It wasn’t until weeks later that the Cleveland Browns reaching out to Wisconsin’s Gary Andersen became public.
Wisconsin announced a raise for Andersen on Jan. 25. Two weeks later, it was revealed Andersen had spoken with the Browns, and Wisconsin had a statement ready, where Andersen said he chose not to pursue it.
Andersen recently joined The Jim Rome Show and was asked about that conversation. Is the NFL something Andersen is keeping his eye on?
“No, it’s really not,” he said. “I think that whole thing got kind of blown out of proportion. Coach Alvarez and myself communicated through the whole thing. Sometimes, things blow up. It’s unfortunate, to me. I learned a lot from that situation. Maybe there’s a way I could have handled the situation a little different to make sure the people at Wisconsin understand where I want to be.
“My aspirations are to be in college football. When I was at Utah State, I never thought I’d leave Utah State. I thought that’s where I’d be. But I was allowed to be able to come here because Coach Alvarez allows you to be involved in kids’ lives at this level. That’s not always true to the point where we want to be involved in kids’ lives. The carryover was awesome. This is where I want to be. College football is a place I believe you can change kids’ lives forever. It’s hard to get that done in the NFL, from what I know, but I don’t know everything about the NFL, either.”
The Badgers went 9-4 in Andersen’s first season, losing their final two games. With his second spring wrapped up, he reflected on the first season and describes the biggest adjustments he had to make in the move from Utah State.
“It was a tremendous experience,” he said. “Year one is always very difficult. I was fortunate to be around a strong senior class. Twenty-five kids left this program from a year ago that allowed us to be able to come in and be involved in their lives and accepted what we were trying to get done as a coaching staff. We’ll always be indebted to those kids because they accepted us. Some of the young men in the program were on their fourth position coach at that time in their tenure. They handled it well.
“It was a great year. You learn a lot in year one. You learn about the Big Ten. You see it from a distance and go through the cycle. You gain more and more respect for the physicality, toughness and type of young men in the league, and then the coaches in the league. The recruiting was probably the biggest change. The amount of recruiting has to be done day by day all throughout the year is crazy. But recruiting is our No. 1 job. You can’t win games without good players. Coaching is way overrated. That was the biggest change from a recruiting standpoint.”
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