Bielema leaves Badgers for ArkansasWisconsin Sports
Bret Bielema will be introduced Wednesday as the new head coach of the University of Arkansas football team. According to various media reports, nobody at Madison saw it coming.
Bret Bielema will be introduced Wednesday as the new head coach of the University of Arkansas football team.
The Wisconsin coach was named Tuesday night to replace John L. Smith in what’s been a troubled Razorbacks’ program over the past year.
According to various media reports, nobody at Madison saw it coming. It was only last Friday when Bielema said he was excited about the upcoming bowl game and the players who are coming back next year.
Media accounts said Bielema had a long interview with Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long in New York on Monday night.
The coach informed his players about his departure in a short, emotional meeting Tuesday night – after the word got out that he was leaving.
In a statement released by Arkansas, Bielema said he was a perfect fit for the Arkansas program, and that he and Long appear to share the same principles, goals and mission.
Bielema went 68-24 in seven years at Madison. His teams appeared in bowl games in all seven of those seasons, including three straight Rose Bowls.
Former coach Barry Alvarez named Bielema as his successor before Alvarez became the UW’s athletic director. Now, there are reports that Alvarez might coach the Badgers in the January first Rose Bowl Game against Stanford. That’s not set yet.
Paul Chryst, who ran the Badger offense before leaving for Pittsburgh a year ago, is reportedly the top candidate to replace Bielema. But Chryst says he’s trying to “re-establish” the Panthers and get the team ready for its Compass Bowl game against Mississippi.
Bielema will try to pick up the pieces of an Arkansas program that went 4-8 this year, and was rocked earlier this year when former coach Bobby Petrino was fired for hiring his mistress to work in his program.
Starks out for season
Green Bay Packers’ running back James Starks could miss the rest of the season with a knee injury suffered in last Sunday’s home win over Minnesota. ESPN-Milwaukee said Starks did not tear an ACL ligament, but his right knee is hurt badly enough to sit out.
The report says Starks is at risk of becoming the 10th Packer on injured reserve. Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson hit Starks’ right knee on a one-yard run in the fourth quarter last Sunday.
The third-year pro limped off the field, but returned for three more carries. He ended the game with 66 yards on 15 carries, and scored the Packers’ first rushing touchdown in almost two months.
With Cedric Benson out, Starks and second-year pro Alex Green have been sharing the duties at running back.
Rusher DuJuan Harris was promoted from the team’s practice squad last weekend. It’s possible that fullback John Kuhn could get more carries.
The Packers also have running back Johnny White, but has not been cleared to return from a concussion suffered 10 days ago.
The Packers will start practicing Wednesday for their Sunday night home game against Detroit.
Green Bay leads the NFC North Division at 8-4 with a tie-breaker over Chicago which has the same record.
The Packers won’t have to deal with Chicago’s All-Pro linebacker Brian Urlacher during what could be their showdown for the NFC North title on Dec. 16.
The Chicago Tribune said Urlacher will miss at least the next three games, and he could be out for the season with a strained hamstring.
The Tribune said it’s possible that Urlacher could return for the Bears’ Dec. 30 game against Detroit. Urlacher says he hopes to be fully recovered in time for the playoffs in January.
He was injured during last Sunday’s Chicago home loss to Seattle. The 34-year-old Urlacher has two forced fumbles and an interception in 12 games this season.