Bielema Notes: Pro Day

Bret Bielema commented on his new assistant coaches, gave injury updates and welcomed the Packers general manager Ted Thompson to the building Wednesday for the UW Pro Day.

MADISON — Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema covered a variety of topics with reporters Wednesday as the departed seniors and J.J. Watt worked out for scouts at the UW Pro Day.

Here are some highlights of the conversation:

Assistant Coach Responsibilities

In what Bielema called his busiest off-season ever, the Badgers head coach needed to replace three departures from his staff after the Rose Bowl appearance.

DeMontie Cross was hired away from the NFL to take responsibilities as the special teams coordinator, Thomas Hammock replaced John Settle as running backs coach and Dave Huxtable will take over as linebackers coach.

"I have been trying DeMontie [Cross] for a number of years and finally the timing worked out," Bielema said.

"The thing that impressed me about Thomas [Hammock] is everywhere he has gone he kept getting promoted."

"And then Hux, I have watched him from a far and been very impressed with the way they played football. When I sat down to visit with him he was probably one of the more intriguing linebacker interviews I have had in my career."

Most importantly, Bielema described the respective recruiting areas each will cover for UW.

Hammock will recruit on the East Coast, Huxtable will be in to Atlanta and Florida area and Cross will be in St. Louis area.

Injury Update

According to Bielema, several Badgers will be missing or partly missing in action from spring ball.

After missing the season with a shoulder injury, stud linebacker Chris Borland will be able to take place in limited movement drills during the spring, but will be barred from any drills where contact takes place.

"Where is Borland at? That is the $1 million dollar question," Bielema said. "Chris is really rehabbing well. He will be involved in drills that involve movement but he cannot be in drills where people might fall down and fall on him. We are really happy with his progression and we are training him right now on film for the mike linebacker position, something I think he can be really good at."

On offense, right tackle Josh Oglesby, still recovering from knee surgery will go through non-contact drills but won't be allowed live contact. Tight end Jacob Pederson is questionable for spring practice and running back Jeff Lewis will wear a partial cast for a sprained thumb.

Konrad Zagzebski, Tyler Dippel and Ethan Armstrong are all recovering from shoulder surgery and will miss all of spring practice.


Bielema clarified the responsibilities of Chris Ash and Charles Partridge, both of whom were given the title of defensive coordinator this off-season.

Ash will be the defensive coordinator, while Partridge will be co-defensive coordinator and the assistant head coach. This means Ash will be the voice on game day making the decisions, but Bielema will go to Partridge for help on the "big decisions."

Tressel Suspension

While Bielema passed on a chance to take any strong stance on Jim Tressel's two game suspension for the upcoming season, he did take the platform to rant a little bit about college recruiting as a whole.

"I think there are some things in our business that need to be cleaned up and if they don't get cleaned up, people need to be held accountable," Bielema said. "I am very serious about that. That goes beyond our conference."

Packers In The House

Green Bay Packers head coach and general manager Ted Thompson were both present for Pro Day, a fact enough to make any Wisconsin resident giddy.

In his past meetings with Thompson, Bielema had simply this to say in way of complimenting the Super Bowl winning GM.

"No G.M. takes as much time to go over film as Ted Thompson," Bielema said.

Early Enrollee

The Badgers have one early enrollee this semester in wide receiver Kenzel Doe.

And Bielema took the opportunity to rave about him.

"Kenzel is a freak, he is a great kid," Bielema said. "He has just magnetized himself around the building, academics and everybody. He is probably one of the most impressive freshman we have had that has come in January."

Extra Points

UW linebacker Kevin Rouse will not fulfill his final year of eligibility as he has chosen to graduate in May … tight end Zach Davison will not be with the team next season on medical leave for a chronic back issue.

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