The Giants were a pit stop for Bret Bielema
With how much success former New York Giants’ assistant coach and new University of Illinois football coach Bret Bielema had as a head coach at the University of Wisconsin, it was only a matter of time before he got another head job. I think the Giants knew that, which is why they didn’t give him a major coaching role this past season.
Throughout the season Bielema conducted college interviews, which I’m sure the Giants were on board with 100 percent. Then in mid-December he suddenly took the job at Illinois and left the Giants to take over in his new position with the university right away.
What’s really crazy is that Bielema left New York and drove to Pennsylvania to where Illinois was playing to conduct an interview with ESPN College Gameday. So it was obvious his heart was elsewhere and he was ready to move on.
During a recent interview with the Big Ten Network’s On The Bench podcast with Mike Hall he explained why he was so quick to get out of town.
“I’ll tell you — the thing that’s different in college football, which has been the most consuming element, is the transfer portal, obviously COVID with the one-year transfer rule. As you guys know, I had a lot of success with a certain graduate transfer,” Bielema said. “Now, I’ve got a whole team of ’em that you’re trying to recruit back to be a part of what you’re building that didn’t know me. So there’s some nuances in just the makeup of your roster.
“And I spent three years in the league, and really, to be quite honest with you, some of these guys are free agents. They’re one-year free agents, two-year free agents, three-year transfers. It’s a really different world. It’s something I hope we get a hold of as well because, as coaches, the last thing we want to do is have guys competing against current rosters on an uneven playing field or in a way that not everybody’s on the same board with. So there’s a lot within our game that I think we can get better in a short amount of time, too.”
I’m happy for Bielema and hope that he can find the success that he had at Wisconsin during his time at Illinois.