Luke Fickell eager to build upon Wisconsin’s winning culture Georgia’s Kirby Smart insists he has not lost control of program Alabama’s Rees, Steele both to make $1.9M this season
New coaches often spend their first few months contemplating the need to incorporate a different culture into their programs.
Consider Wisconsin Luke Fickell exception.
Fickell says the Badgers already have what he calls a “really good trail,” backed by 21 consecutive Wisconsin Cup games. He just wants to find ways to buff him up as the former Cincinnati coach prepares to start his first spring workout in Wisconsin on March 25th.
“Sometimes the biggest mistake you can make is going there thinking you’re just going to completely change the culture,” Fickell told The Associated Press. “You can improve and make things the way you want, but I think that nature in many places has unique cultures, especially here, that have kind of developed over a long time.”
Fickell believes that the lack of runaway turnover after a tumultuous change of coach is indicative of such a culture.
Wisconsin fired Paul Christ October 2, a day after a 34-10 home loss to Illinois. Sports director Chris McIntosh hired Fickell after many players called on the popular defensive coordinator and interim head coach. Jim Leonhard to get a job.
However, the Badgers haven’t lost many important members of the transfer portal other than the three-year-old starting guard. Graeme Merz, now in Florida. Forward lineman Michael Fertney and wide receiver Mark Allen went to the transfer portal, but then decided to stay.
In particular, Wisconsin managed to hold off a two-time 1,200 yard dash. Brelon Allen. Fickell said he reached out to current Wisconsin players, reminding them why they signed up in the first place.
“I kind of sold it just because I’m new, just because you don’t know me, trust and believe that the things that brought you here and the things that have kept you here still are the same things that go. be the one you love when you’re done here,” Fickell said.
But there will be notable differences under Fickell, who went 57-18 in Cincinnati and led the Bearcats to a college football playoff berth in 2021.
These changes should be most noticeable on offense.
New offensive coordinator Phil Longo ran an air attack variant for four seasons at the same position in North Carolina and intends to move some of that to Wisconsin. Although Longo said ball control will remain a priority, his arrival represents a dramatic shift in a program known for its ball control violations.
“It’s going to be a different pace and pace than what they’ve seen here for a while, perhaps offensively,” Fickell said. “But when you really go to study it, it will still be about the physical. It will still be about managing football and controlling the line of scrimmage.”
There are also many new faces.
Since Fickell’s arrival, Wisconsin has added 15 transfers, including two informal ones. Tanner Mordecaithrowing a school-record 72 touchdown passes at SMU, is one of three quarterback transitions on the Wisconsin roster.
Fickell says he would prefer no more than three or four transfers a year going forward. He noted that most of his incoming transfers have at least three more years of eligibility, giving new hires a better chance of developing them.
“I wouldn’t want to be in the world of transfer quarterbacks,” Fickell said. “I just don’t think that’s how you continue to support and build the program. Obviously we took three of them this year. We didn’t have many rooms in this room, so we had to do it.”
Wisconsin made it to the Rose Bowl as recently as the 2019 season, but hasn’t won a Big Ten title since 2012 and has gone 20-13 over the past three seasons, including a 7-6 mark last year. It’s a step back for a program that has played in six of the first nine Big Ten championship games and won the first two.
Perhaps a new approach might be useful.
“There is a trace, but at times it fades a little,” Fickell said. “Sometimes that’s when change isn’t so bad. I told my own son (Cincinnati offensive lineman Landon Fickell) when I left Cincinnati. I said, “The culture is here. Someone will come and adapt and correct the situation a little. In a way, it can give you a chance to get better.”
“I feel the same here. Recognize what’s really, really good, and then make sure you can improve what you know is important to what you want to do and how you want to do it.”
ATHENS, GA – coach for Georgia Kirby Smart insists he hasn’t lost control of a program that has held back-to-back national championships, but he’s been rocked by off-season arrests and a car accident that claimed the lives of a player and recruiter.
“There’s no shortage of control in our program,” Smart said ahead of the Bulldogs’ first spring practice.
“… Our guys are wrong. Historically, this is likely to happen when you are between 18 and 22 years old. Our job as coaches is to prevent that and that starts with me and you do that through how you train your players and how you discipline them and we will continue to do that at a high level.”
Wednesday’s professional day on campus for NFL general managers and coaches will focus on defensive tackle. Jalen Carterwho is considered one of the top picks in the April 27 NFL Draft. Carter’s draft prospects may be clouded by accusations of racing offense and reckless driving in the January 15 crash that killed a teammate. Devin Willock and recruiter, 24-year-old Chandler LeCroy.
The crash came just hours after the Bulldogs celebrated their second straight national championship with a parade in Athens and a ceremony at Sanford Stadium.
Georgia players said Tuesday they are still recovering from the losses of Willock and Lecroy.
“We were watching a movie the other day and I saw my boy Dev and it hit me really hard,” the defender said. Zion Log. “So you need to put all those things aside and get back to football. It was a tragic event. We have all learned from this. It’s just something very unfortunate.”
Added wide receiver Ladd McConkey: “A difficult situation. It’s hard to even talk about it. Just do what you can and love every day like it’s your last.”
Carter is due to appear before the Athens Municipal Court on April 18. On March 1, he released a statement on his Twitter account saying that he expects to be “fully exonerated for any criminal offenses.”
Carter is not the only Georgia player to face charges of racing on public roads.
Midfielder Jamon Dumas-Johnson, the team’s second-best player in 2022, was arrested on Feb. 22 on charges of reckless driving and racing. On April 17, Dumas-Johnson will appear in court.
Meanwhile the protector Stetson Bennett was arrested in Dallas on January 29 and charged with public intoxication.
Smart said “the expectations we have for our student athletes” are very important.
“Of course we didn’t meet some of those requirements,” Smart said. “We want our student-athletes to meet these requirements and we take it very seriously. Standards have long been established here. That doesn’t change and we want our players to live up to them.”
Smart said that when players make mistakes, “we treat them the same way we treat our kids. We discipline them. We are trying to prevent them. We are trying to educate them. We try to do our best to help our student-athletes in a positive way.”
Police allege in an arrest warrant that Carter was racing his 2021 Jeep Trackhawk against LeCroy’s 2021 Ford Expedition at the time of the crash. Willock was a passenger in an SUV driven by Lecroy.
Police determined that shortly before the crash, Lecroy’s expedition was moving at about 104 miles per hour (167 kilometers per hour). The arrest warrant states that Lecroy’s blood alcohol concentration at the time of the accident was 0.197. The legal limit in Georgia is 0.08.
Smart said that last summer, Athens-Clark County Police and the University of Georgia Police told players about the dangers of street racing. Seeing a teammate and employee die can teach a much more painful lesson.
“We feel that our players are beginning to recognize and understand that you make mistakes and make decisions that cost you dearly and can cost you your life,” Smart said. “This is not to be taken lightly and I think our guys understand that and we will continue to educate them and we will continue to do our best as a university to make sure they behave and do it the right way.”
Smart said that Lecroy should not have driven a car that is expected to be used only for work.
“It is clear that you cannot take a vehicle if you are not doing your duty and they were not doing their duty at the time,” Smart said.
TASCALOOSE, Alabama – Alabama offensive coordinator. Tommy Rhys and defense coordinator Kevin Steel each will earn $1.9 million next season.
The two were among 11 Alabama employees whose new contracts were approved by the university’s board of trustees compensation committee.
Rees and Steele both entered three-year contracts, with Rees receiving a promotion to $2 million in his second year and $2.1 million in his third year after arriving from Notre Dame. Steele returned for the third time as a coach Nick Sabanafter serving as the Miami Hurricanes’ defensive coordinator last season.
The next highest paid assistant coach is the offensive line coach. Eric Wolford ($925,000) and assistant head coach/wide receivers coach Holmon Wiggins ($875,000). All transactions, except coordinators, are for two years.
–Freddie Roachline of defense ($775,000).
–Robert Gillespierunningbacks ($625,000).
–Coleman Hutzlerspecial teams/outside linebackers ($595,000).
–Joe Coxtight ends ($425,000).