By JIM RUTLEDGE
Badgers head football coach Bret Bielema recently joined “The Jump Around” on ESPNWisconsin.com and some of his comments were cited on local and national levels. While I’m always happy to be noticed, I do think in this case coach Bielema’s comments may have been misconstrued.
To be sure I thought I’d examine his comment some more.
Coach Bielema is not a wordsmith (evident by his often butchered metaphors and phrases) so that’s why I took his comments about Devin Smith as another example of him trying to prove a point, but instead it started a controversy.
Was I wrong?
"Devin was playing as good of football as we'd ever seen,” Bielema said. “For us here at Wisconsin, for us to have one of those special, special, maybe national championship-type seasons, you have to stay healthy.”
I believe coach Bielema was trying to imply that Wisconsin is a team that needs to have the breaks go its way if it wants to be in the mix for a national title. He used Smith as an example but the way he phrased it provided and instance where listeners and readers could interpret it as him using Smith’s injury as an excuse.
"I honestly think if Devin Smith had played the entire year at the way he was playing at the time he got hurt, we probably never would have lost ...,” Bielema said. “Those plays that hit, they were going after his backup, Marcus Cromartie.
This is a little harder to explain, but again I think coach Bielema was trying to extend the example he started earlier about how one player can make the difference but instead he sounds like he’s putting a lot of blame on Cromartie.
"'Cro' did a nice job,” Bielema said. “(He) did a lot of good things, but you potentially have the difference between maybe a Big Ten championship versus a national championship opportunity based on one guy's injury."
These last statements, however, are not explainable. It may not have been coach Bielema’s intent to bury Cromartie, but it sure sounded like he did.
My misunderstood theory proves to be wrong.
I’ll end my post with a quick piece of advice to any aspiring journalist, ask short questions so you can let the interviewee do the talking. You never know where they’ll take the conversation.
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