Varsity - The Official Digital Magazine of Wisconsin Athletics

Varsity - September 13, 2012

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Coaching change difficult, but necessary BEHIND THE DESK BARRY ALVAREZ • UW DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS B ret came to me Sunday morning and told me what he wanted to do with the of- fensive line, and why. We had a good discussion on it. It was well-thought out. In the end, it was the right thing to do. In a situation like this, there can't be any hesitation as far as "I kind of think'' such a move should be made. There has to be a firm commit- ment and exacting answers. It can't be based on just one incident, one play or one game. There has to be a buildup and reasons why this has to happen. I think there was a sense of angst early on. But you don't want to act too soon. You want to give some- body a chance. Bret was very decisive in his decision-making. And, quite frank- ly, it was a decision that had to be made. It was a necessary move — it wasn't panic — it was absolutely necessary. You don't see it happen very of- ten, and when it does happen, you know that there are enough issues that a change had to be made. It's better to do something like this now — two games into the sea- son — instead of halfway through the season. I've been on a coaching staff that made a similar in-season move. We were probably three-quarters through my first year at Notre Dame and Lou Holtz eliminated the secondary coach. We didn't hire anybody, we just 12 » VARSITY SEPTEMBER 13, 2012 absorbed the position. Foge Fazio was the defensive coordinator and also coached the inside linebackers. I coached the outside linebackers. Lou came in to see me and asked if I could coach all four linebackers because he was going to have Foge coach the secondary. It all turned out for the better. We not only got the secondary's at- tention but we also got more out of our secondary. It was a situation where the players had lost confidence in the previous coach and the coach didn't have confidence in himself. That's going to lead to issues. Obviously there were some things wrong here. I haven't changed my mind about our offensive line. We've got two potential first-rounders and some good players. I just want our kids to play up to their potential. I would like to see them get back to playing at a level which we an- ticipated they would play at going into the season. But they have to know what they're doing, they have to do it with confidence, and they have to do it fast without any hesitation. You've got the best running back in America lined up behind them and we've got second-and-short and third-and-short and we can't make it. Oregon State wasn't overloading the box or anything else. They just beat us up front. We weren't block- ing them. There were a lot of busts. We were running a simple zone play and had two linemen going in opposite directions. When we run zone, those guys have to be on a string — when everybody steps it should look like a chorus line. It didn't look that way the other day. We've never hid the fact that the offensive line is what we've built our program on. That's our nuts and bolts, our heart and soul. I just want to see them play like we know they can play. That's what we want to see Saturday night.

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