Breaking Down Mike Markuson

With 28 years of coaching experience and having produced six All-Americans in the last nine seasons, the hire of former Ole Miss offensive line coach Mike Markuson looks outstanding on the service. How good of a hire is it? Badger Nation examines it closer.

MADISON - When Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema goes on the road recruiting, he often says him and his staff are looking for a recruit with Midwest values with possible ties to the Midwest. It's evident he's done the same in his search for new assistant coaches.

Although he has spent the last 14 years in the Southeastern Conference, coaching offensive lines at Arkansas and Mississippi, Mike Markuson is from Farmington, Minn., coaches with UW Athletic Director Barry Alvarez at Notre Dame and knows how to coach big burly linemen after three decades of college coaching experience, including four years as an offensive coordinator.

"Mike brings experience of having success at the highest levels of college football," Bielema said in a UW release. "The production of his offensive line units and the offenses he has been associated with is very impressive."

To find out more about Markuson's style on the field and on the recruiting road, Badger Nation spoke with OMSpirit.com's Chuck Rounsaville, who has been around the Rebels for over 30 years.

From someone who has spent years around him, what is Wisconsin getting from Mike Markuson?

Rounsaville: I've been through seven of eight offensive line and I think he's as good as we have ever had. We've had some good ones. Mike is a great guy number one. Number two is he's a task master. He's real meticulous. He's going to get his guys going in the right direction and keep them there. He keeps them focus and for as long as he's been in coaching, he knows every blocking scheme there is. I don't know of any drawbacks to be honest with you. He's good, he's thorough and his players love him. You aren't going to have any issues with any of his players not being on the same page.

How did the offensive line at Ole Miss change from the time before he got there to his tenure? What was the big difference with the way that group approached things, especially the guys between staffs?

Rounsaville: I think one thing was recruiting. Him being able to evaluate offensive line, to find them and get them there was big. There is a certain type of player he likes and he's identified them in recruiting. To me, that was one of the biggest differences. He was following Art Kehoe, who had spent 25 years at Miami and won a couple national championship rings. He's back at Miami now, so we've been very fortunate here to have very good experienced line coaches. So, it wasn't like he was coming into an empty nest.

I think any player that has ever played for him will tell you that he's honed their skills. I think everybody in this area runs an inside zone or an outside zone, some trapping. I don't think you'll see much difference in the schemes down here from one coach to the next. The point I am trying to make is Mike is certainly well versed in everything.

You mention Mike likes to recruit ‘his type of player.' How would you define Mike's type of offensive lineman?

Rounsaville: He likes grinders. He likes guys that are ready that are going to get in there and mix them up. We were awfully big last year, too big honestly, that we probably lost a little athleticism. That was no fault of his. Our best five guys were just huge. In the SEC, some of these defensive tackles and defensive ends are so athletic and quick. We didn't have the personnel to match them this past year because we were too big.

He likes gritty guys that will have a little nastiness about them. He has good knack for recognizing that from their high schools and junior colleges.

Are there any negatives with him in your eyes from how he coaches or how he recruited?

Rounsaville: Really no. To be honest with you, I think he's going to be ideal for Wisconsin because you have a lot of his type of players up there. I think that's going to make him that much better because the talent pool that he has for his type of linemen is so much bigger.

Talk about him as a recruiter. He's recruited a lot of kids for Ole Miss over the last several years and done so from different areas. Was he the Rebels best recruiter?

Rounsaville: I wouldn't say he was our best recruiter but as far as consistency to be able to get in on guys and close the deal with them, he's very good.

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