Jim Leonhard He would have preferred very different circumstances, but the former NFL and Wisconsin safety veteran was given the opportunity to lead his alma mater’s football program.
How long he has that chance depends on whether he can help Wisconsin save a season that has gone so far off track, leading to the former coach Paul Christshooting on the weekend. Leonhard admitted he has mixed feelings about his appointment due to his respect for Krist.
“I dream of getting out of this nightmare,” Leonhard said at a press conference announcing Krist’s departure.
Wisconsin (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten) opened this season in 18th place but found themselves in last place in the Big Ten Western Division after losing the last two weeks by a 55-point overall lead, including defeat 34–10 at home against an Illinois team led by former Badgers coach Bret Bilemah.
This led to the sports director Chris McIntoshthe midseason decision to fire Krist, a former Wisconsin player who has gone 67-26 since taking office in 2015. The choice of Leonhard as interim head coach was not so unexpected.
Leonhard, a former passer, turned All-American in Wisconsin before embarking on a 10-year NFL career. He joined Krist’s team in Wisconsin in 2016 and became defensive coordinator the following year.
“I really became who I am at the University of Wisconsin, in this football program, and among so many people who are still here today,” said Leonhard, who turns 40 on October 27. “To be able to be in this position. it’s not something I take lightly.”
The moment was still difficult for Leonhard because it came at the expense of Krist. Krist was on staff during Leonhard’s college playing career. Leonhard noted that he had no coaching experience when Krist put him in Wisconsin State.
Leonhard’s defense ranks among the best in the country every year, although the Badgers took a step back this season by replacing eight of the top 10 invaders. Wisconsin has the fewest yards per game and yards per game allowed of any team in the Football Bowl division last year.
“I’m sure no one can do it better than Jim at this point in time,” McIntosh said.
Leonhard’s next task is to cheer up the players, stunned by the sudden departure of his coach, before they prepare to visit the Northwest (1-4, 1-1).
Wisconsin players showed their support for Krista through social media.
Outside Linebacker Nick Herbig tweeted: “Still can’t say 4 words but one thing I know for sure: we play this season for you coach!! I love you beyond measure.” On the way back Brelon Allen tweeted: “Anyone who wanted Coach Krist to leave is not part of this team.”
“(For) most of these players, the deciding factor in moving to Wisconsin was Coach Krist,” Leonhard said. “(They) are very shocked by the news.”
The final seven games of the regular season now essentially serve as an audition as Leonhard tries to show that he should get the job for good.
“I feel like I can take this opportunity and help this place grow,” Leonhard said. “That’s why I came back a few years ago. That’s why I didn’t leave.”
Badgers believe they can still do something this year.
They want to avoid their first losing season since finishing 5-7 in 2001. The wide-open nature of the West’s Big Ten, with every team having at least one conference loss, means they still have a chance to challenge for a division title. .
First, they must return to regular play. Wisconsin hasn’t looked like himself until now, piling up penalties and missing out on the consistent offensive lineup that the Badgers usually get. Illinois essentially beat Wisconsin in its own game, outscoring the Badgers 137-2 and collecting five sacks.
Leonhard said he would like the Badgers to turn things around in part to show their appreciation for Krist.
“His family and this program mean everything to him,” Leonhard said. “I think it’s our duty, my duty as a coach, to get our staff and players to rally around him and really deliver on everything he has in mind for this team that we think still exists.”
Sweeney said Tuesday that Bresi is continuing to recover from a kidney infection diagnosed last week and will be out for the fifth-place Tigers rankings (5-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference). According to Sweeney, Breeze underwent tests and medical supervision and received positive news about his condition.
The coach said the 6-foot-5, 305-pound junior would take advantage of this week to get back into football shape.
This is the second game in a row and the third this season that Breese, the 2020 ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, will miss. He was against Louisiana Tech with his family after the death of his 15-year-old sister.
Bresee did not play last week in a win over North Carolina State after his infection was diagnosed.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound alumnus injured his left ankle in the Tennessee rout against Akron and did not participate in the Vols’ victory over Florida on September 24. Conference) visit No. 25 LSU (4-1, 2-10) on Saturday.
“Let’s see where he is,” Hupel said of Tillman. “He was limited, but today he moved a little. We will continue to monitor how things develop this week and see where we are.”
Heupel also said that the starting quarterback Warren Burrell will miss the remainder of the season following surgery for an upper body injury. Burrell missed the last two games after starting in 22 of 31 games played.
Tillman was Hendon Hookera player’s favorite goal that combines at least one touchdown in eight games with 11 touchdowns. Their combined 10 touchdowns tied for the fourth-most quarterback-receiver combinations in school history in a single season, three short of the record of 13 set by Peyton Manning Marcus Nash in 1997.
A final receiver touchdown gave Tennessee an overtime victory over then No. 17. Pittsburgh, September 10 Tillman had 1,081 yards last season and became the first Vols receiver to hit at least 1,000 yards in a season since Justin Hunter in 2012.
On October 15, Tennessee will host top-ranked Alabama. Hupel said Tillman would have to show that he could work and play at the level that both Tennessee and the recipient wanted.