Gary Andersen to let Badgers players have say in hiring process

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Wisconsin needs a new running backs coach, and Badgers coach Gary Andersen said star tailback Melvin Gordon will be involved in the hiring process.

Badgers running back coach Thomas Hammock announced Wednesday he was leaving for the same job with the Baltimore Ravens.

Andersen told CBS Sports that he wants to hire a replacement for Hammock --- who was a holdover from Bret Bielema's staff -- within a week or so. Andersen said he expects a strong group of candidates.

"It's a job a lot of people are going to want, so we'll be a little bit patient," Andersen said. "We start spring ball a little early, March 7. I'd like to get it done in a week or so. ... Melvin Gordon's going to be involved in that decision because he's been around here for so long and understand what it takes. We'll let [the players] have a little bit of a say. I think that's important."

Gordon, who will be a fourth-year junior, will be the nation's No. 2 returning rusher next season, behind only Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah. Gordon rushed for 1,609 yards, 81 fewer than Abdullah, last season.

The new assistant also will get to work with Corey Clement, who rushed for 547 yards and seven touchdowns this season as a true freshman. The Badgers also signed three tailbacks Wednesday, including a junior college transfer. Those backs will run behind a big, physical line that returns four starters.

That Andersen is so transparent about letting the players be involved in the hire is a smart move -- it makes sense to keep star players such as Gordon happy. And it's not as if Andersen said he is going to let the players make the hire. He just said he will let them be involved in the process. Bottom line: Andersen is going to hire the guy he wants anyway.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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