Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

Looking forward to University of Wisconsin football season under Andersen

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Greg Peck
Friday, August 30, 2013

The Badger football team opens its season Saturday and is heavily favored over visiting Massachusetts. I have to admit, I'm really looking forward to new Badger coach Gary Andersen's debut. It's not just that my wife and I have tickets to the game. And, yes, we plan to attend despite likely sweltering heat rather than sit in some air-conditioned place and catch the broadcast.

I think Andersen will be a breath of fresh air compared to Athletic Director Barry Alvarez's last choice of head football coach, Bret Bielema. Bielema, as far as I'm concerned, wore out his welcome. Yes, he had a stellar record if you ignore his teams' stumbles in the Rose Bowl. But he seemed to make boneheaded decisions far too often.

Andersen impresses me as the sort of coach who really connects with players. That's probably why he succeeded at Utah State, where predecessors failed. Don't forget, Andersen's Aggies came into Camp Randall last fall and were a last-second missed field goal away from knocking off the Badgers.

Of course, I'm glad reports suggest Andersen will start Joel Stave at quarterback Saturday. Stave might not be as mobile as Curt Phillips, but Stave seemed to be coming into his own as a quarterback last season until that nasty sack by a Michigan State player put him out for the season. Stave is by far the better downfield threat as a passer. He can stretch the field and give what should be another good if not great Badger rushing game room to roam.

Remember, despite going to the Rose Bowl, the Badgers were only 4-4 in the Big Ten last season and finished 8-6 overall under Bielema (though, yes, Alvarez coached the Rose Bowl because Bielema was already on his way to Arkansas. The Razorbacks can have him). The Badgers might not return to Pasadena this year, but I expect a better record. What do you think?

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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