Bret Bielema kept to his word and looked within his staff to fill Wisconsin's defensive coordinator vacancy.
Bielema promoted both defensive line coach Charlie Partridge and secondary coach Chris Ash to the coordinator spot. He also hired Central Florida defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable to coach the Badgers' linebackers.
All three men replace Dave Doeren, who served as Badgers' defensive coordinator and linebackers coach before taking the head-coaching position at Northern Illinois last month. Partridge and Ash both will continue to coach their position groups.
It's always nice to see assistants rewarded, and both Partridge and Ash have done well at Wisconsin. While I'm not a huge fan of co-coordinators, these two have some familiarity working together and know the personnel.
Partridge has helped mold two of the Big Ten's top pass rushers the last two seasons in O'Brien Schofield and J.J. Watt. Ash made an immediate impact in his first season with the Badgers, as the team improved from 55th nationally against the pass in 2009 to 26th in 2010.
Huxtable will become the most experienced member of Wisconsin's defensive staff, bringing 29 years of expertise with him. Anyone who watched UCF's 10-6 win against Georgia in the Liberty Bowl could see his influence on the Knights' defense. Huxtable also has served as defensive coordinator at both North Carolina and Georgia Tech.
“I think Dave is a great addition to our staff,” Bielema said in a prepared statement. “He brings a ton of experience, having coached the linebacker position virtually his entire career. His defenses at UCF were very well-coached, as evidenced by their success this season. As good a coach as he is, he is even a better person and he will fit into our staff very well.”
Wisconsin's staff appears to be complete for 2011. The school has put together an enhanced compensation package for offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, who was courted for several jobs earlier this month.
Barring a late change, expect Chryst to remain with the Badgers, a big boost for the program.