Bret Bielema: I hired him because of his creativity

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Sunday December 02, 2012

Posted by: Chris Vannini on December 2, 2012

Wisconsin came into the Big Ten Championship Game ranked No. 84 in total offense and No. 73 in scoring offense (27.5 points per game). The championship changed that.

The Badgers put up 640 total yards in a 70-31 win over Nebraska.

Wisconsin used a myriad of formations, yet only threw 10 passes - and only eight of those came from a quarterback. A receiver and running back each passed for a touchdown, and Bret Bielema gave the credit for the success to offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Matt Canada.

"Matt kept talking about having an indoor game, being able to execute certain things," Bielema said. "There were probably a couple we haven't used yet either that will remain a little secret.  (Running back James White) really wanted to be recruited as a quarterback all year long and finally had that opportunity to show up out there today and just a lot of different things.

"But our kids have a little bit of fun with it, but it was still the meat and potatoes that got us where we were."

Bielema lost six assistant coaches in the offseason, and while the Badgers finished 7-5, they did lose three of three of their final four regular season games in overtime. The creativity in the Wisconsin offense on Saturday was what Bielema hired.

"The reason I hired him, I've been impressed with his creativity ever since I've known him," Bielema said of Canada. "You've got to understand now, I lost six coaches out of nine, four on offense.  To put that room together and to grind it out the way we have all year in unwavering faith, it's a group of guys that take a lot of pride in how they work and how they coach our players.

"I lost some coaches that our players really liked.  Any time you have that when you're dealing with a young man as great as the kids are, there is always apprehension that's as good as the guy before you. I've done that in my coaching career when I've gone on to different jobs and replaced coaches that are very popular and win our kids over.

"Guys have had to feel comfortable. I give a lot of credit to Matt Canada, but all of my offensive coaches overall."


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Chris Vannini is the lead writer for and has covered Michigan State sports for The State News, The Oakland Press and He writes a weekly column for the Detroit Free Press on behalf of SB Nation. Vannini lives in Big Ten country, so his foot speed is far from SEC caliber, but his pulse on coaches is hard to match. Be sure to follow @CoachingBuzz on twitter and send your feedback to

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to

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