Dec. 10: ”Thank you. I just had it stuffed.” … From what it sounds like from Barry Alvarez, Gary Andersen apparently liked the idea of beating his head against the wall, and liked the idea of living in Corvallis over Madison, as the head coach of Oregon State rather than try to keep working with a program that was a game away from the Big Ten title and an interception against Northwestern away from playing Ohio State for a playoff spot.
Or else Alvarez is just saying all the right things after blowing a gasket over his Badgers losing 59-0 in the Big Ten championship.
It probably took just one joking jab, one rip, one comment from his playoff committee brethren to push the right button.
But okay, let’s say Andersen just wanted a change of scenery and liked the idea of being the head man of a Pac-12 team. No matter how it happened, Wisconsin, let this be your chance to be better.
Andersen did a great job of keeping things going as it, but the program needs to start recruiting bigger and better talents to go along with the normal Bucky types who step in and fit the mold. Let this be the chance to think bigger, better, faster. Let this be the moment when the program decides it’s ready to start competing for national titles, not just Big Ten championships.
Oregon State, get ready for a defense.
The program had some nice Ds under Mike Riley, but Andersen is a defensive wizard – 59-0 aside – doing terrific things at Utah State to get him the Wisconsin gig. He’s going to add a zig to the Pac-12 zag, and expect more zone-read, expect a tremendous linebacking corps, and expect Oregon State to be a tougher out than it’s been in the past.
It’s a win-win. Oregon State at least went lateral after losing Riley, and might have gotten an upgrade. Wisconsin gets a chance to change direction a bit and move forward. Nebraska … Mike Riley is still and interesting choice.
Dec. 10: Corey Clement will be happy to pack the bags for him … Never has there been a better time for a player to finally – finally – bust through the barrier and say that he’s not going to unnecessarily risk his pro career by playing in a meaningless game. I’ve been whining ad nauseum for years that the Todd Gurleys, Marcus Lattimores and Jadeveon Clowneys of the world need to protect their NFL investment and leave college football, but I really do see the other side – if there’s something to play for, and if the guy wants to help his team, okay. These guys are football players and they want to play football.
However, there’s no reason whatsoever for Melvin Gordon to play against Auburn in the Outback Bowl.
The NFL scouts already know Gordon is a high-character guy who’ll be a leader and will bust his butt to get better. They know he’s a team player, and there’s nothing he can do against the Tigers in a bowl game that the next-level guys don’t already know. He has to quit fumbling so much, and he has to work on his receiving skills, but that’s what mini-camp is for.
It’s this simple. Gordon needs to say thank you to the University of Wisconsin, and go start working out and preparing for his Pro Day and the Combine. The University of Wisconsin needs to say thank you to Gordon, and tell him to not risk tens of millions of dollars, and his NFL dream, when he doesn’t have to.