Bielema names Rudolph new O-line coach

Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema confirmed this afternoon what had been reported and rumored: offensive line coach Bob Bostad is leaving to join Paul Chryst at Pittsburgh.

Bielema also said that tight ends coach Joe Rudolph would move up to replace Bostad as offensive line coach. But he did not name a successor to Chryst as offensive coordinator, saying any other staff appointments will be announced after the Jan. 2 Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO.

Rudolph has overseen some outstanding tight end play during his four years coaching the position, and he also is known as one of the best recruiters in the Big Ten. Can he keep up the Badgers' terrific tradition on the offensive line, which seems to produce new All-Americans every year? Well, Bostad made the same move as Rudolph a few years back, and the program has the blueprint on how to recruit and develop those big guys up front.

Bielema's decision not to name an offensive coordinator is interesting. There has been speculation that running backs coach Thomas Hammock could be elevated to that role. He called plays for Minnesota two years ago. Does this signal that Bielema will look outside the program for an offensive coordinator? Or does he simply want more time to weigh his options? His m.o. has mostly been to promote from within, but Chryst leaves some awfully big shoes to fill.

We shall see. We know this: Losing both Bostad and Chryst -- especially with Russell Wilson and probably Montee Ball also leaving -- will pose quite a challenge to the offense and Bielema.