Redskins

Column: Badgers make best of a bad situation

201301011817658489943-p2.jpeg

Column: Badgers make best of a bad situation

Loyalty being what it is these days in college football, you didn't know whether to be happy or sad to see Barry Alvarez back on the Wisconsin sideline seven years after he left coaching to become the Badgers' athletic director.

Wisconsin was one of two schools playing Tuesday - Northern Illinois was the other - whose head coach bailed out on the team between the end of the regular season and a bowl game. That's becoming such a regular occurrence, even when big-time BCS bowls like the Rose and Orange are involved, that it hardly qualifies as news. At least a half-dozen other teams found themselves in the same position during the current bowl season, and five more had to make do without one of their coordinators in the fold, which can be every bit as disruptive.

We even have a repeat offender this time around: Butch Jones, who left Cincinnati on Dec. 7 - a day after promising the athletic director he would return - to take the head-coaching job at Tennessee. He did the same thing to Central Michigan two years ago, and in both cases left the bowl mop-up work to assistant Steve Stripling, who followed Jones to Cincinnati and is already set to join his new staff at Tennessee. Nobody gets mad at shenanigans like that anymore, especially when the coach, like Jones, is an up-and-comer. There's too much money at stake now for either side to take it personally.

Even so, a few things made the Swap-O-Rama at Wisconsin more interesting than most. First off, running a Big 10 program used to be viewed as a destination job, but when Bret Bielema traded the Badgers for the Arkansas Razorbacks and the Southeastern Conference, it reinforced the perception that for any coach with serious championship ambitions, the SEC is the only place to be. Second, even though six of Bielema's assistants have already lined up jobs elsewhere next season, they all decided to work the Rose Bowl alongside Alvarez, which only seemed fair considering how well he treated every one of them in the past. And then there was Alvarez himself.

The Wisconsin seniors essentially ``drafted'' him after Bielema ditched them, and sweet as it was that he agreed to come out of retirement for this one game, his motives weren't entirely charitable. Alvarez makes $1 million a year as AD, and his deal includes a $118,000 bonus for coaching in the Rose and $50,000 more for winning it.

Even though Wisconsin lost 20-14, most still looked at the temporary measure as money well spent.

``I think it served as a unifying factor,'' junior linebacker Chris Borland said. ``Not that this team would ever experience any dissension, we've got a bunch of character guys. But to have Coach Alvarez come back ... I think it calmed guys' nerves. Initially, I think there was a little anxiety about the situation, at least from the younger guys, and to have Coach Alvarez step back and come back and coach, it brought everybody together.''

For his part, Alvarez said the seven years watching games from a booth upstairs hadn't dulled his competitive instincts, even though the loss snapped his personal 3-0 Rose Bowl streak. An interception by Stanford's Usua Amanam as Wisconsin was driving late also ensured the Badgers a third consecutive heartbreaking loss in Pasadena.

``You know what? Every game we had out here was very competitive,'' he said. ``We were fortunate to come out on top in my (previous) games. This game, the only thing that's different than the other teams that I coached is somehow we found a way to win, and we weren't fortunate enough to get a win today.''

Considering the way the regular season went in Madison, though, you could argue Wisconsin was playing the Rose Bowl with house money. The Badgers nearly lost star running back Montee Ball after he was attacked in August and suffered a concussion, only one reason they had trouble scoring points. They lost three games in overtime and two others by a total of three points, then wound up with the conference's Rose Bowl slot because the two teams ahead of them - Ohio State and Penn State - were ineligible for postseason play.

As an added bonus, Gary Andersen, the former Utah State coach Alvarez hired to replace Bielema, had the chance to watch the bowl practices with some of his incoming staff and was on the sideline Tuesday night to observe the players he'll inherit go through the ringer in a big game.

``The advantages are they had a chance to evaluate the players and have an idea in their minds when they get here, what they have and what they have to recruit, the strengths and weaknesses of the team,'' Alvarez said. ``As I told the team, we have a very good nucleus coming back next year, a lot of juniors, and they have a chance to be an outstanding squad again next year.''

By then, Alvarez, who turned 66 a few days ago, will be back in his office and probably glad of it. So credit him with making the best of a bad situation. But if you watched Alvarez come out of the tunnel at the start of the game, taking two quick steps before veering sharply left to get out of the way of his onrushing players, you know he hardly needed reminding that coaching is a young man's game.

---

Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jlitke(at)ap.org and follow him at Twitter.com/JimLitke.

Quick Links

Trent Williams shares video of dog after reported fight that killed neighbor's dog

trentwilliams_usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Trent Williams shares video of dog after reported fight that killed neighbor's dog

One of Trent Williams’ dogs involved in a fight with his neighbor’s dog received stitches on several deep cuts after the incident, according to a video shared by Williams on Twitter.

Redskins running back Derrius Guice posted a video of Williams' pitbull on Twitter. Williams quote- tweeted it on his account, echoing Guice’s statement with shouting emojis.

Warning: The video, which is linked here, is graphic and may be disturbing to some readers. 

The fight, which occurred in Missouri City, Texas, resulted in the death of the neighbor’s dog, Sandy. Williams' neighbors told local TV station ABC 13 that the dogs at his house are a menace to the neighborhood. "We've been here three years, and I'll definitely tell you my family and I feel like prisoners in our own neighborhood," said neighbor Cecelia Hernandez.

Williams defended his pets, telling ABC 13 that Sandy sent the dog she attacked to the veterinarian’s office fighting for its life. The procedures cost about $5,000 in medical bills.

Local police and animal control are no longer investigating the incident. Neither Williams nor his neighbors were charged.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

Quick Links

Redskins vs. Eagles Week 15 Inactives: Scherff, Dunbar ruled out

Redskins vs. Eagles Week 15 Inactives: Scherff, Dunbar ruled out

When the Redskins host the Eagles on Sunday, both teams will be without multiple starters at the wide receiver position.

Redskins wide receiver Trey Quinn will miss his second straight contest with a concussion. The Redskins will roll out a trio of rookie wide receivers -- Terry McLaurin, Kelvin Harmon, and Steven Sims -- as the team placed veteran Paul Richardson on injured reserve this week.

Philadelphia will be without their top three wide receivers -- Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, and Nelson Agholor -- in Week 15. Agholor will be inactive. Jeffery was placed on IR earlier this week, and Jackson has been on IR since early November. Jackson only appeared in three contests this season in his second stint in Philadelphia, but he torched the Redskins for 154 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1.

Ryan Kerrigan, who's been Washington's Ironman since entering the NFL in 2011, will miss the remainder of the season with a calf injury he suffered last week in Green Bay. The team placed him on injured reserve earlier this week, too.

Cornerback Quinton Dunbar has been Washington's best defender this season, but was forced to leave last week's contest early with a hamstring injury. He didn't practice all week and is inactive against Philadelphia.

Redskins guard Brandon Scherff will also miss Sunday's contest. He was questionable with an elbow and shoulder injury and only practiced on a limited basis this week.

Philadelphia will also be without their All-Pro right tackle Lane Johnson, who is out with an ankle injury.

Here are the full inactives.

Redskins vs. Eagles Week 15 Inactives

Redskins Inactives:

QB Colt McCoy
OG Brandon Scherff
WR Trey Quinn
TE Caleb Wilson
OL Ross Pierschbacher
CB Quinton Dunbar
LB Josh Harvey-Clemons

Eagles Inactives:

QB Nate Sudfeld
WR Nelson Agholor
RB Jordan Howard
OT Lane Johnson
DE Shareef Miller
OG Sua Opeta
DE Derek Barnett

MORE REDSKINS NEWS: