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Thursday, January 5, 2012
Bielema must replace four UW assistants

By Adam Rittenberg

Bret Bielema tweeted early this morning that he's headed out on the recruiting trail looking for players.

He's also looking for assistant coaches.

Wisconsin lost two assistant coaches Wednesday -- wide receivers coach DelVaughn Alexander and linebackers coach Dave Huxtable -- bringing the total number of departures to four. Huxtable will join former Badgers aides Paul Chryst and Bob Bostad in Pittsburgh as the Panthers' defensive coordinator. Chryst is Pitt's new head coach, while Bostad will serve as his offensive coordinator. Alexander is joining Arizona State's staff.

Bielema initially thought Bostad would be the only assistant joining Chryst at Pitt. It appears as though Huxtable will be the last departure.

It's quite a lot of turnover for Bielema, who has had to replace assistants here and there during his tenure but never four staff members at once. Huxtable was a terrific hire last year, as he left a coordinator post at Central Florida to tutor the Badgers' linebackers. Alexander had success with receivers Nick Toon and Jared Abbrederis this season.

It will be interesting to see where Bielema turns. Oklahoma's Jay Norvell, a former Wisconsin assistant, has been reported as a candidate for the offensive coordinator spot.

While Wisconsin is losing assistants, it could regain a huge piece soon as running back Montee Ball, the Big Ten's offensive player of the year, reportedly will announce he's staying in school for his senior season. Most figured Ball would bolt, so this would be a very nice surprise.

Ball would be one of the leading candidates for the Heisman Trophy this fall after finishing as a finalist in 2011.