Bielema defends self on score

Tuesday’s Big Ten football coaches teleconference brought plenty of questions about Wisconsin’s 83-20 win over Indiana on Saturday, about what constitutes running up the score and what the proper ethics are when a game gets out of hand.

And of course, Brett Bielema was asked to defend himself again.

The Wisconsin coach has been hearing it from everywhere this week, ever since Saturday’s game ended. He was grilled about it on ESPN radio and skewered by numerous columnists.

Bielema said again Tuesday he didn’t think the criticism was fair. He said that most of the criticism came from outsiders who “didn’t actually watched the game,” and charged that other programs don’t face the same scrutiny.

“The part that surprises me is when other schools around the country do that, nobody says anything,” Bielema said.

Bielema said running up the score was “nothing intentional.” A reporter pointed out that there was one play that seemed especially egregious, a third-and-5 when backup quarterback Jon Budmayr threw a deep bomb to freshman wide receiver Jared Abbrederis for a 74-yard touchdown that increased Wisconsin’s lead from 69-13 to 76-13.

“That’s my second-string quarterback,” Bielema said. “He’s one play away from being the starter. I’d do that again 100 times over. If you saw it it was a broken play.”

The justification many have provided for Bielema’s actions is the standings situation that Wisconsin finds itself in. The Badgers are currently in a three-way tie for first place in the Big Ten with Ohio State and Michigan State. If the tie remains, the highest ranked team in the Bowl Championship Series standings would get the Big Ten’s automatic berth in the BCS. That would mean a spot in the Rose Bowl, barring the substantial amount of chaos that would need to occur for one of the three to end up in the BCS National Championship game. Some have suggested that Bielema poured it on to impress voters in the coaches’ and Harris’ Polls.

“I know it’s coachspeak, but I really don’t think about anything other than the next game,” Bielema said. “It’s going to raise some eyebrows after what we did this week, but that never factored into what I was thinking at all.”

Indiana coach Bill Lynch continued to answer questions about Bielema’s decisions the same way as he did on Saturday.

“I didn’t have a problem with it,” Lynch said. “It’s our responsibility to stop them. We didn’t do a very good job of that. We gave them opportunities and that’s on us. … I didn’t have any problem with what went on.”

The rest of the conference’s coaches mostly deflected questions, saying that it’s a difficult situation for anyone when games get out of hand.

“I didn’t see the game,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. “But it’s difficult to tell your players to go in and not play hard.”

Penn State coach Joe Paterno made a point to keep his voice out of the conversation.

“I don’t want to get into that,” Paterno said. “The Indiana people and the Wisconsin people have to talk that out.”

25 comments

  1. Did Bielema run up the score? I think so. Does something have to be said though for impressing voters and the computers? I also think so. However, IU should have never let it get this bad. Yes, Chappell got hurt. But that’s not an excuse. I know it’s Indiana football, but come on.

    I think what kills all of us as fans (or at least me) each week is the inconsistency of play week in and week out. We can at least look prepared while playing Iowa, but then to come out and look like that against Wisconsin is downright embarrassing. I don’t see how we can come up with any sort of excuse for keeping Lynch at the end of the season after this.

  2. Bielema is full of northern frost about not intentionally rolling up a big score. If he had not called off the dogs how many more points than 83 could they have scored. I say no more. He is in the low class of college sports.

  3. I’m generally not one to complain about another team playing its collective ass off and crushing the opponent. So I’ll continue not to do that.

    But — Bielema claiming that his is the only program to receive such scrutiny is comical.

    Yes, coach — the sports media and general public have it out for Wisconsin football. There are obviously hidden agendas in play.

    Give me a break — most teams don’t face this scrutiny because most teams don’t drop 83 points on another.

  4. Bielema is a liar and a low class jerk. When you’re winning by 50 in the fourth quarter, you simply tell your team, “run the ball, no more passes.” You do that for two reasons, get the game over with as soon as possible to minimize risk of injuries and to show sportsmanship. If Bielema does not understand that, he’s a moron. Obviously, since he’s not a moron, he’s just a liar. He’s never had any class.

    But I’m one of those that thinks Bielema did IU a favor. He slammed the door shut on Lynch’s tenure and made it obvious to even the most naive Polly-Anna Lynch supporters that IU needs a new coach. It’s painful in the short term, but it should be beneficial in the long term.

    Now we get a chance to see if Glass is worth his salary, if he has any vision, any judgement, any “game” in recruiting and hiring. Now we get to see if IU’s administration is really motivated to make a committment to football and the rest of IU athletics outside of basketball and soccer. Should be interesting to see how a lawyer runs the recruiting and selection process. Time for Glass to go big or go home. This decision will hae profound consequences for the Athletic Department’s future!

  5. I don’t think they really ran up the score. To be completely honest, it was just bad watching it go down. It was their 3rd string qb that ran in the last TD there by juking three of our players. The announcers said, it’s to the point where every Wisconsin player that touches the ball and doesn’t fall down would score. I honestly believe the scrutiny is unfair. You can’t expect the team to just fall over if they’re wide open.

  6. How about the two point attempt against Minnesota a couple of weeks ago, after the game was well in hand? Another way to not run up the score is play a soft defense after scoring 65 points. Bielema is low class.

  7. Lynch is absolutely right. It IS his (and the staff’s) responsibility to prevent situations such as Saturday’s 83-20 score from ever happening.It is much more disrespectful to “hold back”; indeed it would be insulting.

    It is also important to see the body language of Indiana’s defenders to see they are playing on a totally different plain. The lack of respect by Indiana’s players for their own university is not only obvious and their lack of resistance to embarrassment clear.

    One question for Kevin Bush- the only proven man in the group. Who among these guys would you want in your MRV in the middle of Sadr City, Adamiyah or Fallujah; Kandahar or the Arghandab River valley? They need to hear from you about hurt and obligation, about where self-respect begins by accepting our responsibility for those standing next to us.

    Now for Coach Lynch. For years you have been asked about the inability to defend. What honor is there in defending coaches who train players to fail? Do you not fail when you insist on defending a leadership structure among defensive coaches that results in confusion and enables failure? Why are basic skills such as ‘hitting’ and ‘tackling’ delegated to a secondary role? Is it not your failure if we continue to feel you have not explained your vision, aligned your objectives and detailed your plans for success? Why do your comments always sounds as if your are attempting to obscure our questions? Is it your responsibility to address Hoosier fans on the various failures (resulting in losses) over the last two years?

    Do you hold yourself accountable? Or, will you continue to avoid specific answers to specific issues raised by fans whose support you expect. Is there a comment you feel you owe us?

    I am not asking for your resignation nor am I criticizing your beliefs and/or person. I am just asking that you respect me and the hundreds of thousands of other Hoosier fans like me who wonder when, in fact they deserve the acknowledgment of our support.

  8. What a pussy. Wussconsin.

    When you are about to badger the weak,
    Then imagine yourself before a more powerful man. Thiruvalluvar

  9. Since when when you run the score up on a team the way they did is this not poor sportmanship. Hoping that IU would be above doing something like this. Maybe we should withdraw from playing football in the Big Ten!

  10. Ask Digger Phelps if Bobby Knight held back in a 1971 game against the Irish. Dave Harangody, a guy that played football at IU during our basketball heyday, had a son, a kid that became quite the high school basketball star from that mysterious land we don’t recruit called “The Region”..This kid just happened to decide on going to ND and becoming the 2008 Big East Player of the Year. I guess what goes around does finally come around. Sometimes it just takes a very long while. And now watching Knight and Digger kiss it up like bosom buddies on ESPN lets me know time soon puts all in balance.

    If we could kick basketball butt again like a day a current Hoosier student cheering in the stands could never identify nor likely ever know, I would run up the damn score and drain bombs from the 3-point line until the final second on the last clock to ever tick.

    The Wisconsin coach should not be apologizing for a damn thing. Lucky SOB.

  11. Bielema is a low life of sports. Period…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

  12. The goal in every game is to give up 0 points and to win the game. WI was not good enough to keep IU, on its worst day in football in years (and that is saying a lot!), from putting up 20 points on them. So, to hide what a joke it is to consider a 1 loss WI better than a 1 loss MSU, which beat them, Bielema intentionally ran up the score for national PR. But the unfortunate truth is that Indiana, can not, right now, kick his a___. I liked podunker’s views on the subject. However, I do think that Bielema is a moron. Can you imagine a grown man, a leader of young men, actually spouting the teenage line-“well everyone else is doing it”? Great leadership. I used to respect the University of Wisconsin-now not so much! Next year I will be a BIG RED fan as Nebraska demolishes WI!

  13. OK, HC, I’m actually fascinated. How did you get the string of periods to go outside the box? I don’t even know how to do that. (OK, I don’t know how to do a lot of things on this site, but still).

  14. I’m sorry, but these comments are ridiculous. Wisconsin started pulling their starters out half way through the third quarter (O Line). By the end of the third quarter they were running 2nd, 3rd, 4th and even 5th string players with a few exceptions (to be expected, even 3rd stringers need a breather once in a while)

    Wisconsin’s last three scores are the only ones really in question and its hard to really argue with them:

    1) a pick 6… Don’t throw the ball to the other team…

    2) a broken pass play on 3rd and 6. Even when you’re running out the clock, you have to keep the ball. Calling a pass play once in a while to do so is completely reasonable. Short routes were covered and the play broke down, so Wisco’s third string QB (second string is injured) threw down-field to the only open (redshirt freshman..) receiver. Should he have thrown it into coverage or taken a knee? Of course not, it was a good decision.

    3)Wisconsin needed one more first down before they could take knees to run out the clock, so they called a QB run with their 5th string QB. The funny thing about this is that you could see the 1st and 3rd string QBs laughing at the play call on the sideline… Before it actually worked, going 17 yards for a touchdown as three Indiana defenders were in position to make the tackle but put no effort in to it. No one on Wisco’s sideline thought that play had a chance of scoring.

    What should Wisconsin have done? Take knees on every down of the second half? Give me a break. The only thing that the Badgers are guilty of is having solid depth. Thats why virtually every coach or sportscaster who actually SAW the game (if you havent and you want to talk about it, then please watch it on ESPN3.com first…) has come out and stated that Wisco did nothing wrong. Deal with it without slinging mud.

  15. “Reason” is exactly right. It was still a 2-score game until the last few minutes of the first half. Backup players were used extensively in the second half, and Bielema went way down to the bottom of the depth chart by the end of the game. When a third-string quarterback can get a touchdown on a desperation 3rd-down heave it’s the defense that lacking. Anyone whose opinion is worth listening to could see that.

  16. Hoosier Clarion you sir are a moron… Watch the game next time and understand these KIDS play football to win well allexcept ur hoosiers apparently!!! Get a defense that has some pride and stop even our third stringers!!! Your comments are pretty intellegent sir!

  17. Bielema did the Hoosier Nation a favor by running up the score, but he’s still low class and a liar. I’d have had no problem with him telling the media, “hey, I want my guys to score on every possession. We’re going to run our entire offense until the end of the game, including long passes with a 50 point margin in the fourth quarter. If that appears to be running up the score, so be it.” But instead he was spinning his response to the reporters’ questions, obviously uncomfortable with the scrutiny.

    And yes Oakie Badger, most of us agree. IU needs to get a coach that can field a defense that can compete in the Big Ten. But I was in the stands during an IU – WI game back in the 70’s, when IU was pounding the pee-pee out of your hapless Badgers. The game was out of reach before the end of the first half. IU’s coach, Lee Corso went out of his way NOT to run up the score, emptying the bench in the third quarter. IU’s walk-ons were playing the fourth quarter, allowing Wisconsin to score some points and make it appear respectable. Some of us remember when, not too long ago, the Badgers were the doormat of the Big Ten.

  18. 1)Bielema did say that he would not apologize for giving his back-up players reps in their offensive system. Frankly, he shouldn’t, that makes a lot of sense. The Badgers’ second string QB was recently injured in practice and their new 2nd string had only played 6 reps in actual games. Even considering that, the Badgers called pass plays sparingly (3 times in the 4th quarter).

    2)As was stated earlier, a coach does not call “a long pass” he calls a pass play with multiple routes. The quarterback has to read the coverage and decide where to throw the ball. This was not called as an all-go or hail mary play. The down-field route did not even appear to be part of the play that was called, as the receiver went down field after the play fell apart. In any case, Erin Murphy of the Dubuque Herald put it best when she said, “the way they were running the football at that point, the Badgers were just as likely to score on a 74-yard run as they were a pass. That’s not being flippant. That’s the truth.”

    3)You want the Badgers to play walk-ons? The receiver who caught the 74-yard touchdown pass was a walk-on. The quarterback who ran in for the last 17-yard touchdown was a walk-on. Did the Badger team you saw in the 70’s give up in the third quarter and let seemingly anyone with the ball put points on the board? The really sad thing about this game is that the Badgers were taking it easy.

    But honestly the Badgers play walk-ons every quarter. Alvarez created a rich tradition of coaching up walk-ons and turning them into great players (JJ Watt is a walk-on). But even beyond their good walk-ons, they were playing scout team players in the 4th quarter. They have a bunch of good backs, but have you ever heard of Kyle Zuleger? Me neither, yet he was getting reps. I looked into him a bit. Last year he was honored as a scout team co-defensive player of the week once. That is some kind of an honor, but it doesn’t explain why he ran for seven yards on his first carry against Indiana… The Badgers were going easy on the Hoosiers in the second half, but they still had to put a team on the field and they can’t tell those young men not to play football no matter how far they are down the depth chart.

  19. What Bielema did to IU and the 2 point conversion try against Minnesota proves his low life sports character. As I posted earlier he has none of the class of a successful Tressel or the unsuccessful Lynch. Hell he acts like he went to a Lane Kiffin coaching seminar.

    Dustin,

    Indeed I would like to say it was simply deliberate, positive action outside the paradigm. Actually I was going to lay down about 10-15 periods and while doing so took a fair sized gulp of damned hot coffee, spilled a little, cussed and kind of locked up with keyboard. All under the discerning eyes of my wife after she had just poured the coffee for me; she is still shaking her head about it.

  20. Reason…please write your thoughts more often. This blog and Hoosier discussion need a steady dose of your well informed reason and logic.

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