The Wisconsin Badgers fired offensive line coach Mike Markuson on Monday. Coach Bret Bielema indicated the move was not entirely based on Saturdays dissapointing loss, and that he and Markuson have had multiple conversations recently about the direction of the team. Bielema explained that part of the reason for the dismissal is that Markuson is going through some personal matters that are family related, but he is also not happy about the offensive line’s play so far this season.
Wisconsin has long been known for its strong offensive line, especially under former coach Barry Alvarez, but this year’s group has struggled to create lanes for potential Heisman hopeful Montee Ball. In Saturday’s defeat at the hands of the Oregon State Beavers, Ball was held to just 61 yards on the ground and had his touchdown streak snapped at 21 games. The 10-7 loss dropped the Badgers out of the top 25 rankings and it was the first time they were beaten by a non-conference opponent in 33 straight games. That run was the second longest in the nation behind the LSU Tigers.
Bielema added that he has never hesitated on making a coaching move that he felt would translate into more wins for his team. Next up for Wisconsin is the Utah State Aggies on Saturday night who are coming off a victory over the Utah Utes. The Badgers will have to get it done with out defensive back Shelton Johnson who suffered a broken arm in the loss and could be out for up to six weeks. They could also be without their number one wide receiver Jared Abbrederis who is listed as questionable with a concussion.