We’ve heard Bret Bielema’s explanation for Mike Markuson’s dismissal, now let’s hear from the former Wisconsin offensive line coach himself. In an interview with SiriusXM College Sports Nation Monday night, Markuson talked of being blind-sided by the Badgers’ decision to fire him, and also discussed quarterback Danny O’Brien’s potential.
“[Bret Bielema] brought me into his office Sunday afternoon after a staff meeting and basically told me he was making a change,” Markuson said. “We had talked a few times before about certain things [but] it was a surprise for me…
“I really thought we were making good progress,” Markuson added. “In light of what has transpired I still believe what I was teaching is the right thing to do. Obviously it didn’t fit into what they wanted at Wisconsin.”
In two games with Markuson’s scheme, a departure from the one taught by former O-line guru Bob Bostad, the Badgers saw their running production fall way off from last season and also saw their pass protection disappear. The lack of pass blocking seems to have affected Danny O’Brien’s progress in the offense. On the quarterback Markuson said, “He has done some good things and he has done some bad things. He is learning the position. I think the kid is going to be a very good quarterback but there’s still a learning curve out there for him. People have got to be patient with him. He does have some tools.”
As for Markuson’s replacement Bart Miller? The former Badger O-line coach has nothing but nice things to say about the new Badger O-line coach, who is expected to now re-implement Bob Bostad’s old blocking scheme. “He is very familiar with [Bostad's] terminology and the way he likes to do things,” Markuson said. “I think moving forward that is what they want to do. He’ll be good. He is a good young kid. He’ll do a good job for them.”
If you were looking for public bitterness from Markuson, forget about it. He has been nothing but gracious in his exit. Underneath he must be seething about the way things worked out though. He must be wondering, like a lot of us are, why the heck he was ever hired by Wisconsin in the first place.