Jan. 19, 2011
MADISON, Wis. -- Charlie Partridge was happy for Chris Ash. Chris Ash was happy for Charlie Partridge. Both were happy for the opportunity to incorporate Dave Huxtable and Greg Jackson into their plan.
That’s how it has always worked between Partridge and Ash since their days together at Drake. And that’s why UW coach Bret Bielema felt so confident in naming them co-defensive coordinators.
“I’m anxious to get to work with Chris on the direction of our defense,’’ Partridge said.
“Two guys have to have similar beliefs for this to work and we have that,’’ Ash said.
Partridge and Ash were on the road recruiting Tuesday but they each took some time to discuss their new responsibilities and the addition of Huxtable to the staff as the UW linebacker coach.
“We have a lot of common people we know,’’ Partridge said of Huxtable, a veteran of 29 seasons as a college assistant, including the last three as UCF’s defensive coordinator.
“The one thing that excited us is the fact that, philosophically, we believe in a lot of the same things. His knowledge of being a coordinator and having called games is obviously a great resource.’’
Ash noted that Huxtable was the ideal fit for what the Badgers have been doing on defense because of “similarities in the schemes, what he believes in and how he approaches things.’’
Ash is also looking forward to Jackson, a second-year assistant, taking on more responsibilities.
“Greg will have a much better understanding of the players and schemes (on defense) going through a full off-season with us,’’ Ash said, “and his role will definitely increase as we go forward.’’
There should be a healthy and fresh exchange of ideas between all four coaches.
“I’ve been a part of staffs where everyone in the room has had big input,’’ Partridge said. “That’s what we’re excited about as much as anything. Chris and I have known each other for many years. And there’s no concern about ego getting in the way. That’s a big part of why it has a great chance to work.’’
Neither Partridge, the defensive line coach; nor Ash, the secondary coach, has worked on a staff with co-coordinators. Neither has Huxtable. But they are all committed to getting on the same page.
“Getting a chance to meet with them and talk some football reinforced what good people and good football coaches they are,’’ Huxtable said. “I’m sure they have a plan on how they’re going to make this work with the two of them and I’ll be excited to do my part whatever my role is.’’
What have Partridge and Ash talked about?
“We’ve started to piece together things, but we haven’t settled on anything,’’ Partridge said. “We’re putting everything down on paper that you’d expect a defensive coordinator to be responsible for and we’re dividing up those duties so we can take maximum advantage of co-coordinators.
“We’re going to reach out to some guys who have had success as co-coordinators and talk to them about it. Who calls the defense on game day? We haven’t talked about that yet.’’
Right now, they’re taking baby steps because the focus is on finishing strong in recruiting.
“We’re going to be a team and it’s not just going to be Charlie and me, it’s going to be everybody in the room,’’ Ash said. “We’ll work together to set the meeting times, the agendas for the meetings, and our defensive package. How we operate on our side of the ball will be a team effort.
“Some things we still have to work out. But Charlie and I know each other inside-and-out. We’ve now worked together at three different places (Drake, Iowa State and Wisconsin). I’m just real excited that Coach B (Bielema) has the faith in us to give us this opportunity.’’
First things first.
“We’re going to evaluate everything we did this past season,’’ Ash said. “There will be things we liked and didn’t like – typical things that every offensive and defensive staff does in the offseason. There will be minor changes but there will not be wholesale changes.
“We played some pretty good defense. Now, there are certain areas where we definitely have to improve upon and we know that. We’re going to research ways to do that. But we’re going to stay pretty consistent on defense with what we’ve been doing.’’
Pointed out Partridge, “We’ll take a look at where we were most successful as a whole on the year and where we got attacked. Any changes we make we’ll make within our general philosophical beliefs. We’ll keep our general structure and make adjustments as we set fit.’’
Sounds like a winning plan. “When you hire someone like Dave Huxtable – with the experience that he has – you have to be excited about the direction of our staff right now,’’ Partridge said.
Especially since it would appear that he fits so nicely into the plan.
“Your fundamentals are your priority,’’ said Partridge, detailing shared beliefs. “It’s about making sure you’re sound in everything you do, making sure you put the kids in a position to have success and making sure what you’re doing on the practice field carries over to the games.’’