Bielema defends decision to fire O-line coach

by Nickalas Tabbert

University of Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema defended on Monday his decision to fire offensive line coach Mike Markuson.

"[I] just felt that as a head coach, I've got to make some decisions once in a while that aren't going to be popular and from the outside world looking in may not make all the most sense," Bielema said.

"But I know how to win. … And the decision I made was one that I'm going to stick with and go forward."

Replacing Markuson is 27-year-old Bart Miller, who not long ago walked away from football for an office job with the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Bielema said he wasn't satisfied with the performance of the offensive line under Markuson, who was hired in January to replace Bob Bostad. He decided to make the move after the team rushed for a total of 35 yards on 23 attempts in a 10-7 loss at Oregon State.

Markuson said Monday night that he did not expect to be fired.

"We had talked a few times before about certain things, (but) it was a surprise for me," Markuson told SiriusXM College Sports Nation.

"In light of what has transpired, I still believe what I was teaching is the right thing to do," he said. "Obviously it didn't fit into what they wanted."

Bielema will have his first chance to show his move was the right one Saturday when Wisconsin hosts Utah State.