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Badgers football: Gary Andersen turns focus to receivers coach

2013-02-07T04:40:00Z Badgers football: Gary Andersen turns focus to receivers coachTOM MULHERN | Wisconsin State Journal | tmulhern@madison.com | 608-252-6169 madison.com

University of Wisconsin football coach Gary Andersen wants to have his receivers coach in place in the next week.

Andersen has interviewed a couple of candidates and has a couple more he intends to talk to, after putting the process on hold the last two weeks while focusing on recruiting.

"It's been on hold long enough," Andersen said on Wednesday after his signing day news conference. "We need to get somebody in here for these young men.

"I also don't think it's fair, if a coach is in another program, it's hard to turn around and say right in the recruiting time, you're going to take him away. That makes it hard."

The wide receivers coach is the last of the nine primary assistants Andersen needs to hire. As he goes through the process, it gets a little more difficult with each hire, because he has to make sure he has all of his bases covered on the staff.

That makes the final assistant hired one of the most difficult to find.

"As you build a staff, at the beginning, there's nine pieces to the staff initially," Andersen said. "So, you reach here and you've got a strength there. As you go, it funnels down to get a little more specific as far as a recruiting area, experience, old or young, whatever it may be as you go through that process.

"It becomes more specific on the needs for the program with the last coach picked. I just want to make sure I get the right person."

The first priority for all of Andersen's assistants is always the same: "Take care of the kids first," he said. "That's absolutely a must.

"There's three or four names I have right now. I'm looking forward to talking to those guys, but I did put it on hold for two weeks as we went through this (recruiting) process, so I really haven't touched it for a couple weeks."

Quarterback glut

The signing of junior college quarterback Tanner McEvoy gives the Badgers six scholarship quarterbacks. Andersen said he has heard nothing about any disgruntled players and expects the five quarterbacks already in the program to all take part in spring practices.

Three will be seniors: Curt Phillips, who started the last five games for UW and was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA; Danny O'Brien, who began 2012 as UW's starter after transferring from Maryland; and Jon Budmayr, who was UW's primary backup in 2010 and is planning a comeback after missing the past two seasons with a slew of injuries.

Joel Stave, who started six games as a redshirt freshman before breaking his collarbone in October, and heralded redshirt freshman Bart Houston are the Badgers' other two returning scholarship quarterbacks.

McEvoy, who attended Arizona Western College and has three years of eligibility remaining, will join the team in the summer.

Andersen will sit down individually with every player on the team next week, but has had informal discussions with the quarterbacks.

"We've basically had those discussions with those kids, let them know we're happy (with them)," Andersen said. "A lot of times things get blown out of proportion. It's a competitive situation.

"Every program I've ever been around, once you get to a spot, where you have four quarterbacks and you get a little stacked up with maybe some youthfulness, there's always that option or possibility of a transfer. But no one has come to me and they seem to be happy. I think they're excited to compete. I'm going to support them, see how this whole thing ends up."

Andersen was asked during his news conference about the perception he wanted to bring in "his guy" at quarterback in this recruiting class.

"They're all my guys," he said. "When I talk about it, one of the first things I said in my interview, every one of these kids (is) my kid. There are only 22 starters. That doesn't matter to me. I'm much more worried about how they're carrying themselves and succeeding off the field than they are on the field.

"We just want to create competition. (McEvoy) brings an added dimension to the quarterback position with his ability to be able to run. That is a positive. Does that mean he's a starting quarterback? No. The best guy will be whoever performs and leads the team the best way."

More to come?

After signing day, the position where the Badgers probably need the most help is at wide receiver.

Andersen wouldn't rule out signing more players and said earlier in the day it could be a wide receiver.

"Not completely done yet," he said at his news conference. "There are still possibilities for young men to join the program as we move forward, but we will not take anybody that we don't see as a difference-maker in our program at this point. So we'll be patient.

"When that happens, it happens. We'll keep recruiting every single day, not just through 2014, but to finish off the 2013 class and move forward."

— Andy Baggot contributed to this report.

Copyright 2015 madison.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(2) Comments

  1. seered
    Report Abuse
    seered - February 07, 2013 6:47 pm
    Yes GA it is time, overdue , to hire a WR coach.....make sure it is a good hire because it is THE MOST IMPORTANT hire you need to make......we have too many guys who dont know what the heck they are doing at the position, what 12-14 guys who have done nothing the past couple years. The new guy better be ready to whip those guys into shape and get some guys to step up!!
    I hope GA hasnt waited too long, many good coaches have been hired etc by now.
  2. execinn
    Report Abuse
    execinn - February 07, 2013 11:23 am
    I hear there is a pretty good wide receiver that just retired from playing in GB, might want to coach?
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