MADISON – After what he went through the past two off seasons, Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema was probably hoping for a quiet one this time around.
With the way things have gone in the week following the Badgers’ four-point loss in the Outback Bowl, Bielema will have little time to rest in the early goings of 2008.
Wisconsin offensive line coach Bob Palcic, who spent the last two seasons coaching the offensive line with the Badgers, has been hired by new Bruin head football coach Rick Neuheisel to coach the UCLA offensive line, according to a release today.
This is not the first time Palcic, 59, and Neuheisel have crossed paths, as the two were assistants at UCLA under Terry Donahue in 1993. Coincidentally, that team lost to Wisconsin in the 1994 Rose Bowl, marking UW’s first of three Rose Bowl wins.
"I'm excited about returning to UCLA and I am looking forward to working for Rick," said Palcic in a press release. "I'm confident we will be able to give out fans and alumni the football success they deserve."
As of this afternoon, there were no plans for Bielema to make a statement.
The '94 Bruin offensive line featured seniors Vaughn Parker and Craig Novitsky, both of whom earned All-America honors and played in the NFL. It also included sophomores Jonathan Ogden, 1995 Outland Trophy winner and NFL All-Pro, and Mike Flanigan, who has been an NFL star for over a decade. Neuheisel was also an assistant on that Bruin staff.
"Bob is one of the top offensive line coaches in the country at any level," said Neuheisel in a release. "The young men in our program will be able to draw upon his wealth of experience to assist in their development as players on the field and men off the field. I can't tell you how thrilled I am to bring Bob back to UCLA."
In 2007, Palcic coached a Badger offensive line that paved the way to 201.5 yards on the ground during the regular season (22nd in the NCAA). Center Marcus Coleman was a first-team All-Big 10 selection by the media, guard Kraig Urbik was a consensus second-team choice and tackle Gabe Carimi earned second-team Freshman All-America acclaim.
Including his 12 years in the National Football League with the Saints, Browns, Lions and Falcons, Palcic is best known at Wisconsin for coaching Joe Thomas, who was a consensus All-American left tackle and 2006 Outland Trophy winner.
The only coach on the Wisconsin coaching staff with line coaching experience is current tight end coach Bob Bostad.
Bostad coached the offensive line at New Mexico from 1999-2005. The 2005 line featured two first-team All-Mountain West Conference picks, center Ryan Cook and guard Robert Turner.
During Bostad's run at New Mexico, 14 of his linemen received all-conference honors, including seven who were first-team picks.
Bielema is also waiting for a decision from offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, who, according to reports from Lafayette Journal & Courier, is being pursued by Big Ten rival Purdue.
Chryst was paid a base salary of $200,000 as UW's offensive coordinator and was heavily courted by the Dallas Cowboys after the 2006 season. Chryst eventually turned down an opportunity to become the team's quarterbacks coach and a multiyear deal.
The UW Board of Regents last year approved a contract that is to pay Chryst $300,000 a year from 2007-2011. In addition, Chryst can collect an annuity of $50,000 per year if he stays with the Badgers through the length of the contract.
That would push the value of his contract to $1.75 million.
Chryst had coached UW's tight ends in 2002 only to leave for a job at Oregon State. He returned to UW in 2005 as the team's co-offensive coordinator for then-coach Barry Alvarez.