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Paul Chryst (pictured) went very much outside the box in hiring Bob Bostad as his linebackers coach.

Hiring Bob Bostad is an experiment, Nigel Hayes misses practice and the Badgers arrive at the combine

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Today is Thursday, March 2, and this is your Wisconsin Wake-Up Call.


It’s an experiment

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Wisconsin football coach Paul Chryst said Tuesday night that hiring long-time offensive line coach Bob Bostad as his inside linebackers coach isn’t the experiment some have suggested it is. Bostad’s move to defense after 27 years of coaching on the other side of the ball isn’t just a place for him to bide his time until the NCAA allows schools to hire a 10th assistant coach, at which time he could go back to developing high-level tight ends and linemen like he did in his first stint at Wisconsin.

“With Bob, I don’t wonder if he’ll be a good coach. I’m confident about that,” Chryst said during an event kicking off the 100-year anniversary of Camp Randall Stadium. “This was truly, what’s the best way to fill out our nine spots. I think with the 10th coach, there’s talk about it and you want to start to formulate a couple different directions you might go with it. But you don’t know when any of this is happening, so it was just, ‘What’s the best thing for this group right now?’ The 10th had no impact on it.

“I don’t feel like we’re taking a flyer on it or checking it out. It’s not an experiment.”

But that’s exactly what it is. Not in the sense that he’s just storing Bostad over there, but in the sense that Wisconsin has never attempted something like this, and therefore we have zero idea if it’s going to work or not.

Chryst got the idea to do this last spring when, for one day, he had the defensive coaches take over the offensive meetings and vice versa. According to Mike Lucas of UWBadgers.com, it was that one day that had positive returns and turned Chryst on to the idea.

Obviously, the coach thought about it for more than just that one day, but that is what he’s essentially basing the decision on — as if that one day was the experiment period. Any good scientist would tell you that’s not nearly enough time to consider all the variables, especially with something that goes so against the grain in football circles.

It’s an admittedly less-extreme version of someone saying they are going to flip the script on weight loss by eating a bunch of calories. Then after one day, and they’ve lost weight, it’s obvious in their mind it’s a good idea to keep going.

Certainly there is a benefit to having a guy like Bostad in the defensive meeting rooms. Like has been laid out since his hiring, Bostad’s extensive time and knowledge scheming against the front seven of opposing defenses will prove valuable for a veteran group of linebackers. But no one has offered anything past that as a reason for this being a good idea.

Chryst will tell you that good coaches can coach no matter the position, and he’s certainly testing that with Bostad, who showed what type of offensive coach he was during his six years in Madison when he oversaw 11 Badgers that would eventually get drafted into the NFL.

If it goes as Chryst thinks it will, how many other head coaches will rush to move offensive guys to defense? If it goes the other way, what will Bostad’s title be when he moves back to offense next season?

No Nigel?

For a second straight day, Wisconsin forward Nigel Hayes missed practice as he battles a groin injury that has bothered him for the last several weeks.

With the Badgers in a fight for every win and trying to work their way out of a slump that has seen them lose four of their last five games, they need Hayes in the lineup when Iowa comes to the Kohl Center on Thursday night — and it sounds like they’ll have that.

Hayes is lightning rod for criticism from fans. Whether it’s his erratic shooting in the last year, his struggles at the free-throw line or his willingness to speak up for important social issues, no one is taking more of a beating for the downturn in play from this season’s squad. But if Hayes doesn’t play against Iowa, you’ll see just how important the senior is. Because outside of his inconsistent shooting, he’s as complete a player as Wisconsin has had in recent memory with his passing, rebounding and defensive ability — in addition to his basketball IQ.

The Badgers won’t beat Iowa without him on the floor.

Badgers at the NFL combine

Wisconsin will be well-represented at the NFL combine during the next week, with six former players slated to take part. That started Wednesday as RBs Dare Ogunbowale and Corey Clement, along with OT Ryan Ramczyk, were weighed and measured. While that may seem like a rather irrelevant part of the proceedings, it actually is not —particularly for a guy like Ramczyk, who came out of nowhere to be a likely first-round draft pick.

Here’s how things looked for the trio:

OT Ryan Ramczyk

Because Ramczyk didn’t get to take part in any postseason all-star games, NFL teams had yet to get his exact measurements. They have them now, and they have to like what they saw. Ramczyk checked in at 6-foot-6, 310 pounds, with good-enough arm length, an important trait for an offensive tackle.

Because of the hip surgery he underwent following the Cotton Bowl, Ramczyk won’t participate in any of the on-field workouts. But the combine should give team doctors a chance to check him out to see where he is in his recovery.

RB Corey Clement

With Clement taking part in the Senior Bowl, most teams already had his measurements, though they were slightly different this time around.

The most important aspect of the week for Clement is the interview process and the on-field workouts.

Though it was just one incident, Clement is going to have to explain the fight he got into during the 2015 season that netted him a pair of misdemeanor citations and a 1-game suspension. His injury history will also be a topic of conversation, as he suffered ailments in each of his final three seasons that ended up keeping him off the field for varying amounts of time.

As for his workouts, Clement has never been considered a speed back, but if he can run a solid 40-yard dash time, something below 4.6, he should be in good shape.

RB Dare Ogunbowale

Based on his weigh-in, someone told Ogunbowale he needed to add some size after the Wisconsin season ended because the guy listed generously at 205 pounds by the Badgers came in at 213 pounds on Wednesday.

Ogunbowale was a model student and ambassador for the program, so the interview process should only enhance his draft position. His biggest key for the week is testing well — mainly in the 40-yard dash but also showing off his receiving skills to show teams he could be the next James White from Wisconsin.

Catching up

  • New Indianapolis Colts general manager and former Wisconsin WR Chris Ballard says his time playing for Barry Alvarez in Madison set him on the course to where he is now.
  • It might not be saying much, but Wisconsin and Purdue have the best odds among Big Ten basketball teams to win the national title — according to the sharps at Bovada.
  • Sophomore center Ethan Happ was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy, which goes to the best player in college basketball.