Wisconsin's coaching staff will have a very different look during the 2012 season.
New Pittsburgh head coach Paul Chryst, the former Badgers offensive coordinator, on Saturday announced the hiring of six staff members, including three assistants he'd bring with him from Madison.
Wisconsin offensive line coach Bob Bostad is now Pitt's offensive coordinator/offensive line coach
Wisconsin linebackers coach Dave Huxtable is now Pitt's defensive coordinator
Wisconsin tight ends coach Joe Rudolph is now Pitt's quarterbacks coach/assistant head coach
All four Wisconsin departures are significant. Chryst is one of the nation's best playcallers. Bostad is arguably the nation's best offensive line coach. Huxtable did a terrific job with the Wisconsin linebackers in the lone season he spent in Madison. And Rudolph has been Wisconsin's top recruiter and one of the Big Ten's best.
All four men left for loftier titles with Pitt. Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema had promoted Rudolph from tight ends coach to fill Bostad's role with the offensive line, but it didn't appear Rudolph would get a coordinator role with the Badgers. Plus, he's from Western Pennsylvania.
Bielema now must replace five assistant coaches -- receivers coach DelVaughn Alexander left for Arizona State earlier this week. He undoubtedly had to prepare for the day Chryst would land a head-coaching job, but I doubt he expected to lose such a big chunk of his staff. Rudolph's departure is particularly damaging because of his recruiting ability.
As one of my chatters pointed out Friday, we're going to learn a lot about Bielema and the Wisconsin program in 2012. Bielema has made some good assistant hirings in the past, and now he'll be put to the test.