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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I'm late on this, but we officially have coaches: the aforementioned Steve Szabo is the linebackers coach and former UW secondary coach Ron Lee* has been brought in to coach cornerbacks. Szabo was discussed yesterday; Lee is an interesting choice. Brett Bielema decided not to retain him after the overmatched Wisconsin secondary distintegrated last year, but before that he directed a couple of good units featuring Scott Starks and super-walkon Jim Leonhard. He was a candidate for the Virginia DBs job:

Groh has spoken to a handful of candidates for both openings, including former Wisconsin assistant Ron Lee.

The former Washington State star was in charge of the secondary at Wisconsin for the past three years, but was not retained by the program after legendary Badger coach Barry Alvarez announced his retirement.

Bert Bielema, who will officially replace Alvarez on Feb. 1 when a five-year contract starts, awarded the secondary position to his close friend, former Minnesota assistant Kerry Cooks.

In addition to coaching at Wisconsin, Lee spent two years as the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at San Jose State (2001-2002) and eight years prior at Colorado State (1993-2000). While at San Jose State, the team was third in the nation in interceptions.
Blah Blah Blah's proprietor wandered over to an active Wisconsin board to solicit opinions on him and found a Badger fans to be generally positive:
I was kind of sorry to see him go, but I wouldn't call him a huge loss.
The DBs may have been out of position, but that's what happens when your best CB tears up his ACL 6 mos before the season starts and isn't 100% and your #2 and #3 CBs are freshmen. Even the best of secondary coaches would have a difficult time with that. I thought that he did a pretty good job, all things considered. Not sure that I like that idea of him coaching at Michigan.
Everyone I knew connected with the program thought highly of his skills as a coach.

Wisconsin's DBs were not out of position at all this year. Bell couldn 't run and the other guys are freshmen and their technique just needs work.

I was a little surprised he wasn't asked back. I think he is solid.
By all accounts, he was a good coach. Coordinated a fine seondary two seasons ago. You have to give him some credit with the Auburn game. The Badgers were pretty green in the secondary, and the best returning player was hurt (Bell). However, after the game "slowed" down for them, and they got a break before Hawaii, and before Auburn, I thought the secondary played well.

I think it's a good move.
He is a very nice guy, very personable. Very positive comments about him from his players. I was sorry to see him go.
I thought he was above average as a position coach. My guess is he didn't bring as much to recruiting as BB would want. He recruited new new territories to the Badgers, but never really got many kids to visit/sign.
damm good coach. as the coach of the DB's on the maniac. i spend a lot of time watching his group.

his kids got better. that's the bottom line.
There are a couple of "meh" assessments as well. I know little about either coach, but the fact that we got rid of a special teams coordinator (Mike DeBord, who went to OC) and a defensive backs coach (English, who's DC) and hired a linebackers coach and a cornerbacks coach is interesting. Clearly English is going to retain responsibility for the safeties and some coked-up mad scientist grad assistant who wants to lose us the Iowa game with crazy punt formations is going to deal with the special teams--or, more likely, a combination of coaches already on the staff. (Maybe we could block some damned gunners this year? No? Just asking.)

Overall, I'm pleased. We retained Loeffler, got rid of Herrmann, and found a young, charistmatic defensive coordinator who was pursued by three NFL teams and hired by Lovie Smith. Neither new coach has any connection to the Michigan program--thus they are likely to be the best candidates available. We have a linebackers coach with eons of experience.

The downsides: a retread at OC who has impressed nowhere and uncertainty in special teams. I'll take it. So will Vijay, who has an excellent assessment of the changes for your perusal.

(*Not related to Ang Lee, presumably**.)

(**I assume that some wag somewhere has done a clever who's-on-first with Ang Lee's name, right?

Abbot: Hey, stranger, what's going on? What's your name?
Lee: Ang Lee.
Abbot: Why? All I did is ask your name.
Lee: Well now I'm Ang Lee because you're racist.