Struggling Wisconsin replaces o-line coach

Associated Press Modified: September 10, 2012 at 3:21 pm •  Published: September 10, 2012
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema knows that replacing offensive line coach Mike Markuson two games into the season might be perceived as a knee-jerk reaction to the Badgers' surprisingly sluggish start on offense.

Bielema insisted that isn't the case. He said he and Markuson had several conversations about the direction the team is heading before making the move.

With the Badgers coming off a 10-7 loss at Oregon State, Bielema confirmed the coaching change in his regular news conference on Monday. Markuson will be replaced by Bart Miller, a graduate assistant in his second season with the Badgers.

"I know everybody's got their own forgone conclusions of what transpired," Bielema said. "It wasn't a knee-jerk thing by me, it's something that we kind of talked about and processed through."

Bielema cited personal matters involving Markuson's family, but also made it clear that he wasn't happy with the line's performance.

A dominant, NFL-sized offensive line has been Wisconsin's calling card going back to Barry Alvarez's tenure, but this year's line has had an uncharacteristically tough time opening up holes for star running back Montee Ball and buying time for new quarterback Danny O'Brien.

The Badgers have fallen out of the Top 25 after barely beating FCS school Northern Iowa in their opener, and then losing to the Beavers.

"Now realize I'm not naive to the fact that we're not going to turn into what we've fortunately been able to accomplish in the past overnight," Bielema said. "But we're going to take some baby steps, and my guess is we're going to have a great amount of change in a short amount of time. It wasn't like they were doing everything horribly. There are some things we've got to clean up. We've got to get communication, execution and assignments clean."

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