MADISON — Wisconsin confirmed late Friday morning that it has hired former offensive line coach Bob Bostad as the team’s inside linebackers coach.
“I’ve had the privilege to work with Bob for a number of years. I know who he is as a coach (and) a person. I think it’s a great fit,” coach Paul Chryst told UWBadgers.com. “He’s been here. He knows the type of kids that have success at Wisconsin. Couldn’t really be more excited to have Bob here.”
Bostad is filling the void left by Justin Wilcox leaving to take the head coaching job at California. It will be Bostad’s first time on the defensive side of the ball in his 27-year career, though he did play linebacker in college at UW-Stevens Point in the late 1980s.
“Defensively, a lot of the conversations are about how to stop the run game, how to beat protections. As an offensive line coach, he’s been looking at defenses, specifically the front seven,” Chryst said. “I know he can teach. I know he can coach. I think it’s a great tool, especially for our veteran linebackers, to keep expanding their growth. I think they get to see the game through a little different lens.”
Bostad is more well known as an offensive line coach, serving in that post at Wisconsin from 2008 to 2011 after spending his first two seasons coaching the tight ends and serving as running game coordinator. Over his six years in Madison, Bostad coached 11 players that went on to get drafted in the NFL, including three first-round picks.
“There will be a learning curve and all that,” Bostad told UWBadgers.com of the move to defense. “I hope to take the edge off in the spring and all that stuff. Get to know the base defense and the calls and the fits and coverages and all those things. But after that, I think it’s going to come down to, like any other position, it’s going to come down to the details.”
Bostad went with Chryst when he got the Pittsburgh head coaching job in 2012 but never coached a game, instead being tabbed to coach the line with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL. He was there for two years before taking the same position with the Tennessee Titans. He spent last season coaching the tight ends and fullbacks at Northern Illinois.
The group Bostad inherits is among the more talented on the Wisconsin roster. The Badgers return their top six inside linebackers from 2016, including juniors T.J. Edwards and Ryan Connelly, while senior Jack Cichy and sophomore Chris Orr will be back on the field after injuries end their seasons early last fall.
“It seems like a really blue collar group. Tough guys, finish guys,” Bostad said. “I like that mentality and what they’re going to bring to the table.”