MADISON, Wis. — Travis Frederick was surprised when coach Bret Bielema told the team he was leaving Wisconsin to coach Arkansas. The Badgers' starting center couldn't blame him, though.
I guess I was a little surprised, but it's a very good opportunity for him, Frederick said after players met with Bielema on Tuesday night. I'm sure he'll do well.
Most players declined to comment as reporters waited to talk to them. Some said Bielema urged them to remain focused on the Rose Bowl.
Frederick also said he was unsure who would lead the team going forward, and athletic director Barry Alvarez — the former coach who picked Bielema to succeed him — said in a statement that he has a responsibility to ensure the program continues at a high level and that he has already started the process of looking for a replacement.
Some players took to Twitter to lobby for Paul Chryst, the former Wisconsin offensive coordinator in his first season as head coach at Pittsburgh. Offensive lineman Ryan Groy tweeted Paul Chryst! Paul Chryst!
I understand the speculation surrounding my name given today's developments, Chryst said in a statement released by Pitt. I am committed to the Pitt football program and the University of Pittsburgh. I am focusing all my time and energy on our team's bowl game preparation and recruiting a great group of young men to join our program and this outstanding university. We are working hard every day to re-establish this program and I am excited about the future of Pitt football.
Alvarez said he was surprised when Bielema told him he was taking the Arkansas job, but thanked him for his work over the past seven seasons as head coach, both on and off the field.