MADISON, Wis. Wisconsin football coach Gary Andersen spent considerable time putting together his nine-man coaching staff since his hire in December. Just last week, it appeared he had finally completed the exhaustive search with the addition of a wide receivers coach.
But Andersen barely had time to breathe a sigh of relief before the hunt began anew, when tight ends and special teams coordinator Jay Boulware left last Friday for the same position at Oklahoma -- seven weeks after being hired at Wisconsin.
On Monday, Andersen met with reporters for the first time since Boulware's exit. And he did not hold back his dismay at how events transpired.
"It's my fault," Andersen said. "It's disappointing. It's upsetting. I brought the wrong guy in here. We'll be better off as we move forward."
Andersen said his goal was to hire a coach by the start of spring practices, when begins on Saturday. He expects to bring in someone with experience coaching both tight ends and special teams. Current Badgers secondary coach Bill Busch led the special teams unit at Utah State in Andersen, but because this staff has four defensive coaches and five offensive coaches, Andersen would prefer an offensive coach handle special teams.
Although Andersen blamed himself, he admitted there was no way of knowing Boulware would renege on his commitment to Wisconsin.
What would Andersen have done differently in the hiring process?
"As I look back, really nothing," Andersen said. "Absolutely nothing. It caught me completely off guard. Surprising. There's time and there's structure and there's departure. That's part of college football. But the timing of this was something that I thought I had handled, and I thought I had addressed throughout the hiring process.
"I don't know how I would have stopped it or could have stopped it. As I move forward, I can't really even say I've learned anything that I would prepare myself different or I'll handle an interview different."
Andersen declined to discuss the reasons Boulware gave for leaving.
"Jay's got his own world, and I don't want to start all that stuff, so I'll probably say something I shouldn't say," he said. "So I'm just going to shut up. It's just easier for me to be in that position."
Andersen did say he learned of Boulware's departure just hours before Oklahoma made the announcement official. By that time, there was little he could do to keep Boulware -- not that he would have pushed the issue anyway.
"I will never beg a coach to stay," Andersen said. "And I feel the same way in recruiting. I'm never going to beg a kid to come to Wisconsin. If you don't want to be here and you have something you think is better, then so be it. I'll voice my opinion of why I think you're wrong and the direction that you're heading, and it may compromise a relationship between me and whoever, and I'm OK with that. That doesn't bother me a bit.
"I'm here for the University of Wisconsin. I'm here to make everybody proud of the football program on and off the field. If I've got a coach or a player that doesn't want to buy into that, then so be it. Move along because there's a lot of people that would love to be a part of it."
Budmayr done: The college football career of Wisconsin quarterback Jon Budmayr has finally come to an end. Budmayr, who has not thrown a pass in a game since 2010, will become a volunteer student coach, according to Andersen.
"He's excited about that and so are we," Andersen said. "It's a great opportunity for a young man that may want to turn around and coach one day. That's where he is. He'll use that window of opportunity."
Budmayr suffered nerve damage in his throwing elbow in 2011, and despite repeated attempts to make a comeback, couldn't overcome the injury. He appeared in three games in 2010 and completed 8 of 10 passes for 134 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.
Positional challenges: Although Andersen refrained from discussing specific players before spring practices begin, he did pinpoint three position groups as having the biggest challenge in the Badgers' new scheme.
He said the cornerbacks would need to adjust to playing more man coverage, while the wide receivers will have to increase their physicality to create separation against man coverage. Andersen also said the team's linebackers would need to adjust to shifting between an odd front and an event front on defense. The Badgers will operate more out of a 3-4 defensive formation under the new coaching staff. Previously, they had played in a 4-3 defense.
Urban planning: Andersen said Ohio State coach Urban Meyer's comments regarding the Big Ten's need to step up its recruiting efforts was much ado about nothing.
Meyer told a Columbus radio station in February that he intended to speak to the league's coaches at an upcoming Big Ten meeting about improving recruiting.
"Our whole conversation needs to be, 'How do we recruit?' " Meyer said at the time. "When you see 11 of the SEC teams in the top 25 in recruiting, that is something we need to continue to work on and improve."
Andersen said Meyer told him the comments were "taken out of context."
"It was not an issue at all," Andersen said. "I think we all want to compete and recruit at a very, very high level. We're all excited about doing that. To my knowledge, there was no falling out or any issues with that whatsoever with any of the coaches in the Big Ten."
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