Second Thoughts:

5-year-old frets over Coach Bret

By: Steve Goff
Published: Monday, December 10, 2012
Former Wisconsin Coach Bret Bielema, who led the Badgers to a Big Ten championship earlier this month before accepting the head-coaching job at Arkansas, has young Badgers fans asking questions about his departure.
Photo by Andy Shupe
Former Wisconsin Coach Bret Bielema, who led the Badgers to a Big Ten championship earlier this month before accepting the head-coaching job at Arkansas, has young Badgers fans asking questions about his departure.

— There is one truism when it comes to coaching college football.

Coaches shouldn’t get too comfortable.

Wisconsin’s coaches were reminded of that this week when Coach Bret Bielema shocked the college football world by leaving Madison for the hills of Fayetteville.

Bielema left to become Arkansas’ head coach after winning three Big Ten Championships in his seven seasons as the Badgers’ head coach.

Many folks in Madison are still scratching their heads, including other members of the Badgers’ coaching staff.

First-year wide receivers coach, Zach Azzanni, told Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he was caught off guard Saturday morning by a question from a family member.

“My 5-year-old daughter came up to me today,” Azzanni said.

“She asked: ‘Daddy, is Coach Bret still our coach?’ ”

Azzanni asked his daughter where she heard that, and she told him from several other children at school.

Azzanni told his daughter they would talk about it later, but he admitted that Bielema’s surprise departure has left the Wisconsin staff in an awkward situation.

They aren’t sure whether they will be staying in Madison, moving to Fayetteville or looking elsewhere for work.

“It is an emotional toll,” Azzanni told Potrykus. “We fell in love with this place. We really, really like it here. Hopefully we’ll still be here. You never know. We thought we had a place to call home a little bit. You’d think this is a stable place.

“You know anybody who wants to buy a house, let me know.”

Rock of ages

Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel believes San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich may have set a bad precedent by giving some of his older players a night off.

“This just in,” Schmitz said.

“The Rolling Stones announced they are holding out Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ron Wood for next Saturday’s concert at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

“They’re old and tired, and have been on the road forever.”

Fear the Pelican

It appears the New Orleans Hornets are going to change their name to the Pelicans, which has drawn plenty of criticism from folks who believe the name is lame.

Just don’t include Barry Petchesky of Deadspin.com among that crowd. In fact, he makes the case that critics are way off base when they question the ferocity of the pelican.

“You’re probably picturing a big, clumsy poof of a bird stumbling around in the shallows, picking at weeds,” Petchesky writes. “Wrong. The pelican is fearsome.

“Take a raven, for example.

It’s omnivorous. It eats bugs, and seeds, and fruit, and carrion.

Compared to the well-rounded citizen that is the raven, the pelican is the serial killer of birds.

Not only is it a carnivore, it is a hypercarnivore (that’s a scientific term; look it up.)

“The pelican eats meat, and only meat. The pelican doesn’t eat anything that didn’t used to be alive.

“What’s more - unlike an eagle or a falcon - the pelican almost never scavenges someone else’s kill. It craves warm flesh, so it gets the job done itself.”

We may never look at pelicans the same way again.

Quote of the day

“I don’t remember crying this much other than maybe the day I was born.” Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Marcus Spears, discussing his feeling after the death of teammate Jerry Brown

Sports, Pages 16 on 12/10/2012

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