BadgerNation: In your first spring working with these guys, what have you seen from your players and the potential that they have?
Tim Tibesar: I am very fortunate that I have a veteran group coming back: Vince Biegel and Joe Schobert, two starters from last year, and Jesse Hayes, who also played quite a bit. It’s fun to have those guys in there having played some games and can help coach some of the younger guys, both in meetings and out on the field. I really like those upperclassmen and what they can do. I think Vince and Joe have a chance to have great seasons this next year. We have a long way to go and a lot of stuff to work on, and they’ll be the first to tell you that.
BN: What’s it like having Garret Dooley at your position? He’s bounced around to several positions throughout his career and is back to the original position a former coaching staff projected him at. What are your thoughts on him?
TT: Yeah, he was at linebacker, then d-line and now he’s back to linebacker. I think he’s happy because it fits his body type better. He’s probably still got a little bit more of that defensive line mentality about him. He excels better at run defense and pass rush, rather than the coverage portion. That’s some of the concepts we’re still learning and he’s going to have to work on, but I’m excited about him. He’s a good athlete and has some great potential.
BN: What have you taken from your NFL experience and brought to the college ranks to help coach these outside linebackers?
TT: Any level that you’re at, your main objective is to try to help the players develop to their fullest potential. In the National Football League that’s helping guys stay in the league, go from being a backup to a starter or being a starter and sustaining as a starter. In college that’s helping guys learn, grow and develop at their position. I’ve certainly learned a lot of lessons from my time coaching professional football. I think you learn that from any place that you go and you try to apply that to any place that you come to.
I’m trying to apply a professional-type attitude for the guys. As I tell the guys, I’ll treat you like a professional until you show me otherwise. If you want to coach or play at the next level, this is how you’ll be coached and this is how you’ll be treated. This is what I try to bring to the table.
BN: After your year with the Chicago Bears, you took a year off from hands-on coaching. What was that year like for you?
TT: It was tremendous for me from a growth and development standpoint. When it happened (getting fired), I didn’t know how it was going to work out. I put together a plan for it, and I’m a much better coach a year later than I was a year ago.
I visited over seven colleges, some multiple times, and I went to three different NFL teams for a week a piece. I got to talk defense and technique and drills and all of those things at the places I went to. You’ll never be able to do that if you were actively coaching at any level, that you’d be able to go to that many places and talk with different people and exchange ideas. I feel like I got five years of professional development done in one year. I really think it actually helped me continue to learn and grow as a coach. Because of it, I’m a better coach this year than I was last year.
BN: Did you pursue this job when it became open right away or did you have a connection that helped you become aware of it?
TT: I certainly pursued it. I’ve known Paul Chryst for a couple year and contacted him right away when there was an opening and let him know I was interested. I am a Midwest guy. I like coaching in the Midwest. This is my third team in the Big Ten that I’ve been a part of. It’s a great league. Wisconsin is a great place. It obviously has a winning tradition, it’s in a great city and I was certainly very interested in this job. I wanted to be a part of Paul’s first staff.
BN: How are you and Dave Aranda working together?
TT: Great! Wisconsin was one of places I made several trips up to last year during my time and got to know Coach Aranda. He and I hit it off, and I think that’s one of the reasons I got hired because we had some previous experience with each other. Obviously he is a very smart, sharp football coach. I certainly enjoy working with him.
BN: Having two clear starters in Biegel and Schobert, what’s the goal with them this spring, and how much depth are you hoping to build before spring ends?
TT: For all those guys, they are looking to improve and have their best season this next fall. That’s the objective. For the veteran guys coming back, we want to take Joe’s and Vince’s game to the next level and improve upon what they did last year. Then we have some young guys in this group who haven’t seen the field at all. We want to develop them to the point where we can feel like they can go on the field and we don’t have any change in the expectations.