MADISON - Serving as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for Nevada just a season ago, Andy Buh admitted to watching Wisconsin play every now and then.
Fast-forward a handful of weeks and Buh is now the linebackers' coach at the reigning two-time defending Big Ten champions. That's a place he's totally comfortable with. During UW's signing day festivities, BadgerBlitz.com had a chance to meet Buh.
The following is a question and answer with UW's new linebackers coach.
Just to get started, I guess you were kind of thrown right into the fire when you took this job. You had to get right out on the recruiting road. How did that work?
Buh: You know, I came in probably about a week before signing day.
So it was kind of a limited role?
Buh: Yeah, real limited. With Vince Biegel being the only linebacker in this class, but yet a coveted guy in the class, it was real important for me to get here. That was one of my top priorities once I got onto campus. I got with coach Chris Ash and I drove up to his home and met his family. I got acquainted with him and then he was able to come down for an unofficial last weekend. We got to spend some time together and get to know each other. Other than that, the transition has been really good.
And just adjusting to life in Madison and everything along those lines is pretty good now, too?
Buh: Oh yeah.
I'm sure it's a work in progress.
Buh: Yeah it is. Boy, what a beautiful town.
And you've had good weather for January.
Buh: Yeah, really good weather. Leaving Reno they were like, 'Hey, you better bring some warm clothes.' You know what? This reminds me of San Diego to be honest with you.
Don't get too used to it because I'm sure we're going to get pounded in March. That's how it usually works.
Buh: Yeah, but obviously good organizations have good people. That is all we've run into while we've been here.
Is that kind of what taking this job has been all about for you, especially when you go from being defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Nevada to kind of coming down to linebackers coach at UW? I didn't mean to make it sound like it was demotion or anything like that.
Buh: No, it's actually an upgrade. Obviously coaching in the Big Ten is a huge, huge deal. Chasing national championships and Big Ten titles while being able to represent Wisconsin, much like coach Bielema and coach Barry Alvarez and those types of names, are powerful people in this business. It's a great place to continue my growth in this profession.
Buh: Yeah, that was the first thing I looked at. Seeing Wisconsin play similar opponents throughout the year, I've been able to watch Chris Borland and Mike Taylor first hand. I've really admired the way they were coached and the way they've played. I knew I was coming in to a real great situation.
You talked about Biegel a little bit, I guess what do you see out of him? I don't know if you've been able to meet any of the young guys like Jake Keefer or the stable of other young guys at linebacker, but what is your impression of your positional players in general?
Buh: We've got a really good nucleus of guys. All of them are young. That's going to be great for me to develop a young group. Since it's signing day, Vince Biegel is a guy that plays the style of football that we're looking for. He's tough and he loves football. He fits the criteria's we look for. He has the rest. He has the size, he has the speed and he has the fanatical effort and toughness. We're really excited to get him to our group. We think he's a really good fit.
Now that signing day is done, and I'm sure you're going to get out on the road and recruit again, but from now and spring camp is it about recruiting and just kind of familiarizing with the system and getting to know all these other coaches?
Buh: Yeah, we've been working really hard with the X's and O's. Obviously the guys that have been here are going to take a much-needed rest, with the week off that coach is giving them. Once we get back we're going to grind back on the X's and O's and also find out what direction we're going to go in in terms of recruiting.
What's your style as a coach? How would you classify yourself as a coach?
Buh: Competitive. Okay, I guess that would be the one word to sum me up. I'm competitive. I want to win. And I want to have a professional relationship with the players and have a lot of fun doing it.