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July 24, 2013
Andersen won't change Badgers
CHICAGO - The Wisconsin Badgers had a different look Wednesday morning at the Big Ten media days in Chicago. New head coach Gary Andersen took questions from national and local media members during his press conference, and spoke a lot about building trust within the program, as well as what differences he'll bring to a program that wasn't broken when he took over.
It was immediately apparent at the media days that Andersen isn't a clone copy of his predecessor. Andersen brought his normal business-like attitude to Chicago, where as Bret Bielema was a little more loose and prone to joking with the media when they asked him a question.
But while Andersen and Bielema differ in the personalities they bring to public events and media sessions, Wisconsin's new head coach said he's not interested in comparing the differences between his Wisconsin program and Bielema's.
"Well, I think, number one, I'm not interested in comparing what was different, whether that may have been what we deem as being great, good, or indifferent," Andersen said. "There's going to be differences when you take over a program. It's important to put your own stamp on it.
"There's a lot of different ways to do it. And there was a lot of success [at Wisconsin]."
Andersen said he and his staff are ready to let their core values sink in, but they understand that coming in and taking over at Wisconsin is a lot different than coming in and trying to rebuild a program like Utah State.
"We walked into a program that is absolutely -- was not broken," Andersen said. "It's been very successful and there's great young men that have been recruited there, and the prior staff did a great job in that area."
And while Andersen is bringing a new 3-4 defense to Madison, he said he's not going to tweak Wisconsin's traditional offensive formula very much. Andersen and offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig want to start using dual-threat quarterbacks who can attack defenses on the ground, but Andersen said later in the day that Wisconsin's offensive formula of running the ball behind big offensive linemen isn't going anywhere.
"We want to tweak it, but we want to maintain it," Andersen said. "I believe that it's important to the fans, and it should be, because that's what they've had success doing. That's what you can recruit in the area. There's big kids that are tough minded and take great pride in being offensive linemen and defensive linemen in the state of Wisconsin and in the Midwest."
"It's important to be able to run the football, and that's a mindset. But everywhere I've been as a player and as a coach, it's always been important too. It's not like I'm coming in here and we'll throw 60 times per game and run it 15 or 20 times. If you look at our history as a coaching staff and the history of the University of Wisconsin, I think it matches up very well."