the University of Pittsburgh. This marks the second time in as many season that the Badgers have lost a coordinator on the eve of the Rose Bowl. Last season Defensive Coordinator Dave Doeren accept the Northern Illinois HC position but still coached the Badgers in the Rose Bowl. Much like last year with Doeren, Chryst will remain with the Badgers through the Rose Bowl. When asked for comment during the SDCCU Bowl, Pitt alum Mark May sounded as clueless as ever.
Obviously this is a big blow to the Wisconsin program. Chryst is a great offensive coach and you want your assistants to succeed. The word is that Chryst became the frontrunner at Pitt thanks to Wisconsin AD Barry Alvarez getting the ear of Pitt’s big time donors. It’s good to see the Wisconsin program promoting it’s assistants so vigorously. However, this will leave a huge hole in the Wisconsin program. Chryst was known as one of the best offensive coaches in the country. He runs a great pro-style offense and turned Wisconsin into a balanced attack.
With Chryst gone the Badgers need to find an OC that has the same philosophy. They cannot go back to the Brian White led offense of run up the middle, run up the middle, Mike Samuel keeper, punt. Sounds like right now the leading internal candidates are offensive line coach Bob Bostad and tight ends coach Joe Rudolph. Rudolph is known as a great recruiter and Bolstad a great coach. It will also be interesting to see if Chryst takes any assistants with him to Pitt.
Related to Chryst moving on to Pitt is the saga of Notre Dame transfer QB Dane Crist. Wisconsin was viewed as a frontrunner for his services because of Chryst. Now, Kansas and Charlie the Whale may be the school of choice. If Dane goes that route I hope he enjoys winning 3 games next season and the excellent locker room spread that Charlie provides. Badgers top QB recruit Bart Houston reiterated last night that he is a Badger, so that is good, but the QB situation next season at Wisconsin is shaky. The two top candidates are both injured. Curt Phillips is coming off his third ACL tear. I am surprised he can still move. Jon Budmayer is coming off surgery for a nerve issue in his elbow and word is that it could be something that sidelines him for good. That leaves a pretty thin talent pool as Houston plays in a HS system that will not have him ready to start a college game next season.
My suggestion for offensive coordinator would be the Muppet Beaker. He is a very manly Muppet. Plus he has great communication skills. I am sure the QB will be easily able to decipher his play calls. “Meep, meep, meep”. Plus his hair starts on fire from time to time. Excellent hire in my book.
So, in the end, this stinks for Wisconsin and leaves a huge void in the football staff, but you have to be happy that your assistants are good enough to be wanted elsewhere. This will be a key hire for Bielema. The division is wide open next season with OSU banned from the title game. A good hire will continue Wisconsin’s strong offensive tradition (over the past 20 years) and ensure that Wisconsin on OSU will be the top dogs in the Leaders division for years to come.