Mark Whipple shares early impressions, praise for Bret Bielema ahead of showdown with Illinois
Mark Whipple likes the job Bret Bielema has done. The offensive coordinator for the Nebraska Cornhuskers praised the Illinois head coach for his coaching career dating back to Bielema’s time at Iowa and Kansas State.
Nebraska OC Mark Whipple has admired the work of Illinois’ Bret Bielema for two decades, dating to Bielema’s time at Iowa and K-State. His D-line play has especially impressed Whipple — since Bielema coached Wisconsin.
Of course, Whipple said, “he had J.J. Watt, which helps.” pic.twitter.com/FLxc1PXICx
— Mitch Sherman (@mitchsherman) October 26, 2022
Bielema owns a 108-66 (.621) record over his 14 years as a head coach. He spent seven of those years in Wisconsin where he went 68-24. Bielema also went 29-34 in 5 seasons with Arkansas before holding his current job at Illinois.
His best marks came in Madison where he enjoyed 4 double-digit win seasons. Bielema won the Captiol One Bowl in his first season in Wisconsin and took the Badgers to back-to-back Rose Bowl appearances for the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
Fast forward to the present and Bielema has Illinois off to a fantastic 6-1 start. The mark certainly got the attention of Whipple, who previously served as head coach at UMass and the University of Pittsburgh’s offensive coordinator last season.
Will Bielema get the best of Whipple and company on Saturday? If so, Illinois might further its claim as the top contender in the B1G West.