Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE
The good folks over at Bucky's 5th Quarter (the SB Nation Wisconsin site) were kind enough to answer some questions about new Cal defensive coordinator Andy Buh. They are familiar with him from his time as the Linebackers Coach there during the 2012 season, so we figured they could give us some info.
1. Buh came to Wisconsin as LB coach after having been a DC at Nevada. On its face, it seems an unusual move to go from a coordinator to a position coach. Anything you can tell us about why he made that move?
Phil Mitten: Nothing more than the obvious chance to step up to a more prestigious conference and program. His wife was from the Midwest, but I don't know how much that weighed into his decision since he's a Nevada alum. I believe he just clicked philosophically with Bret Bielema on some level. Buh was also pulling double-duty as LB coach at Nevada that last year too, maybe he wanted to step back to something less hectic that was still a step forward.
2. Wisconsin's linebackers were the leading tacklers for the year. How much do you attribute their strong year to Buh's influence?
Phil Mitten: I think with or without Buh, the linebackers would have been the leading tacklers and default leaders for the Badgers. Chris Borland and Mike Taylor are special college players. But that doesn't take away from Buh's coaching chops or the improvements he initiated in those two guys over the past year.
3. Do you see any difference in LB play with Buh coaching the position?
Phil Mitten: A strange aversion to covering wheel-routes? That was Taylor's kryptonite throughout the year. Without exposing my limited knowledge of X-and-Os too much, the LB corps seemed to wrap up on tackles a bit better. Borland stayed much, much healthier this season. He plays like a bat out of hell, so I'd like to thank the man -- Buh or otherwise -- who taught Chris to hit in a way that doesn't tear his shoulder up every week. Buh also had a hand in some changes to the special teams and those coverage units were noticeably better than recent Badger teams.
4. Bret Bielema wanted to bring Buh with him to Arkansas as his LB coach. Would you say Buh was your most consistent position coach this season?
Phil Mitten: Because I was not at practice every day, I have no way of answering that question truthfully. Since this seems as good of a spot as any to mention this, I just thought the few times we heard Buh speak he brought a different kind of positive energy to the coaching staff. Like he was legitimately happy to be there and coaching isn't a grind for him. He loves the game. He's encouraging, but fiery, if that makes sense.
UW Linebackers Coach Andy Buh (via TWCSports32)
5. Buh seems to have a good ability to recruit California, landing the services of safety Tyler Foreman for the Badgers. How valuable do you think he'd be as a recruiter?
Phil Mitten: Cameron Walker was another guy Buh was recruiting for Wisconsin that ended up at Cal ... It's always good to find those coaches who both played in the general area and also have extensive coaching experience in the region on top of that. He's familiar with the high school coaching ranks already, so there's no playing catch up since he's only been gone for one year. Being at Stanford and Wisconsin before, he's accustomed to targeting high quality student-athletes.
6. How would you characterize Buh's style for his linebackers while at Wisconsin?
Phil Mitten: Wisconsin continued to run a 4-3 scheme during Buh's stay here. They used Borland on the line in some blitz packages, but overall, I don't recall much blitzing. The starters (Ethan Armstrong being the third) were not the biggest or the strongest, but they played smart in most cases.
7. Is there anything about Buh's linebackers corps that always made you cringe? Any glaring weaknesses you can point to?
Phil Mitten: Kinda covered this with the wheel-route business, which burned UW big time on three or four separate occasions last year. Also, Wisconsin had a heck of a time forcing turnovers this year, so either it's not a point of emphasis in Buh's teaching of technique or the linebackers just completely failed to execute for the first 6-8 games.
8. How was Buh as a recruiter? Did he do a good job identifying and developing talent?
Phil Mitten: I'd say Buh was no world-beater as a recruiter but he caught the eyes of a few recruits out west that had Badger fans excited. Bottom line is I wish Wisconsin could have learned more about Buh by keeping him a few more years. I think you got a good one, maybe even a rising star.