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 not settling for old-school ideas 16 thought it was interesting that Gary Andersen opened up his first scrimmage to the public. He's a little more open than I was as a head coach. I was a little more paranoid. I was old-school. I didn't want to give away information to an opponent. I didn't like people knowing so-and-so was hurt or so-and-so missed practice. The people I had worked for didn't do it and I just didn't believe in it. I know the media will cover a scrimmage like it's a game, and that's really unfair. When you're talking about the offense not being able to block the defense, you have to realize that when you start blitzing the first week, there's not a team in the country that's going to block it. If you're trying to throw it down field, you're working on that aspect of your pass game, and someone is charting completions like it was a real game, the percentages aren't going to be that good. Each practice during training camp is game-planned on the basis of what you want to accomplish. You could set up a practice where either the offense or defense could have the benefit. Outsiders are just looking at certain things. Did they throw it and catch it? Did someone have a big run? Did someone get a pick? There's just so much more to evaluations, and it's on-going. I was watching our freshman tailback, Corey Clement, the other day and I could see that he was ready. That cat is physical. Boy, what a dimension he gives us. // VARSITY August 15, 2013 He's a different runner than James White and Melvin Gordon. James was nifty when he was a freshman. He could pick his way through things, he could catch the ball and he was always in the right spot. It took Melvin awhile to learn to be patient in the hole. It's a little easier to read the corner when you're running the jet sweep. Running between the tackles, you have to see things and be patient. Clement looks like he has good vision and power. I've seen him lower his shoulder and run through some things. Someone compared him to Brent Moss. I think he's got a little more explosiveness. When I was coaching, we had Big Brothers for the freshmen, similar to what Gary is doing. It's hard sometimes for young guys to feel a part of it. There are just so many questions that they have. You need somebody to encourage you. Just having an older player show some interest in you means a lot. Most of the freshmen, other than three or four, are going to be on the scout team. In high school, they've always been in the middle of everything and they had visions of coming in here and being on the field. Now, they're not getting many reps by the end of the second week. Someone needs to tell them, 'Be patient. You'll get your shot. But you have to keep learning.'' This week, we announced that Mick Byrne has been named as our Director of Cross Country and Track and Field and will lead both our men's and women's programs. He's a proven coach and he was a fit for us from the moment he walked in the door. His runners respond to him and he gets along very well with the other coaches. We were very fortunate because he had other opportunities. When you lose a coach the quality of Ed Nuttycombe, but you have someone the quality of Mick on your staff, it makes for an easy transition. I'm thrilled for Mick, and our athletes, because they'll know what to expect.