Some things are starting to fall into place for University of Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema's staff for 2012.
We know offensive coordinator Paul Chryst and offensive line coach Bob Bostad won't be here. Chryst accepted the head coaching job at Pittsburgh and as we reported on Monday night, Bostad will be joining him.
We also know tight ends coach Joe Rudolph will have a new role and will be involved in some capacity as one of the people to fill Chryst's big shoes.
A UW source confirmed Tuesday, Rudolph will be involved in some capacity when Bielema names a new offensive coordinator.
It also seems to be increasingly likely Bielema could name an offensive coordinator and a co-coordinator on offense, similar to what he has done on defense with coordinator Chris Ash and co-coordinator Charlie Partridge.
One of the intriguing things in how all of this shakes down is the role of running backs coach Thomas Hammock.
This much we know about Hammock: He is a bright, young coach. The only question about him becoming an offensive coordinator is, when?
I thought from the day the news broke that Chryst was leaving, Hammock would have a much bigger role in the offense going forward. I feel even more strongly about that now.
I'm not ready to predict yet if Rudolph will be the offensive coordinator, and Hammock would be the co-coordinator. On the outside, that would seem the most likely scenario, given Rudolph is in his fourth season as tight ends coach in Chryst's offense, while Hammock is a first-year running backs coach.
But I also wouldn't put it past Bielema to surprise some folks and make Hammock the coordinator, with Rudolph the co-coorindator.
As I wrote the day after Chryst's departure was known, Hammock has experience as a co-coordinator at Minnesota last season. He even called plays after Tim Brewster was fired and Jeff Horton was elevated to interim coach.
I talked to Hammock earlier in the season, about his desire to become a coordinator and the experience he gained calling plays.
"The first thing they'll say is you haven't done it before," he told me. "Well, I did have a chance to do it. I was appreciative of the opportunity, was appreciative of those kids fighting through a tough year and adversity."
I think we can also gain some insight on how Bielema handled the defensive coordinator opening last season.
Many fans assumed Partridge, the defensive line coach, was next in line. Partridge just finished his third season as UW's defensive line coach. Ash had spent only one season as defensive backs coach.
Yet, Bielema went with Ash as the coordinator and Partridge as co-coordinator. Now, the two work closely together, but Ash runs the defense.
I'm not sure if the same thing could work on offense. I'm not even sure Hammock is ready to make this step. But some coaches are destined to move quickly up the ladder and Hammock strikes me as one of those guys.
One other nugget to be gleaned from the defensive side of the ball is the importance of bringing in seasoned linebackers coach Dave Huxtable, a highly successful defensive coordinator at Central Florida.
Finding a quarterbacks coach with a matching pedigree on offense -- and maybe even some play-calling experience -- might go along way in smoothing the transition if Bielema elects to go with a relatively unproven combination like Hammock and Rudolph.