Redskins

Reports: Wisconsin to hire Utah State's Andersen

Reports: Wisconsin to hire Utah State's Andersen

Wisconsin will hire Utah State's Gary Andersen as head football coach to replace Bret Bielema, according to multiple media reports.

The Wisconsin State Journal was first to report that Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez had offered Andersen the job Tuesday night. Andersen is in his fourth year at Utah State and is coming off his best season yet.

The 18th-ranked Aggies won the Western Athletic Conference and finished 11-2, with a school record for victories after beating Toledo 41-15 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Saturday.

Utah State lost 16-14 at Wisconsin earlier this season.

The 48-year-old Andersen is 26-24 at Utah State. He took over in Logan, Utah, after spending five seasons as defensive coordinator at the University of Utah under Kyle Whittingham. In the four seasons before Andersen took over at Utah State, the Aggies won a total of nine games.

Bielema left Wisconsin for Arkansas earlier this month in a surprising move.

Andersen's move would come as a surprise only because he has so publicly stated recently that he planned to stay at Utah State after turning down other offers in the past month. The Utah native was a candidate at Colorado, California and Kentucky.

``Opportunities are wonderful. It was very humbling the last three or four weeks to go through that process and be involved in jobs. You learn a lot, but you also learn a lot about yourself and where you want to be,'' Andersen told the Idaho Statesman last week. ``And you sit back and take a deep breath and know who you want to be able to be around. I love the kids I get to coach here. ... The kids I have in the program, it just was not time. I look them in the eye and I need to be where I'm at.''

Wisconsin is headed to the Rose Bowl for a third straight season, and Alvarez is coaching the team. He was Wisconsin coach for 16 seasons before stepping down to focus on the job of athletic director, and handing the job to Bielema who was head coach in Madison for seven years.

Among the others reportedly considered for the Wisconsin job were Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, Bowling Green coach Dave Clawson and Miami's Al Golden.

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Antonio Brown and other available receivers Washington could add after Kelvin Harmon's injury

Antonio Brown and other available receivers Washington could add after Kelvin Harmon's injury

Kelvin Harmon's torn ACL is tough news, as it will prevent him from taking the next step in his career in 2020. That injury also does significant damage to Washington's already limited group of receivers.

So, if Ron Rivera wants to replace Harmon with a free agent, who's out there?

Before getting to the list — which begins with one guy fans have been yearning for and will now yearn for even more — it is worth wondering how signing an outside free agent could be affected by COVID-19. How much more complicated is that process? 

As long as the virus doesn't make a move like that very strenuous, though, keep an eye on these options. The first name stands out, of course, but a few others make sense as well.

Antonio Brown

When asked about Brown last month, Ron Rivera basically shut down the thought of Washington acquiring him. Rivera explained to the media that he didn't want to "stunt the growth of somebody young" by introducing a vet to the mix.

Well, circumstances are obviously different, as the offense has one less young target to feature. Based on that logic, the possibility of going after Brown has to be at least a little higher. He has been working out plenty with Dwayne Haskins this offseason, by the way.

Yet the ex-Steeler, Raider and Patriot wouldn't just bring huge talent to the organization, and that's something else Rivera has to weigh. Is Brown, with his propensity for being involved in non-football drama, someone the coach will want to deal with during this rebuild?

That could be the real key in this matter. But with Harmon now sidelined, there's an even larger need for help on the outside. Maybe that'll sway Rivera. Maybe.

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Jarius Wright

Wright doesn't have nearly the same production that Brown has — few who have ever played the sport do, honestly — but he is a pro that Rivera knows well and Scott Turner knows really well.

The 30-year-old overlapped with Turner in Minnesota, and he spent the last two campaigns with both coaches in Carolina.

That kind of familiarity is always useful, but it would be particularly useful in this bizarre offseason. Wright should probably keep his phone nearby over the next handful of days.

Chris Hogan

Like Wright, Hogan is a recent former Panther. The 32-year-old joined the club for 2019, but a left knee injury marred most of his season and he finished with just eight receptions.

Before that, however, he did record five straight years with at least 34 catches, so he can be an effective role player. Let's see if Rivera gives him another chance to make an impact on his roster, this time in Washington.

Demaryius Thomas

By size, Thomas would be the most similar of these choices to Harmon. Harmon would've been a nice complement to the speedier Terry McLaurin and Steven Sims because of his height and physicality. Maybe Thomas could step into that void.

The accomplished five-time Pro Bowler has reportedly drawn interest from both the Jets and Giants this summer, so his services are still in some demand. He's no longer the dominant star he once was, but he could be a piece that Washington will now want, too. 

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Doc Walker won't 'burn' Washington gear but questions how to celebrate history moving forward

Doc Walker won't 'burn' Washington gear but questions how to celebrate history moving forward

Though the Washington franchise has now entered a new era with the former name of the team soon-to-be retired, an entire 83-year history here remains.

Great players and teams alike still live on in the memory of many, even if the name they played under is no longer. However, figuring out how to celebrate the past that is intertwined with a moniker that has negative connotations can be tricky. It's something former Washington player and current ESPN980 host Doc Walker has been contemplating in the wake of recent news.

RELATED: JASON CAMPBELL CALLS NAME CHANGE BITTERSWEET

Walker wants to continue to honor the history of success of the franchise, while also understanding why the name change needed to happen. For him, it's all about separating the name from everything else Washington has achieved.

“It’s kind of like an emotional separation. I’ve said I do not look at the logo and look at it and think that it’s a swastika. I’m not sitting here about to burn all my gear," Walker said on Doc and Galdi. “But I do have to establish, take a deep dive as to how I’m going to represent it and what’s going to be represented by it.”

Walker's reflection includes understanding the difference is how the name was perceived back when he played in the 80s compared to how it is viewed today. Thirty years ago surely part of the population found it offensive, but Walker believes that the negative connotations and opinions were lesser-known.

Therefore, he still looks to the past with positivity, because there was no ill-intent by which he celebrated the name and the team.

“I’m not trashing my past, and the honor, because we didn’t go about it in a derogatory sense," Walker said. "I wasn’t trying to be a jerk.”

“If I had known that was hateful in the 80s, I never would have represented it," Walker said. "That was not the case, it was a level of pride and it was something that you were so honored to embrace."

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Even with that mindset, Walker did admit that he made mistakes by not seeking out more information and alternative views about the name. He's since made an effort to learn more about what problems some have with the moniker, and it made him understand why change was requested.

“It was also some ignorance because I never went out of my way to find out what Native Americans thought. I did ask around and when I heard it was negative I immediately dropped it," Walker said. "I had just one conversation, that’s all I needed. It didn’t matter."

The reason Walker has still been able to celebrate the past while seeing all sides of the argument stems from the same mentality he is trying to put forward now. His fondness of the history of the Washington franchise isn't unilaterally connected to the name, but rather the memories that were created by teams and players. Even without the focus of the name, there was so much to celebrate over the years.

"It didn’t take away the Burgundy and Gold… the Hogs, the Hogettes, all these things that went on that were different," Walker said. "We were still able to be in love with the colors, Hoggettes. But it didn’t kill us.”

With the name now on its way out, Walker believes the same can be done in the future. There is no reason to look down at the incredible moments that have taken place over the years and the players who have come through the franchise. They can be separated from the name, and still celebrated and honored.

However, he does admit that it will be a challenge. The current landscape and negative aura around the name will not go away, even when looking at the past. That leaves Walker wondering how exactly history will be remembered in Washington.

“This right now. This is like, how do we go from this point forward with our past, our stuff. What do you treat it like?" Walker said. “That to me has to be addressed. It’s going to take time.”

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