In his column earlier this week, Wisconsin State Journal writer Andy Baggot called attention to the blog firebretbielema.com. Included in his pokes at the site, Baggot wrote "its instigators are anonymous."
But in 2008, finding out who has purchased a domain is easier than tracking down Badger Allan Evridge's quarterback efficiency rating (which is 119.10, by the way). A quick visit to GoDaddy.com revealed the domain's owner as Jeremy Lange, who was kind enough to participate in the following brief email interview this week.
The Daily Page: Were you surprised the domain was available? I found an item on a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel blog from July, 2007, that indicated it was registered back then, but must have lapsed.
Lange: I was surprised. I checked for its availability the day after the Ohio State game more out of curiosity than any other motivation. I later decided to register the site and was mainly using it to play around with Google Blogger. The site actually existed for several days before the Penn State game, but it was only after that game the people started to search Google and the site gained momentum.
Several commenters on your site are questioning your Badger fan credentials, saying no true fan would build such a website. Care to present your resume?
I imagine my pedigree is similar to the majority of Badger fans. I grew up as a Badger fan and of course continued to be a fan during my undergraduate and now graduate education at UW. I do not consider myself a superfan, and I think the site reflects this attitude. My posts present how I feel about the Badgers' performance and from the people I've spoken to, I think that my reaction is shared by many loyal and dedicated Badger fans.
I think that's one of the significant misunderstandings of the site. I am not on a crusade to have Coach Bielema removed. In my ideal world, the Badgers will win every remaining game and the site's name will be a source of amusement. Just as my Penn State posts were upset with the team's performance, my posts will praise the team and Coach Bielema if we see the changes that all Badger fans are anxiously awaiting.
Those who defend Bielema this season often cite lack of execution on the part of the players in their three-straight losses. Bielema doesn't suit up, after all. Thoughts on this argument?
I, and most fans, recognize the difference between being outplayed and mental mistakes. The impetus for this site was the general frustration over the before-the-snap breakdowns that have nothing to do with size or speed. In the comments on the site, this has been a major point of debate. I personally feel this team is tremendously talented and that Coach Bielema is a skilled recruiter. Others feel differently, and the site provides an opportunity for both sides to discuss the issue.
Aside from the comments, have you been getting any other feedback on the site?
I have received some positive and negative feedback about the site. Most of the negative is related to the first two media responses to the site. As many people hopefully know, the site is not associated with any petitions or letters to recruits. Unfortunately, the group behind these supposed actions claimed responsibility/affiliation with my site, which is not the case. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel issued a correction, but badgerbeat.com have not corrected their error.
In addition, the comments to the article include my name, address, and contact information and a call to other readers to harass me personally. Thankfully, no one has followed through on this.
I'm a pragmatist and I know that Coach Bielema will not be fired now, at the end of this season, or likely over the duration of his contract. It would take an incredible meltdown for him to actually lose his job. That being said, I think there is still a place for debate over on-the-field performance and the eventual decision whether or not to extend Bret's contract.
For now, I'm going to continue to run the site as I have been with some polls for fans and the occasional post discussing the Badgers's play. I try to have some fun with the posts and hopefully make some people laugh. The motto of the site has always been, "Please prove us wrong Coach," and that motto will not change. If the anger over the site gets out of control, then I'll take the site down and that will be the end of it.