Former Utah State coach Andersen excited to coach Badgers football

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 11, 2013 - 12:16 PM
hide

Gary Andersen, coaching this spring, got a taste of the Wisconsin football experience last fall when his Utah State team nearly upset the Badgers.

Photo: M.P. King • Wisconsin State Journal via Associated Press,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

 

– From his new office overlooking the field at Camp Randall Stadium, Gary Andersen still can see the fateful line of scrimmage.

Four years after taking over a languishing Utah State football program, Andersen had the Aggies on the verge of a major upset last September. Trailing the Badgers 16-14 with 11 seconds remaining, his team lined up for the winning field goal.

“Nineteen-yard line. Right hash,” Andersen said, pointing to the spot last month.

The kick sailed wide right. Then-Badgers coach Bret Bielema heaved a huge sigh of relief as Andersen walked off in defeat. But that night’s importance lingered into December.

After winning a third consecutive Big Ten title, Bielema abruptly left for Arkansas, thrusting the Badgers into their first true coaching search since they hired Barry Alvarez in 1990. Alvarez, who hand-picked Bielema as his successor before becoming Wisconsin athletic director, did something that California, Kentucky and Colorado could not — persuade Andersen to leave Utah State.

In the six years before Andersen took over Utah State’s program, the Aggies went 15-55. His teams went 4-8, 4-8 and 7-5 before turning in the best season in school history last year at 11-2.

“What he did there was fabulous because he brought the program from zero,” said Ron McBride, former Utah coach and Andersen’s longtime mentor. “He was No. 1 on Cal’s list. I was shocked he turned that down. I figured he was going to stay at Utah State, so the Wisconsin thing kind of blew me away.”

During his interview, Andersen immediately hit it off with Alvarez. And Wisconsin didn’t have to do much selling because Andersen had seen enough as a visiting coach last fall.

“We were heartbroken with that loss,” Andersen said. “But you also walk out of here going, ‘That was big time.’ It’s as big as it gets in college football.”

State of the program

Bielema went 68-24 at Wisconsin, including 12-1 his first season, but never quite escaped Alvarez’s shadow. The Badgers went 8-6 last year, winning the Big Ten, in part, because Ohio State and Penn State were bowl ineligible. Wisconsin then lost a third consecutive Rose Bowl.

But long before leaving, Bielema predicted this 2013 Wisconsin team would be his best. Running back Montee Ball and center Travis Frederick have moved to the NFL, but the Badgers return plenty of standouts, including linebacker Chris Borland and wide receiver Jared Abbrederis. The biggest questions are the secondary, the wide receivers and the quarterback. Andersen hasn’t named a starting quarterback. He plans to open camp with a three-way battle between Joel Stave, Curt Phillips and junior-college transfer Tanner McEvoy.

The Badgers ran the 4-3 defense under Bielema, but Andersen prefers the 3-4. Offensively, he plans to spice things up a bit, too.

“Do we want to use a power run game? Absolutely,” Andersen said. “But we do want to incorporate a touch of the option. In 20 years of coaching on the defensive side of the football, just the threat that they’re going to grab the ball and pitch it sideways is a whole new dimension to football.”

Andersen was the defensive line coach at Utah under then-coach Urban Meyer when the Utes went 12-0 in 2004. The two have remained friends, which will add to the story lines when the Badgers play at Ohio State on Sept. 28. The winner of that showdown should be favored to win the Leaders Division.

Speaking to Badgers fans at the River Falls Golf Club last month, Andersen had some fun with all the hype being stowed upon the Buckeyes after their 12-0 finish last season.

  • related content

  • Chart: The Gary Andersen file

    Wednesday July 10, 2013

    the andersen fileAge: 49Background: His coaching stops included Southeastern Louisiana, Ricks College, Idaho State, Park City (Utah) High School, Northern...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Boston - A. Ranaudo 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - C. Morton
Toronto - D. Hutchison 6:05 PM
Baltimore - U. Jimenez
Washington - T. Roark 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Miami - N. Eovaldi 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
NY Yankees - M. Pineda 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cincinnati - J. Cueto 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - J. Arrieta
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt 7:10 PM
Kansas City - L. Hendriks
Cleveland - C. Kluber 7:10 PM
Houston - N. Tropeano
Detroit - R. Porcello 7:10 PM
Minnesota - R. Nolasco
Milwaukee - W. Peralta 7:15 PM
St. Louis - L. Lynn
Los Angeles - D. Haren 7:40 PM
Colorado - T. Matzek
San Francisco - J. Peavy 8:40 PM
Arizona - J. Collmenter
Seattle - R. Elias 9:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Texas - N. Tepesch 9:05 PM
Oakland - S. Kazmir
Philadelphia - A. Burnett 9:10 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Philadelphia 30 FINAL
Indianapolis 27
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Countdown to great deals

Bid Sept. 21-29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How do you feel about the decision to reinstate Adrian Peterson?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close