Notes: Bielema Knows His New Coordinator

With Wisconsin Defensive Coordinator Dave Doeren getting his first head coaching opportunity at Northern Illinois, Head Coach Bret Bielema said Thursday that the process of filling the job was 'pretty easy' and that he's made the decision on the direction he's going.

LOS ANGELES –Let the speculation begin.

Wisconsin Head Coach Bret Bielema revealed Thursday that he has 'pretty much' made his decision on who will replace Defensive Coordinator Dave Doeren next season, but don't expect any more information until after the Rose Bowl.

"We jump right into a recruiting phase, literally that week after our game is live recruiting," Bielema said. "I'll probably have a press conference or a press release (that week)."

Bielema said the decision to name his new defensive coordinator was ‘pretty easy' for him and that he has already begun his search for the position opening on his staff.

Doeren chose to stay on to coach the Rose Bowl after accepting the head coaching job at Northern Illinois, leaving Bielema with Offensive Coordinator Paul Chryst, Running Back Coach John Settle and Offensive Line Coach Bob Bostad.

"(Those three are) very good coaches, but I love bringing in new blood," Bielema said. "I think when you can bring in small amounts of new blood and a new way of thinking, everybody overall benefits."

Bielema also went on to say that he expects no shortage of interviews for his staff position, as plenty of coaches have already inquired about the position.

"I've talked to a few coaches who were interested in the job, and one thing they keep saying is they believe it's a top 10 program because of the way we do things, the quality of living, the fact the kids we recruit and coach," Bielema said.

Borland Will Be Back

After seeing his sophomore season cut short because of reoccurring shoulder injuries, Chris Borland has no doubts that he'll be back to full form when summer conditioning begins in June.

"It's been a great process so far," said Borland. "I am on track to be 100 percent by the end of spring ball or the beginning of the summer.

Borland underwent surgery on his left shoulder on Oct. 13 to fix a broken bone after undergoing surgery last spring to repair a torn labrum. The left shoulder is mostly healed, but Borland was sporting a sling to mobilize his right shoulder, which he had surgery on Dec.22.

Borland was last season's Big Ten Freshman of the Year after recording 54 tackles, five sacks, 10.5 TFLs, five forced fumbles, recovering three fumbles and intercepting a pass in 13 games last season.

Borland played in two of UW's first three games, registering seven tackles, but had to leave both games early due to his shoulder injury. Even so, Borland admittedly has grown as a linebacker by taking plenty of mental reps on the sideline.

"The mental reps have been tremendous," Borland said. "I am at practice every day and still go to meetings. When you are playing, you have to memorize the game plan. When I am out, you get to look at the position and the defense has a whole. It's been a great learning experience and it (has) really inspired me watching this team play."

Glass Half Empty

Finishing his 28th coaching season with his 16th bowl game, TCU Coach Gary Patterson has had plenty of practice putting together his own game plan and routine. Playing in the Rose Bowl doesn't change any of his viewpoints – he convinces himself that his team isn't going to beat anybody.

"That's (me being) a defensive coach," Patterson said. "I don't tell the team that. I'm always one of those who is always trying to find the perfect defensive call. I think that's one of the things that has made us good. We always go in like we're the underdog. I've always been that way."

Only problem with that logic is that No.3 TCU is a three-point favorite over No.4 Wisconsin and Patterson has won at least 11 games in five of the last six years. After last year's struggles against Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl, Patterson doesn't buy into any projections, especially after he felt that his offense wasn't ready to start the game.

"I thought we were tight last year," Patterson said. "I think one of the things we've really stressed is we've got to play TCU football. It's what we've done. It's what's gotten us here. We don't need to do anything more than what we've done to this point. We've got to go be us."

Patterson is unique in that way, most often appearing to be a hyper, tense nervous wreck on the sideline prior to kickoff. Instead of standing stoic, Patterson will hitch his pants, retie his shoes or any other bizarre tactic to get his mind right.

"Most people can't be that way and be focused," Patterson said. "I'm actually the best when I'm that way. I'm into the ballgame, doing the things I need to do. Trust me, nobody likes embarrassing themselves on national TV, but if I think it will help us shut them out, I'd start combing my hair between series if it made a difference."

With the challenge facing his team on Saturday, expect his fidgetiness to be at an all-time high.

"I told them I need Velcro shoes for this ballgame," Patterson joked.

Star Gazing

Like most tourists, Wisconsin has enjoyed its trip to California by mixing in a little sightseeing, a little celebrity watching and a taste of the local cuisine.

Aside from the events associated with the Rose Bowl – visits to Disneyland and The Improv comedy club and dinner at Lawry's annual Beef Bowl – the Badgers have had some free time to explore the area on their own.

All-America left guard John Moffitt ate sushi. Wide receivers David Gilreath and Isaac Anderson spotted actress Meagan Good and infamous rap music mogul Marion ‘Suge' Knight.

"It's pretty fun. It's L.A., it's Hollywood so you know how that goes," Gilreath said. "I hope I can see some more (stars)."

TCU's New Routine

After losing to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl last season, TCU made several changes in hopes of achieving a different result in its second consecutive BCS bowl.

The Horned Frogs visited the stadium earlier this week, something they did not do in Arizona. Players said they got caught up in the environment at University of Phoenix Stadium on game day and it hindered their performance.

Patterson also changed the practice schedule and instituted tighter controls on the team at its hotel.

"We'll be able to control everything from the third floor up," Patterson said.

Quick Hits

-The Badgers are 16-6-1 all-time against teams from the Mountain West Conference. The Horned Frogs are 10-14-2 all-time against Big Ten teams.

Both teams defeated UNLV at Sam Boyd Stadium this season, Wisconsin posting a 41-21 win to open 2010 while TCU downed the Rebels, 48-6, on Oct. 30.

Dan Greenspan, who contributed to his report, covers USC for Follow him on Twitter @dangreenspan.

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