CC: Gary Andersen - Jerry Kill with Some Upside & No Health Issues

Submitted by alum96 on November 12th, 2014 at 7:49 AM

If you are just now getting into the CC sweepstakes and are interested in candidates the board has spoken of often please see writeups over the past 6 weeks of Mullen, Graham, Patterson, Mark Stoops, Harbaugh, Butch Jones - and retrospective analysis of how Strong & Franklin would have stacked up as candidates.


There is a post in the main MGo board about last resort type coaches i.e. what happens if Harbaugh, Miles, Mullen (Bob Stoops*) are no go's.  (and Patterson, and Graham are not candidates or moving)  One name under the radar and never mentioned while right under our nose is Gary Andersen.  Brian has mentioned in various podcasts that Jerry Kill would be a reasonable candidate if not for health issues - while that Minnesota offense would put me in a coma I can understand his reasoning from a "sets a reasonable floor" perspective.  But Andersen has a similar resume, more offensive upside (at least wants to pass when has the tools), no health issues, and no Bert Bielemna karma issues.  

Let me be clear - this is not option A or B but in a world where a relatively unproven Mark Stoops, or Butch Jones - who has done little at TN - are fallback options I think Gary Andersen should be in the conversation if top options fall through.  I'd also put Cutcliffe from Duke in this tier but he is 61, rebuffed TN a few years back (a similar job to UM), has been in the south for 2 decades, and has zilch Midwest exposure.


Coaching candidate.... Gary Andersen, age: 50

Summary:  Gary Andersen is currently head coach of Wisconsin, a successful program in the Big 10 West after a 4 year run at Utah State.   Prior to that he was a defensive coordinator for the excellent Kyle Whittingham at Utah, and even served 1 year under Urban at that same school as a DL coach.  So he has had exposure to one of the top 5 coaches in the nation in Urban and one of the top 20 coaches in the nation in Whittingham (who himself would be an excellent CC if he could be extracted out of Utah).  Also I'd offer that getting Alvarez's stamp of approval means something as he found a top notch successor in Bielema - something Carr could not do - within his own coaching tree, and then identified Andersen as a fit for Wisconsin. 

Now we must throw the "David Shaw effect" out here.  Whatever you think of Big Bert as a person he was a pretty darn solid football coach and usually a successful coach leaves enough raw material to get the next coach through 2 years.  And Andersen is finishing up year 2.  So a devil's advocate would offer that it is difficult to judge what is Andersen and what is Big Bert.  I'll make the argument below that was very true for year 1 at Wisconsin but Andersen has done some very good things in year 2 with massive attrition.

Andersen did not have Midwest exposure prior to being hired at Wisconsin but is obviously getting it now - so in a way Wiscy did some of the work for us if we were indeed to go and steal this guy.   Still it is not a homerun recruiting guy in the areas of OH and PA like say Mark Stoops, and I'd prefer someone who has southern exposure as talent in the south is increasingly important. 

Andersen is "cheap" by modern big boy football standards - he just received a raise from $1.9M to $2.2M.  His resume was not much different than Hoke's when he was hired, showing how that was a really over inflated contract (Helfrich at Oregon makes similar dough but was not a HC anywhere like Andersen was).  So Michigan could effectively double Andersen's salary and not increase their budget for a HC.

Recruiting? It is difficult to judge him because of a short stint at Wisconsin and judging recruiting at Utah State is useless.  But let's just say the level of where Wisconsin recruits relative to their results is essentially the complete inverse of UM football the past 7 years.  Bielema's last few classes were in the 40s to 60th.  Andersen's last class was in the 30s.  The talent (on paper) at Michigan and ability to get in front of much higher level prospects would be a boon to a guy like this.... or frankly all but 15 coaches in the nation.

One other benefit of Gary Andersen - and one I found in the James Franklin analysis - is a potential star defensive coordinator.  James Franklin had an offensive background but when I did his coaching diary (to see how he would have been evaluated 11 months ago) I was surprised to see Vanderbilt was a success on defense not offense.  That has carried through to this year's Penn State - their D is ... along with Wisconsin's... the 2 best in the Big 10 by almost every advanced metric (MSU is there as well except for giving up explosive plays).   Andersen has a similar star DC named Dave Aranda who has been with Andersen the past 3 years.  Aranda is 38 years old and I'd assume a mid major will be calling his name very soon with his success - especially this year - with a Wisconsin defense that suffered major attrition thru graduation and then injury.  But if he could come here for a year or two it would be great.   In fact the national media is picking up on the Aranda star, here is a story from this week.   One major change for Michigan is Aranda runs a 3-4 system which I could argue might fit UM ok since our DE recruiting/depth is a major issue right now.   (Next year we have Charlton, Mario O and a whole lot of unproven behind them)


Recent (10 years) coaching background

  • 2004: DL at Utah
  • 2005-2008:  DC at Utah
  • 2009-2012:  HC at Utah State
  • 2013-present:  HC at Wisconsin

Analysis:  Unlike his boss at Utah, Andersen is willing to move to get promotions.  He has a typical progression of 3-4 years at position A before going for a higher level job.  Nothing wrong with that in my book.  As written earlier I like that he has been part of staffs for 2 very sound coaches - Urban Meyer and Kyle Whittingham. 



Caveat for results ----> (a) nothing exists in a vacuum (b) as a coordinator you can benefit or be penalized if your HC is good or bad or average (c) injuries or graduation can change your results dramatically in any 1 year.  This is the type of stuff you'd research as an AD staff on every potential candidate.

I will break down his results at 3 time frames - DC at Utah, HC at Utah State, HC at Wisconsin.

(1) DC at Utah

Andersen had a 1 year stint as a DL coach for Urban Meyer in his 2nd year (13-0) at Utah.  When Urban left, Whittingham went up to HC and promoted Andersen to DC where he spent 4 years.  Below is a table showing Utah's defensive statistics using the NCAA's total defense metric (which is just a simple ranking on yards given up per game), and then Football Outsider's FEI and S&P+ metrics which I like a lot more.  I compared this data to Urban's undefeated 2004 squad.  (please note FEI stats begin in 2007 and S&P+ in 2005)

  W/L Tot Def dFEI dS&P+
2004 12-0 39 * *
2005 7-5 59 * 56
2006 8-5 43 * 58
2007 9-4 18 12 16
2008 13-0 11 10 9

So we like what we see here.  This is a first time DL coach who was promoted to DC and had some decent if not eye popping figures in year 1 and 2 of his reign.  Years 3 and 4 were VERY impressive with top 20 readings across the board.  FEI and S&P+ adjust for opposition - which in the Mountain West won't be the greatest - and Utah's defensive stats still looked excellent in 07/08.


(2) HC at Utah State

Utah State looked at big brother Utah, and made an easy pick for their next head coach in 2009.  Below are the basic total offense/total defense stats for these years (which again are nothing but average yardage outputs per game) along with the advanced FEI/S&P+ stats as compared to the prior year (2008). 

Please note - defensize whiz Aranda arrived in 2012.

  W/L Tot Off oFEI oS&P+   Tot Def dFEI dS&P+
2008 3-9 84 104 91   99 93 102
2009 4-8 12 77 59   113 113 114
2010 5-7 84 75 85   100 105 77
2011 8-5 20 27 36   50 70 70
2012 12-1 21 63 30   14 14 10

Anderson inherited a poopy team, that sucked at everything.  The one strange item early is the 2009 "total offense" figure (#12) which doesnt seem to fit with the FEI and S&P+ stats - could be an error in the database.  We'll ignore that. 

What trends do we see?  The thing I say in almost every CC - a very good to elite coach makes his marks by year 3 & 4 - it doesn't take 5 years.  You see that time after time after time.  (which is why we are unfairly judging Mark Stoops in year 2 at UK)  The offense and defense sucked in Anderson's first 2 years but made significant strides in years 3-4.  The defense turned elite in year 4 with the help of Aranda's arrival.   And you had a 12-1 record, and a call from Alvarez in response.  You can't ask for much more at a mid major. 

Let's take a closer look at each year for some significant moments.

2009 - Utah State played in the WAC which at the time Boise State was running.  The only other 2 teams of any value in conference in 09 were Nevada and Fresno State. Utah State also played Utah and BYU that year along with a mediocre 6-7 Texas A&M.  So those are the games we'll look at, again with the caveat this is year 1 and he inherited a crap team.

@Utah and @BYU were twin 35-17 losses, @A&M was a 38-30 loss (not bad at all).  They hosted 7-1 in conf Nevada and only lost by a FG, and lost by 4 at 6-2 in conf Fresno State.  That is not bad for a team that finished 3-5 in the conf.  They got trucked by 14-0 Boise 52-21, no shock there.  It was a "it is what it is" year.


2010 - Utah State didnt advance much as the stats above show and their record was 2-6 in the conference.  This was the year Nevada went 13-1 (7-1) to join Boise (12-1) as mid major powers nationally.  Hawaii at 7-1 in conference was the third best team so we'll look at those 3 games along with 2 non conf matchups with 7-6 BYU and 12-2 and eventual #6 Oklahoma.

Utah State put up a hell of a fight for a cupcake vs Oklahoma, only losing 31-24.  Again this was a 12-2 squad, on the road.  The Aggies hosted a mediocre BYU and beat them 31-16.  Utah St then got trucked by Hawaii 41-7, lost a pretty close one 56-42 to Nevada (who finished #11 that year) and got trucked again by Boise State 50-14.  There were some other bad losse that year such as 28-6 to Idaho, and 41-7 to some coach named Brady Hoke at SDSU. 

So at this point in time while there were some moral victories such as keeping it close with Oklahoma not much stood out in Anderson's first 2 years.  As his advanced metrics would support.


2011 - Things started to come together in year 3.  While the overall record was 7-6, Utah State moved from the bottom of the conference to the top few with a 5-2 in conf record. Boise State had exited the WAC so the Aggies main competition was LA Tech (6-1 in conf) and Nevada (5-2 in conf)  Being Utah State they were a baby seal for Auburn and continued their annual tilt with BYU.  They did get to a bowl which they lost to a 10-4 Frank Solich Ohio 24-23.  A quick look at the other 4 games vs decent competion:

Utah State again put up a good fight vs a decent opponent in Auburn but it was not elite Auburn, this was 8-5 Auburn.  Still its SEC athletes vs a bunch of guys from Idaho, Nevada and Utah and not even the top guys from Utah (who go play at BYU and Utah).  Utah State lost 42-38 in the type of game that causes guys like Chizik to lose their job down there.  The Agges lost 27-24 to eventual #25 10-3 BYU.  In conference they lost by a TD hosting LA Tech (24-17) and beat Nevada by 4 (21-17).  So they split with the 2 other good teams in the conference.   A lot of their wins were NOT very impressive that year - a lot of close wins by 3-7 pts vs bad teams in their conference.  

So the record was decent - they gave a blue blood a scare - they split with the top 2 teams in the conf but their wins were not big blowouts or anything like you'd see from a Kyle Whittingham or Gary Patterson team in their heydey in the Mountain West.  I would consider it an average year.


2012 - Utah State made a big surge, finishing #16 in the country with a 11-2 (6-0) record.  While the defense had improved in 2011, Aranda arrived and took it to a new level.   The offense was about the same level as 2011.  The WAC was losing members so hence only 6 conference games - by this time San Jose State who finished #21 also at 11-2 (5-1) and LA Tech (9-3/4-2) were the only 2 teams of value in the conf. 

Due to this Utah played a lot of out of conf games including 1 - foreshadowing - versus Wisconsin.  I would assume this is where Alvarez got a close look at Andersen and liked what he saw.  The Aggies also played Utah who at this time had begun year 1 in the Pac 12 and BYU. 

Wisconsin was a 16-14 loss; I am sure the Badgers didn't expect a competent team to show up when this was scheduled.   Andersen beat his old boss Whittingham in OT 27-20, and the Aggies lost 6-3 in a Big 10 quality game to BYU.  So Utah State had 2 losses that year by a grand total of 5 pts to BYU and Wisconsin.  San Jose State was beaten 49-27 in SJSU's stadium and LA Tech was beaten in OT 48-41 in LA.  So those were the 4 key games of the year.  An impressive year, that really was a few points way from making Utah State a 1 year national wonder.


(3) HC at Wisconsin

Andersen took over a solid Wisconsin program and maintained it in year 1.  So he was basically David Shaw last year.  But there was a lot of attrition in year 2 and I am impressed with what he is doing - they have a big match vs Nebraska this week and yes we have to adjust for strength of schedule of the BIG TEEEEEEN but fergodsakes Michigan also plays in this conference and looks lost.  I will go through the attrition a bit later and how Wisconsin has rebounded but first to the stats thru 9 games of year 2 vs Big Bert's last year.

  W/L Tot Off oFEI oS&P+   Tot Def dFEI dS&P+
2012 8-5 65 30 26   15 12 16
2013 9-4 18 31 24   7 13 10
2014 7-2 24 48 19   1 13 9

Advanced stats show excellence in Big Bert's last year and continued excellence with the new staff.  FEI and S&P+ mean more to me than total defense - these have held consistent at elite levels.

The number that will pop out to you is Wisconsin's #1 defense in the country in 2014 per the NCAA "total defense" measure.  Again that does nothing more than measure total yards per game.  Which if you have a good defense and play in the Big 10 and avoid OSU and MSU and Nebraska (thus far) - is achievable I suppose.   This is why I am avoiding total defense and total offense and moving to advanced stats - currently the Big 10 has 7 of the top 21 defense in the country if you believe in total defense (Michigan is #7)That's a crock.  It's the benefit of playing a host of awful 1982 style offenses led by awful QBs in conf along with a lot of MAC teams OOC. 

But when we look at the advanced stats (FEI, S&P+) which adjust quite a it for blowouts and strength of opponent SOS Wisconsin still has an impressive defense that is right up there with PSU for tops in the conference.  That sounds about right - we'll see how Wisconsin deals with Nebraska's prolific offense this week.

Bigger picture this is important to note.  Wisconsin's defense suffered major losses this year from last year's excellent squad.  It plays a 3-4 and lost all 4 starting LBs including all world Chris Borland.  In the 2 deep of its defensive line it lost 4 of the 6 players.  And then those 2 who did return, got hurt vs LSU!  They have just returned in the past 2 weeks - so essentially Andersen and Aranda have been playing with an entirely rebuilt front 7 since the 2nd half of the LSU game.  And their back 4 also had some graduations.  Which is why I hate the injury/youth excuses I hear at UM - but I digress.  This is a solid defense full of 3 star recruits lacking elite playmakers but is coached up - exactly what UM needs.  So this is why I am thinking Andersen is not just David Shaw 2.0 and living off Big Bert. 

The offense - while returrning a great runner and a very good OL - also lost its top/only WR (Abbrederis - 78 catches!) and its top TE (Peterson - 39 catches).  RB James White was their 3rd leading WR last year with 39 catches and also graduated.  So its top 3 returning catch leaders all graduated.  Their offense has been 1 dimensional with a converted S playing QB early this year (McEvoy), and now splitting time with Stave.  But with all that lost and that hinderance at QB they still are rolling 30-50 pts versus the crap teams of the Big 10.  Hell so does Minnesota some weeks - which makes what PSU and UM and NW do offensively more shameful.

Speaking of NW- they upset Wisconsin.  I didnt look closely at the game but i assume some pick 6 and some weird things happened.  That stuff happens once a year, ask Lloyd Carr 9 out of 10 years.   I am not going to break down Wiscy game after game these  past 2 years - most people are familiar with them and frankly their 2014 schedule is backloaded with Neb, Iowa, and Minn so we'll know better what they are this year by Thanksgiving.  But I think they could go 3-0 in that group.

Common opponents - they beat Rutgers 37-0, Maryland 52-7, lost to NW 20-14 in the WTF game of the year in the conf.   They lost to LSU early in a game they were leading huge - they went away from Gordon, had no passing game and both their starting D tackles got injured which LSU (a very young offense) took advantage of dominate the 2nd half.

2013 for Wisconsin was a typical "Lloyd Carr-ish" year, 9-4 with some WTF moments such the end of the game situation on the road at Arizona State and somehow losing to PSU at home to end the year.  They lost by a touchdown in Columbus.  And then lost by 10 to a very good 11-2 South Carolina team in the Citrus Bowl.


Who is Gary Andersen?  I keep referencing Lloyd in these comments because the further I dig the more I "feel" Carr here.  A guy who will set a floor under the program at 8-9 wins (much like Kill probably would do).  With some double digit year wins.  A guy who will have our team organized and looking like a match to the talent.  A guy who can be competitive with Dantonio and at least give Urban something to worry about on an annual basis.  Maybe he has more upside from there - I don't know.   But if you cannot get the truly elite guys here, I'd be a lot more comfortable with Andersen as a proven HC product then an unproven coordinator or a guy like Butch Jones. 

Pointing to 2015 I'd also offer that Andersen would help make that season not be potentially ugly.  Yes we dont have the hogs Wisconsin has in the OL nor an elite RB like Gordon but considering his LOL situation at QB this year and UM's parallel LOL situation at QB as we enter 2015, he is at least a coach who has had to deal with being 1 dimensional and finding a way to make it work.  And our defense would have a young hungry coordinator who has been a massive success the past 3 years.  I would expect Aranda to only last 2 or so years here before he gets called away to coach a Tulsa or Cincinnati type program.

Andersen is affordable, safe, relatively proven, familiar with the Big 10 footprint in recruiting, a developer of talent, smash mouthy, defensive oriented, and seems like one of those "good guys" from what I can best tell from anecdotal stories from the interwebz.  He strikes me as Lloyd Carr 2.0 - which for a "don't break open unless emergency" would be a fine option.



November 12th, 2014 at 9:05 AM ^

wrt APR and graduation rates, I believe this needs to be examined for all CC candiates. Since the president is on record this way, no point in selecting a coach who can't get his recruits admitted. [See Demar Dorsey] 

A quick look at Utah State shows that its APR hasn't been so good. It was 912 in 2004 (1st year in online database.)  Now, it has improved through 2012, to  a current high of 988.  The average during Anderson's tenure is 965.  

As a school, Utah State is much less selective, accepting 97% of applicants. Minimum SAT scores are about 150 points lower than Michigan

He only has 1 full season at Wisconsin, so hard to judge that. Wisconsin is harder to get into than Utah State, but is still easier than Michigan.  











November 12th, 2014 at 9:25 AM ^

So I have to throw some input in here. As my name would suggest, I am a Utah State Aggie. In Logan, we heart GA. He resurrected a perenially crappy program and turned in some incredible performances against stout competition. He brought us to 2 straight bowl games (won 1, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, which is like... yeah) which hadn't been done since I was following football. 

For the Auburn baby seal stuff, though, USU led that game and *should* have won it. At Auburn. The defending national champs. But then some crazy shit happened in the last few minutes, and they gave it away. I'll link it quick- Basically, uber-conservative playcalling on the final drive (the fake fg was a nice surprise, but our fg kicker couldn't hit the broad side of a barn so it wasn't totally out of the realm of realistic possibility) and awful onside kick defense gave that game to Auburn. Oh well. 

But, I would give a lot of support for GA. I think the main issue is he probably wouldn't move after only 2 years at UW. It was actually surprising for him to leave Logan after a couple consecutive successful years that the university hadn't seen in forever. 

Nice write up! 


November 12th, 2014 at 10:57 AM ^

Thanks for the local intel.  That's one of my fav things about writing these is we hear from people local to the action which is obviously different than writing from afar - we had a lot of interesting comments on both Graham and Mullen that way too.  It seems people closer to the action have a far more positive view on most every candidate than we do from afar - because we are all looking for a perfect unicorn.


November 12th, 2014 at 5:10 PM ^

Yup. With the JH or bust attitude, it's going to be tough to satiate anyone's unicorn appetite. But I'd hitch my wagon to GA. He seemed like the type of guy who would always say the right things, not a big foot-in-mouther. The way he left was really surprising, though. He'd been swearing up and down that he was a "Logan lifer" but then Barry Alvarez called and everyone found out like past midnight. The respectable thing he did, though, was to call each of his players, including the non-scholarship ones, to let them know what he was doing. He really didn't have a lot of people follow him to Wisconsin. A couple previous players are current assistant coaches, and I've heard rumors about Chuckie Keaton getting a grad year transfer granted to play his final year at UW (he tore his ACL for the second consecutive year). So, that could be something to watch for at least next year in Madison. He's a player at qb.


November 12th, 2014 at 12:58 PM ^

I used to cover a team that played USU every year and was very impressed with Anderson. Although he doesn't run a unique system, he reminds me of a football John Beilein.  He did more with less than any coach I can remember.  I would have considered him a candidate for the Michigan job if he was still at USU, but it might be very difficult to poach him from Wiscy.  

Then again, Wiscy already sees Michigan as a rivalry game: poaching GA would definitely give them an actual reason to hate Michigan so much.   I was quite disappointed when Wiscy hired him because I thought he was a major step up from Bielema.

If what I am going to consider the "Big Three of Harbaugh, Harbaugh and Mullen all turned Michigan down, I would be quite happy to see Anderson end up with the job.


November 12th, 2014 at 5:14 PM ^

One of his "less" staples seems to be the Poly's. Guys like Sione Houma and Bryan Mone were considering USU when Gary was here because of his success with them, and he could really coach up a lot of local Utah talent (Utah is decidedly NOT a hotbed of prep football talent). Agreed, though. I'd be completely satisfied with a guy like GA at the head coach. His defenses feature a couple big pluggers and hyperactive linebackers. He actually produced 3 NFL draft pick running backs- Robert Turbin (who's backing up Beastmode right now), Kerwynn Williams (practice squad, but hey!), and Michael Smith (got to sniff a few snaps in Tampa Bay). He can recruit some of the underrecruited guys, a really good John Beilein parallel.


November 12th, 2014 at 9:43 AM ^

On the contrary this was very informative... even if it is a long shot for him to leave Wisc, after only 2 years.  We got a lot of info about a B1G coach and more insight on what we want in Hoke's successor.  IMHO Anderson has the potential to be much more than Carr 2.0.  He ran a wide open offense at Utah State and I expect that we will see some of that once he has his on QB recruits ready.  Long shot it may be, but I would take him if the obvious top candidates**  fall through.

** JH &  Mullen


November 12th, 2014 at 10:54 AM ^

You mean like give him a 90% raise ?  Which would only put him to Hoke's salary.

Dantonio was making $2M a year ago at this time too.  There are some stupid salaries out there and Hoke's was among the stupidest. 

And no Wisconsin is not a better freaking job than Michigan.  I am not a slappy who says there are only 3 jobs better than UM.  There are probably 12 or so right now including OSU.  But Wisconsin is not one.  They are a better program than Michigan.  Just like Michigan was a better program than Alabama 10 years ago.  Doesnt make it a better job.  


November 12th, 2014 at 11:26 AM ^

Madison is a nice place to live, UW is the only major program in the state (lessens competition for recruiting in-state students), Chicago and Milwaukee aren't that far away if you want to take in a big city, their only competition in the western division is Nebraska, meanwhile, Michigan's competition includes the two powerhouses in the Big Ten right now. UW has been to the Rose Bowl 3 of the past 4 years. Nevermind that they lost all three, at least they were close games and they made it there. They even have a fun-loving mascot (/s), good fan support and a great marching band. If you like beer, brats, and cheese - and who doesn't - what's not to like? Taking off my maize colored Michigan homer glasses, other than salary, UW is a better job now and has been for at least the past 5 years.


November 12th, 2014 at 12:02 PM ^

Sorry I just cant get behind any analysis that says Wisconsin is a better job than Michigan.  Where a team is today is not an indication on how good of a job it is.  You rattled off all these things about lack of competition and proximity to Chicago yet Wisconsin recruits in the 30 in their best years all the way down to the 60s in their worst years.  UM's worst years are 20s and best years are top 5.  Without all the "advantages" Madison has to offer.  Wisconsin has 15-20 years of relevant history. 

Looking at the prestige of job is not looking at the past 5 years.  If you did it that way Alabama  in the Mike Shula era was not a top 50 job.  It always was a top 10 job - sometimes badly filled.  Just like UM is a top 15 team.

By the way I am being negative saying top 15 job - Athalon did a piece this spring ranking all 128 jobs and UM was 10th in their view.  Wisconsin was 24.…

Within the context of the Big 10, OSU is the only job that I'd consider a clear better job than UM due to owning a talent rich state and being the only game in town and less fervor in their academic rigor.   If you want to argue Nebraska or Penn State vs Michigan we can have a debate. 

Wisconsin?  In the word's of Brian - cumong man.

Jobs clearly ahead of UM are Bama, Georgia, USC, OSU, Oklahoma, Texas, FSU, Florida, Auburn, Notre Dame, maybe LSU now, maybe A&M now.

Jobs in the same realm are Nebraska, PSU, UCLA, Oregon, Miami FL, Clemson, Tennessee.  I might have missed 1-2 in this - but that's the landscape. 

Wisconsin is in the realm of the Oklahoma States, North Carolinas, VATechs, and Michigan States. 


November 12th, 2014 at 8:41 PM ^

Now you are posing a different question - would Anderson prefer to stay in Madison?  That might be a 100% yes.  But your original statement was Wisconsin is a better job.  Sometimes people stay at slightly worse job (and Wisconsin is not 10 steps behind UM nowaday, its just a small step behind) because they enjoy it, familiarity, less pressure etc. 

Would he leave Wisconsin is very different question/comment then Wisconsin is a better job.  Madison and AA are actually both considering very nice locales who both are always ranked well in "medium city" rankings.  He can win there, he will never face the pressure of UM, his personality may be suited better there, etc.  All valid in terms of questioning whether he'd move.  My comment was more that the UM job is higher up the food chain than Wisconsin.  But it isn't for everyone.  And what might be a job he'd be interested in 3 years might not be one he is interested in today being at Wiscy only 2 years, etc.


November 12th, 2014 at 8:43 PM ^

I am not basing it on 15-20 years ago.  There is nothing out there to indicate UM is below UCLA, Nebraska, PSU, Miami FL etc as a job nowadays.  That was the peer group I listed mostly due to the conference being very bad, and the recruiting base turning into a basketball footprint over a football footprint.  15-20 years ago  I'd have the UM job ranked higher i.e. 7th or 8th in the country.   Other than OSU who is as close to a SEC school as you can find up here, with a fanbase totally united behind 1 school and more feverish then ours I am penalizing every Midwest job relative to its southern counterpart.  Schools like A&M and LSU 15-20 years ago were not to 10-12ish.  They are now. 


November 12th, 2014 at 11:20 PM ^

There is current season record.

There is also won-lost record over the last decade.

I would flip that argument to say there is nothing that indicates Michigan is better than those other jobs, but the obvious counter to that is current coaching salary.  The list isn't very long affter that though, and given the millions Hoke and Brandon will get next year to not work for Michigan, I wouldn't assume the next coach will necessarily get more than Franklin, Pelini, etc.


November 12th, 2014 at 5:54 PM ^

I think your view of program prestige is overall accurate.

But you have to take into account these are human beings with families.  I don't know if Gary Anderson has seen the pictures of Rich Rodriguez's son crying or knows who the hell Michael Rosenburg is, but those are indicators of a bigger question that a potential coach is going to have to consider -->  How easy will it be to turn this program around?

You can go back to 1950s or 1980s or whenever you want, but it doesn't necessarily reflect today's reality.

Today's reality at Michigan is media hostility and fan impatience.  No matter HOW prestigious the Michigan job is, a potential coach will have to weigh that into the picture.

You say that Florida is clearly ahead of Michigan but 15-20 years ago, nobody would have said that. It's highly disputable that Michigan is on par with Oregon.  In 15-20 years Northwestern may be a better job than Michigan.  These things have inertia, but they do change.

FWIW, I would put Wisconsin over Nebraska or PSU or MSU.  Better quality of life and fewer disadvantages to overcome.  Easier to maintain their success and identity than those other programs.


November 16th, 2014 at 7:00 PM ^

How is Wisconsin NOT a better job right now. 

1) Program stability: Wisconsin has had 3 coaches since 1990 and the last two have been to multiple Rose Bowls. Alvarez was considered one of the best in the country, and if it wasn't for Lloyd Carr, he'd probably have had more than just Rose Bowl wins (we owned him while everyone else in the B1G struggled against Barry). 

2) Consistency: Over those three coaches, Wisconsin has relied on a very stable formula of strong offensive line play, running backs who can follow blocks, and consistent defense. As long as their quarterback play was better than a dead stiff, they were a 9 to 10 win team and always in the hunt for a conference championship. Again, this is more than Michigan can say over the past decade.

3) Expectations vs. Reality: This is part of the quality of a job. Michigan fans have become delusional over what can be done. Tantilized by a football past and reality that no longer exists, we expect to run over the B1G every year like Bo did. But we don't have unlimited scholarships, the state and it's football talent is in decline, MSU has risen, as has Wisconsin, and Ohio State will almost always be good because they are the only show in a state that is football rich, even in a declining rust belt. Meanwhile, Wisconsin fans are a bit more realistic - which means an off year or two won't lead to everyone calling for your job, or laughing at you for clapping or not wearing a head set. 

4) Your athletic director is the football coach who built the damn program. Translation, yes, that's a lot to live up to, but he knows what it takes to make the football team successful. Other athletic directors can do a good job overall, but might not understand the specific support the coaching staff needs. Alvarez does, and seems to do it without interference. That's key! Meanwhile, Michigan continues to move through athletic directors with limited athletic experience, and eventually, the CEO as AD doesn't work, because they need to understand how athletics works internally. 

5) Madison is a great town, even in winter. It's not inferior to Wisconsin, and again, Wisconsin isn't a state in decline. I love Michigan, but Detroit has hit rock bottom. It might be approaching turn around status, but Wisconsin hasn't been hit like Michigan. Advantage Wisconsin.

When you start looking at it, the only advantage that Michigan provides over Wisconsin is alumni with deeper pockets and tradition, that anyone under 30 knows little about. Our last national title was 1997 - when I graduated from college. That was 17 years ago ... in today's world, that might as well have never occurred. 

Sorry, Gary Anderson, with no natural ties to Michigan would be making a lateral move into instabiltiy, whereas he has a prime program with stability and no reason to risk it. 



November 12th, 2014 at 5:25 PM ^

Is a dubious assertion, and Brian has said as much himself, even though he is firmly in the Big $/Michigan-superiority camp.

I find it extremely arrogant to assume that we can hire away head coaches at better football programs.  I say that as an arrogance-embracing Michigan man.'

Wisconsin IS a better job.  Their program is a well-oiled machine with a distinct identity, while Michigan is a rebuild job with a high degree of difficulty (expectations, adversarial media, etc.) Off the field,  other than academic prestige, there is very little Ann Arbor has to offer that Wisconsin can't match or exceed.


November 12th, 2014 at 10:04 PM ^

If Andersen is the real deal and M comes calling, then Wisconsin will match his salary.

It's absolute arrogance to think that we can poach a successful B1G coach, just like it's arrogance to assume we can poach a successful SEC coach. Those schools will always pay their coach (or find the rich booster to pay off the guy's house through a "non-profit".



November 12th, 2014 at 11:29 AM ^

Reply to #3:

Does that 150 point minimum SAT score difference apply to scholarship athletes?  I'm pretty sure that a high percentage of our football and basketball players got in with the very low bar NCAA standard for SATs.


November 12th, 2014 at 11:40 AM ^

But the president did say something in his remarks (don't have the exact quote) expressing a concern about admitting kids who can't do the work

He softened that some in the clarification he issued Tuesday

But it is an issue for admissions. Posters have asserted that the standards for football players to get into um are the same for any div 1 school cause of the NCAA clearinghouse

But that's not quite true. There are schools - mostly online I think - whet athletes can retake courses to get their grades up to meet clearinghouse requirements

Not all admissions offices view these schools the same. I think, but can't go back to check, that in the past issues like this kept one or more recruits from being admitted to um

I do know that the current um head of admissions has gone on record that he's very pleased with the students hoke is recruiting

The Victors

November 12th, 2014 at 11:34 AM ^

I currently live in Utah and have been here the past 6+ years. I will say that what Gary Andersen did at Utah State is EXTREMELY impressive. My wife went to Utah State from 2006-2009 and the football team was TERRIBLE. 2 wins per season against poor competition was the norm during her time there. The stadium would be fortunate to be 25% capacity. The only time it would reach that or higher is when they hosted BYU or Utah, in which at least half the attendance were visiting fans. It was always difficult for USU to compete against BYU and Utah because Utah and the Rocky Mountain region is not a football breeding ground and any of the good recruits go to Utah, BYU or out-of-state.

Fast forward to 2011/2012 and you have a team competing--and sometimes winning--against some top competition. What he did, in my opinion, would be somewhat similar to bringing EMU, CMU, or WMU up to Michigan or MSU's level and compete.

Like many lower-tier schools without rigorous academic standards, Andersen utilized JUCOs really well. I would not be thrilled if Michigan hired him as their next head football coach, as I believe Michigan can do better, but I also believe Andersen will be successful at Wisconsin. As alum96 said, he would be a high-floor candidate.

Sauce Castillo

November 12th, 2014 at 12:53 PM ^

Although I don't think this is a possibility since he's only been there 1 1/2 years and doesn't seem the type to move to abandon a program that quickly, I would still be all for this as long as he’s is bringing pretty much everyone from there.  Only people I’d like to keep from our current staff are Manning and Singletary for recruiting purposes.  I have always admired Wisconsin’s  schemes.


November 12th, 2014 at 2:33 PM ^

After the Badgers loss to Northwestern, local radio shows were wondering if they should fire GA now to avoid a tailspin like they see at Michigan. They didn't want him to be their Hoke.  

From what I hear from my relatives/friends is that they all think he is a great guy but the decisions he made during the LSU game, lack of M Gordon involvement in a few game strecthes leaves something to be desired. Some of them are waiting to judge him next year when he doesn't have Melvin Gordon to just hand the ball to and win by 35.


November 12th, 2014 at 3:04 PM ^

Aranda caught Anderson's eye by coming up with X's & O's that gave Nevada's Pistol run game fits. Was able to graft two-gap principles onto a one-gap defense to stymie the backside of a zone run without sacrificing on the front side. He's an excellent technician.


November 12th, 2014 at 5:14 PM ^

How much of it is what Anderson is doing at Wisco vs what Bielema had in place already though? 

On top of that, I know options are limited, but do we want another HC that seems to mimic Lloyd Carr in the latter half his career? 

I wouldn't be opposed to it if all other options were expired first though.


November 12th, 2014 at 6:34 PM ^

Good write up Alum 96. seems too new at Wisky to move. But I agree that great coaches only need 2-3 years to show results. I personally think there are great options at lower divisions but my guess is that people won't hear of that and don't want to take any chances at all. Which is too bad since I think a great hire is more likely to come from lower divisions .


November 13th, 2014 at 12:51 AM ^

Wisconsin has a very good offense and defense. The only problem Wisconsin had this year is QB issues. One QB is coming off a shoulder injury and the other one is a converted safety. Anderson seems to be getting that settled. They will pretty much be unstoppable the rest of the year. I look for them to run the table and give Ohio State all they can handle in the title game. What Anderson has done there is impressive. The offense has an efficient ground attack that is able to sustain long drives and score points. This combination also helps the defense immensely. It is rarely taxed by being on the field too long( by an inept offense that can't get first downs )and doesn't incur injuries as much. (Except the LSU game) The defense has been allowed, for the most part, to stay intact and get better.
This is the type of scheme I would like to see Michigan have. It is a good offense to run in the Big Ten.
It's probably unlikely they can get Anderson, but he would be my second or third choice after Harbaugh.


November 13th, 2014 at 9:35 AM ^

I live in northern Wisconsin and everyone here thinks the HC job at Wisconsin is better than the one at UofM.  And, they know Madison is a better place to live than Ann Arbor.  Of course, you first have to listen to them talk about the Packers before they will even address college football.  That's just the way it is.  A different perspective.


November 16th, 2014 at 2:00 PM ^


Great, just stinkin' great......

From SBNation today:

The future of Jim Harbaugh with the San Francisco 49ers looks a little dimmer today after Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported he two sides are likely headed for divorce.

"At this point it would be a surprise if Jim Harbaugh is back with the 49ers," Rapoport claimed on NFL GameDay Morning Sunday, adding that success the rest of the season would probably have little impact on the team's decision. This echoes earlier reports that not even a Super Bowl title could extend Harbaugh's tenure in San Francisco.And according to Rapoport, the Miami Dolphins, long rumored as a potential landing spot for Harbaugh, are no longer an option. Miami's recent success apparently has convinced ownership to keep head coach Joe Philbin around and, in any case, Harbaugh is "not on the Dolphins' radar." Moreover, Harbaugh's wife does not want to leave the Bay Area, limiting the number of locations he can consider.

Accordingly, Rapoport listed the Oakland Raiders as a "real possibility" for Harbaugh. Oakland will play at least the 2015 season at the Coliseum, erasing the need for Harbaugh's family to relocate. Tim Kawakami of Mercury News confirmed this, listing 49ers CEO Jed York's willingness to allow the moveand whether Mark Davis can find a suitable personnel executive as the main impediments to Harbaugh joining the Raiders.