February 9, 2010

Bostad talks about recruiting the Midwest

MADISON - Bob Bostad played an integral role in securing defensive tackle prospect Beau Allen out of rival Minnesota. In addition to that huge commitment, Bostad also locked up several of the top recruits within the state.

At the conclusion of Bret Bielema's signing day press conference, BadgerBlitz.com caught up with the offensive line coach. During the interview, Bostad discussed the recruitment of Allen, recruiting the state of Wisconsin and the perception of UW outside of the state borders.

The following is a question and answer with Bostad:

To start, it's just got to be an exciting day for you guys.

Bostad: Yeah, for us we've known about this class and the kids and stuff. It's good to have some closure.

You hear coach Bielema talk about it and some of the other coaches here, too, but selling the fit is big selling point for you guys. Is that what you guys take pride in when you go out on the recruiting trail?

Bostad: Well, I think it still comes down to identifying good football players. I think we all deal with some different things in different areas so I think it's important for everybody that goes out to understand maybe what their niche is. Those things vary a little bit. But we do talk a lot about that. We do talk about personality and just some of those special qualities that you may see when you see a kid or meet a kid and spend some time with them. We do take some stock in there.

I know you spend a lot of your time working the state and surrounding states. When you go into Minnesota, and I know Beau Allen is a little bit different because he has some history here with his family, but do you get the sense that people think Wisconsin is a great place to go? Even with some people that you might not necessarily reel in?

Bostad: Are you talking about Minnesota?

Yeah, anywhere that you go really.

Bostad: I think that people have a tremendous amount of respect for Wisconsin and like the way things are done here. Now, does that mean the kids are going to jump over the borders and come in here? I mean, Beau Allen was not a lock by any means. That thing went right down to two or three weeks out. It was tough for him.

He had probably 15-plus legitimate offers and he's a smart kid and he wanted to process through all those things. He wanted to find his best fit. I just think we just out work people and just pure persevere. We didn't put ourselves in a bad light ever. So we had a chance to get in the door so to speak. That's about as much as we had and we had to take it from there.

I think in answering your question, you have a chance to get in the door with the border states because there is a tremendous amount of respect for Wisconsin and the things this school has accomplished. So yeah, it's a good thing. And you know what? Recruiting kids on the border, I'm just a huge believer of it.

I think that whether you get kids from Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio, those kids know what the Big Ten is. There is a lot of pride there and you don't have to reeducate them.

You mentioned that you work hard as coaches on the recruiting trail. Do you think that wears on the players when they see you? Does it give them an impression that, 'Hey, I like what these guys are doing. They're working really hard and I want to be a part of that.'

Bostad: Well, I think that there's a little bit to it. I'll tell you a story about Beau Allen. Charlie Partridge and I were scheduled to fly up to see him in the first contact period and our flight got cancelled. Well we were supposed to see him at 7 o'clock at night and our flight got cancelled around 2 o' clock. We didn't find out until later on. So we just ran right out of the airport, jumped into our car and drove four and a half hours up to the western side of the Twin Cities and got to his house around 9:30 or 10 o'clock.

And you know the whole time, he was saying, you know, you don't have to do this. No, we do have to do this. We want to do this. It's important. It's the very first day of open contact. We want to be the first ones in the house and we want you to know how important you are to us. We're not just sitting back and reeling guys in.

Was it bad weather?

Bostad: They said it was mechanical or something like that. I think the wing fell off. I'm not sure. (Laughing)

Well you might not have gotten there without a wing.

Bostad: No. (Laughing)

But it's one of those things when a kid…

Bostad: Yeah, a lot of guys might have said, 'what are we going to do? The plane is broke.' We just said, hey, are you ready to ride four and a half hours? Here we go. Let's go.

It was never a question?

Bostad: No, it was never a question. It was, okay, here we go.

Just kind of a general recruiting philosophy question. Does it matter if a kid is playing at an established high school program or is it all about the kid?

Bostad:You know, all those things are factors in it, but I think you better know how to separate or to hold it against them or not. If they are at a better program sometimes it exposes more. If they are at a lesser program, sometimes it gives them some leeway and disadvantages. I just think you've got to find a way to look through all that stuff. At the end of the day, do you see that kid playing for you on a Saturday.

Kind of a change in direction, but you heard somebody ask coach Bielema about it, but the state of Wisconsin talent wise for football, it's higher than people give it credit for isn't it?

Bostad: I think you are going to see that there are probably going to be quite a few kids that are going to sign division one scholarships. I really think it's kind of a ridiculous topic myself because it simply comes down to demographics. I mean, there are four million people in the state of Wisconsin. What do you want? I mean, let's be real here. There's a reason why California is great. There are four million people in half of Los Angeles. Who are we kidding here?

It's just hilarious how these people talk about how the rich states are Texas…It's demographics. There are more people. How stupid can you get?

It's pretty obvious.

Bostad: It's obvious. You do the best you can in your state and you move on from there. I mean, come on. But acting like you know something that we don't, it's simple knowledge. It's simple math. I mean, wake up. But you know what, these guys have got to say something to keep their jobs otherwise nobody is going to listen to them. I mean come on. How stupid can these guys get. I don't know if these guys think they are kidding anybody when Joe Schmoe sits there on the couch and says Florida is great. Well, there are a lot of people in Florida. There are some demographics and some other things that are involved that makes it a big state. But don't be fooled. There are good players up here and there are good players down there. There is just more people.

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