Upon arrival Tuesday in Los Angeles, Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema told reporters that Paul Chryst will take one Badgers assistant with him to Pittsburgh following the Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio.
Bielema declined to name the departing assistant, but reports here and here and elsewhere say offensive line coach Bob Bostad is headed to the Steel City. Bostad had been mentioned as a potential candidate to succeed Chryst as Wisconsin's offensive coordinator. If he's indeed gone to Pittsburgh, he'll likely move into a coordinator role with the Panthers.
"The last 48 hours have been all of that stuff going on," Bielema said. "It was a good break for our players, because there were some things that needed to get sorted out. I know what's going to happen. I don't want to release anything. … Definitely going to be transition on my side."
It's hardly a surprise that Bostad would join Chryst at Pitt. The two are very close. Had Chryst accepted an offer to become Texas' offensive coordinator following the 2011 Rose Bowl, Bostad likely would have joined him in Austin.
The two men are, in my view, Wisconsin's top two assistants. Chryst's success as coordinator is well documented, and Bostad has tutored standout offensive linemen such as Gabe Carimi, John Moffitt and, more recently, Peter Konz. If Bostad isn't the nation's best offensive line coach, he's close.
It's a tough situation for Wisconsin, which will have a new look on offense in 2012 with key coaches and players departing. Quarterback Russell Wilson and receiver Nick Toon are among the seniors leaving, and running back Montee Ball and Konz could declare for the NFL draft.
The good news for Badgers fans is that only one assistant will be joining Chryst. And for recruiting purposes, it's very good that Wisconsin will retain tight ends coach Joe Rudolph. Bostad's departure could mean Rudolph will be elevated to a coordinator role and/or become the team's offensive line coach, a move Bostad made after the 2007 season. Bielema has said he'll promote a coordinator from within the staff. If Bostad is gone, Rudolph and running backs coach Thomas Hammock are the top candidates to move up.
Rudolph is Wisconsin's chief recruiter and one of the best in the Big Ten. Chryst and Bostad aren't known for their recruiting exploits, so Bielema's ability to retain Rudolph is significant.
Bielema now must make some important position-coach hires to try and maintain Wisconsin's continuity on offense.
I doubt the coaching departures will impact Wisconsin too much in the Rose Bowl. Chryst and Bostad want to get this team a win, and the number of veteran players should keep the focus on Oregon.