University of Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez has targeted at least three current assistant coaches as possible candidates to be retained under new football coach Gary Andersen.

Those three assistants, according to a source close to the UW football program, are offensive line coach Bart Miller, strength and conditioning coach Ben Herbert and co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Charlie Partridge.

Both Herbert and Partridge have already accepted jobs at Arkansas under former UW coach Bret Bielema.

Miller is one of only three assistants whose plans after the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl have not been disclosed. The other two are running backs coach and recruiting coordinator Thomas Hammock and secondary coach Ben Strickland.

Just because Hammock and Strickland were not mentioned specifically by the source does not mean they won't stay.

Andersen, who arrived in Madison on Wednesday afternoon, is expected to meet on Thursday and Friday with the current UW assistants.

He is expected to have an opening for a running backs coach, which would seem to make Hammock a good fit.

Mike Sanford, who was the Aggies' assistant head coach, while also working with the running backs and tight ends, was hired as the head coach at Indiana State on Friday.

But another source, who is close to the UW coaches, said when Andersen's name came up as the leading candidate on Tuesday night, Hammock was initially upset because he wasn't sure if he would have a chance to stay.

Both of the sources talked on the condition of anonymity, because UW has not officially announced Andersen's hiring.

Also, multiple sources have said Hammock could be a candidate to jump to the NFL. Those jobs are not expected to open up for another couple weeks, which will give Hammock plenty of time to see what Andersen wants to do.

Even though the first source did not directly mention Strickland, he would seem like a potential candidate to stay, given his strong ties with the state high school coaches.

Strickland is in his first year as a full-time assistant, after spending one year on the staff as the defensive quality control coordinator and two years as a graduate assistant.

The former UW walk-on defensive back, who played at Brookfield Central, has quickly built a strong reputation with the state coaches. His primary recruiting areas are Wisconsin and Atlanta.

Since Andersen does not have any ties to the state, retaining Strickland might be a way to keep the prep coaches in the state happy.

One of the coaches Andersen is expected to bring with him from Utah State is Bill Busch, who is the associate head coach, special teams coordinator and safeties coach for the Aggies.

That leaves open the cornerbacks position, and Strickland would seem to be a worthy candidate for that position.

Another coach Andersen is almost certainly bringing along is offensive line coach T.J. Woods. He was the offensive line coach at New Mexico in 2007, when Miller was the starting right guard as a senior.

Aggies offensive coordinator Matt Wells also worked on that staff at New Mexico. Wells is expected to be a strong candidate to replace Andersen at Utah State and has already interviewed for the job, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Woods could coach another position, like tight ends, if Andersen wants to retain Miller.

As for Herbert, Alvarez feels strongly about trying to keep him, according to the first source. Herbert, who played under Alvarez, has been integral to UW's string of three straight conference championships.

Herbert is also close to Bielema, so it will be interesting to see what happens if Alvarez tries to convince his former player to stay.

According to multiple reports, Andersen is expected to hire Utah defensive line coach Chad Kauha'aha'a.

Utah State defensive coordinator Dave Aranda also seems a lock to join Andersen at UW.

So where would that leave Partridge? He has a $50,000 buyout in his agreement if he leaves Arkansas. It’s unclear if Partridge wants to stay at UW, although Alvarez apparently would love to find a way to keep him.

The two main issues regarding offensive and defensive schemes are whether the Badgers will retain some aspects of the spread offense Andersen utilized at Utah State, as well as the 3-4 defense.

The Aggies ran some pro-style offense in 2011 with running backs Robert Turbin and Michael Smith.

They went to more spread this year to take advantage not only of dual-threat quarterback Chuckie Keeton, but also running back Kerwynn Williams, who rushed for 1,512 yards and is more of a spread back.

There is also some concern about whether UW’s defensive personnel would fit the 3-4 scheme the Aggies ran this season.

They apparently went to that due to a shortage of defensive linemen and an abundance of linebackers. They have utilized a 4-3 in the past and when Andersen was the defensive coordinator at Utah, his best defenses ran a 4-3.

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Sorry Bill, thought u were talking about me....

That other poster is free to express himself. And yes, there is a concern about the unknown of this candidate. It does not appear that this coach was his first choice, but we could be mistaken. This coach has absolutely no ties to the Big Ten and the Midwest, which could make the transition more difficult. Etc.

But overall, let's see what hes got. He has to be better against OSU and in bowl games, and other big games than the previous coach was. And with the new playoff structure, the only realistic way UW qualifies to the playoff is by winning the big ten title, either undefeated of with one loss. And in either scenerio, they would have to finish ahead of OSU.... And BB 1-5 against OSU.


Whos a hater, me??? I think not. That's such a simpleminded comment. Being critical or questioning things doesn't make someone a "hater". I like this hire, and we ll see what happens. But these coaches are graded by wins and losses, production, etc. This is their job, just like we all are graded in some fashion at our jobs.


I think its a good idea to keep a few coaches from the previous staff, just for the sake of recruitment. The new head coach and his staff don't have any ties to the Midwest, so they need to keep as many connections.


Look, the big ones are gone: Canada, et al. Keep Bart Miller for sure. No change in asst coaching year to year has been better than the change Miller brought with him. Find some great asst coaches from around the leagues and keep the play action (especially with Stave and Houston coming up), and run and you'll be fine.


I know that Barry probably still thinks of the Badgers as "his" program, but shouldn't he be letting the new coach make these calls? After all, the guy's already done with his own bowl game and can be working for UW full time, while Barry still has that little task ahead of him out in Pasadena that I'd hope he'd be concentrating on.

Besides which, what kind of signal does it send to a coach when the AD is already 2nd-guessing him his 1st week on the job?


I agree with you. He has to let the new coach be his own man or Barry will end up being like Jerry Jones in Dallas. Andersen is perfectly capable of evaluating the current assistants' possible contribution, that of his own assistants and that of those who are now in other programs. Sure Barry can provide some insights to the new coach but he needs to respect the new coach's decision on his assistants.


I agree too.


Gee... wonder if Barry talked to Andersen's AD before approaching him?
Is Andersen the guy he supposedly had in his office within 5 minutes of meeting with Bielema?

Barry must be embarrassed after it's been made publicly obvious what a micro-manager he is.

But hey... glad he gave HIMSELF A RAISE for the Rose Bowl!!!



Another hater


Meant to say that "tiber" is another hater. He will be waiting for the first slip up to criticize BA .


Well TOM, first off wow, didn't really see this coming. But now that is unofficially official
I like the choice. The only thing is recruiting at this level, and Midwest/ BIG familiarity??

This is why he must consider keeping some of the staff. If Wells stays behind he has Hammock who could be a good OC. Strickland must be retained as CB coach, he knows the local recruits, and is our top recruiter. Miller can help on the OL and with TE's, Partridge is our connection in Florida, make him come DC and recruiting coordinator. Herbert is an excellent
Strength coach.........
But Barry you have to PAY these guys too. Partridge is at 395K, can you match that? Aranda is an excellent DC you need to pay him big bucks, Hammock if OC will require a big raise. Show us the money BARRY!!!!!!


Reading between the lines it looks like Barry at least wants to interfere with some guys leaving to go to Arkansas. Trying to dispel the image that BB put out there about assistants at UW. Keeping Herbert is pretty important from all I hear. Would think that keeping Hammock would be important as well.