First, let me say that I like him and want him to succeed. I think all the complaining about his weight and the TV show and all that other stuff is really immature and comes from people who wouldn’t have the nerve to say any of it if they were in the same room. Internet tough guys.
That said, despite liking him and being a supporter, I’m starting to have creeping concerns.
Those concerns have nothing to do with style or recruiting. In fact I think his style is a good fit and he does about as well in recruiting as anyone would do unless and until we win more or start blatantly cheating.
My concerns are that he is more of a CEO-type head coach in that he delegates and his primary concern is program culture, roster and staff management, etc.
And, when that’s your role, you can’t have huge weaknesses on your staff and you can’t get outcoached, tactically on major things like clock management, challenging plays (reviews) etc.
The biggest knock from Wisconsin fans was that he wasn’t a good gameday coach. I’ve seen issues, there. Once things turn, he all-too-often is unable to rein it in.
Part of that is instincts. He had to know that the 2nd Morgan fumble was vital. Win that challenge and we probably coast to a win. Those things add up and swing games that could be salvaged at a program with no margin for error.
But, my biggest concern is a losing culture has set in and that is so difficult to turn.
I don’t think the players are bad people. I think as a whole they’re good people and many are good players. I think the same regarding the coaches.
But, once that culture sets in–the one where losing isn’t quite expected but it is the most likely result as soon as anything goes wrong–it is very hard to change.
That’s Bielema’s toughest task at this point. He has to recruit off of available playing time and mixed on-field results.
And, more importantly, he needs to find some junkyard dogs amongst his group of redshirts and newcomers.
They have to find some kids who (absent the very regrettable act that led to his ejection) play like Morgan and care about it as much as Him and usually far exceed expectations.
If he can’t change that aspect of the team (ie subconscious “quitting”) then he will end up being fired. I hope that he recognizes it’s a problem and shakes up the staff, the 2-deep and his own coaching approach.