Varsity is the free Official Online Magazine of Wisconsin Athletics, covering Badgers football, basketball, hockey and more each week.
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I BEHIND THE DESK BY BARRY ALVAREZ // UW DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS Andersen doing it his way — as he should 14 thought Gary Andersen did a really nice job at the Big Ten Media Days in Chicago. The thing about Gary is that he's not trying to be cute, he's not trying to be a comedian. Give him a question and he gives you an answer. I thought he was very straightforward with the media, I thought he was very honest. He knows exactly what he wants and he's got a plan for everything. It's very cut and dried. What you see is what you get. There are no false pretenses. He's a legitimate guy, he's very familyoriented and when he talks about putting the kids first that's what he means; no ifs, ands or buts. My job as an administrator is to let my coaches coach. I'll take care of all the administrative things, all the outside things. I'll eliminate all questions so they can concentrate on coaching. I think Gary will feel comfortable bouncing some things off me during the course of the season. I'm going to make myself available and I'll do anything I can to help him adjust. I never go two days without stopping in the football office. I want to make sure all the coaches understand I'm here to support them and we're all here for the same reason. That's to have a successful football program. I can be a sounding board to them at whatever level they want. As a matter of fact, Cindy has already met with the coaches' wives and has gone over a list of things that they should know about. // VARSITY August 8, 2013 I tried to teach Bret how you make decisions for the big picture because the first time you step into that role as a head coach, it's hard to do. But Gary has been there before at Utah State and obviously he was very successful at it. He will have a rhyme and reason for why he's doing something. I know I changed the way I handled the preseason training camp during my tenure here. We went from keeping the team at Holy Name Seminary all the time ― where the players would only get out for a few hours on a Saturday ― to letting them go back to their apartments every other day. As far as practicing, besides our inside drills, we've never been collisions guys. I don't think Gary is either. We don't go out there and hammer each other for two hours. I remember hurting Ron Dayne one year because I screwed up on the whistle. I wanted to see Jamar Fletcher make a tackle in the open field before he made his first col- lege start. I had a late whistle and Ronnie twisted his ankle. I should have whistled the play dead as soon as he got into the secondary. I worried about that all the time ― how much to hit and injuries. If this team stays healthy, I think it can be a contender in the Big Ten. You have a lot of guys who have played a lot of football and won a lot of games. These players know how to win, they know how to compete. They've played against the best and there's no reason why they shouldn't continue to have success. Now, you've got some question marks. You've got some things to answer in the secondary. You need consistent play out of the quarterback position and you need to find another wide receiver. But I don't think there's any team in college football that doesn't have a few question marks. I know that I'm fired up for the start of another season. That never changes.