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#pounditFriday, January 27, 2023

Articles tagged: Wisconsin Football

Wisconsin lands major transfer QB

Dec 27, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Luke Fickell against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the second half of the 2022 Guaranteed Rate Bowl at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin made a big splash last month when they hired Luke Fickell, and the head coach may have already found his new starting quarterback.

Former SMU quarterback Tanner Mordecai plans to transfer to Wisconsin, according to Matt Zenitz of On3.

Mordecai threw 72 touchdown passes over the last two seasons at SMU. He was a finalist this year for the Davey O’Brien Award, which is given annually to the nation’s top quarterback.

After he was initially expected to declare for the NFL Draft, Mordecai entered the transfer portal on Thursday night. This will be the second time he has transferred, as he spent the first three years of his college career at Oklahoma before joining the Mustangs.

One of Mordecai’s most memorable plays came during the 2021 season when he completed a last-second Hail Mary to lead SMU to a win over Louisiana Tech (video here).

Fickell faced Mordecai twice when Fickell was the head coach at Cincinnati. Mordecai threw for just 171 total yards in those two games, but Fickell obviously has not held that against him.

Jim Leonhard makes big decision about coaching future

Wisconsin defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard is shown before their game against Illinois State Saturday, September 3, 2022 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. Photo Credit: Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Much speculation has settled around former Wisconsin defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard and his role under new coach Luke Fickell. As of Saturday, it appeared as if Leonhard had made up his mind.

Leonard has decided to remain at Wisconsin, likely returning to his role as defensive coordinator, according to Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. It is unclear if Leonhard might serve as a co-coordinator with Mike Tressel, who had been Fickell’s defensive coordinator at Cincinnati and appears poised to join the Wisconsin staff in some role.

Leonhard served as Wisconsin’s interim head coach down the stretch and there was some thought he would be a candidate for the permanent job. Even when that did not materialize, it was clear he would have opportunities elsewhere, especially since the NFL has given him looks before.

Fickell did make keeping Leonhard a priority, and appears to have succeeded. That is a win for the new Wisconsin coach.

Luke Fickell shares update on status of Jim Leonhard

Wisconsin defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard is shown before their game against Illinois State Saturday, September 3, 2022 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. Photo Credit: Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Luke Fickell is now the head coach at Wisconsin, and one big question many have had is what will happen with Jim Leonhard.

Leonhard played at Wisconsin from 2001-2004 and followed that with a lengthy NFL career. He later joined Paul Chryst’s staff with the Badgers in 2016 and quickly rose to the position of defensive coordinator.

When Chryst was let go earlier this season, many thought that Wisconsin was transitioning towards Leonhard, who had been regarded as a coach-in-waiting. Wisconsin went 4-3 under Leonhard, who has operated as the interim head coach.

Will Leonhard remain with Wisconsin under Fickell? Fickell says he met with Leonhard on Sunday and will meet with him again on Wednesday. Fickell said they had a “great conversation.”

If Fickell is able to convince the 40-year-old to stay on as a defensive coordinator or some other role, many will consider that a win.

Recall, Fickell was once in the same position as Leonhard. He went 6-7 as the interim head coach for Ohio State in 2011 between the Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer eras. Fickell remained with Ohio State even after Meyer was hired and resumed his old coaching position from 2012-2016 before leaving for Cincinnati.

Perhaps Leonhard will follow a similar path.

Wisconsin reportedly hires notable new head coach

Wisconsin has hired a new head coach after wrapping up a disappointing season on Saturday.

Luke Fickell has agreed to a deal to become the next head coach at Wisconsin, ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported on Sunday. While the contract is not yet finalized, the expectation is that it will be by Monday.

Fickell is in his sixth season as the head coach at Cincinnati. The Bearcats fell to 9-3 with a loss to Tulane on Saturday, but they are bowl eligible for the fifth straight year under Fickell. The coach has informed Cincinnati that he has accepted the Wisconsin job, according to ESPN.

Fickell led Cincinnati to the College Football Playoff last year after a perfect 13-0 regular season. The Bearcats were the first Group of Five team to ever reach the CFP. Fickell has an overall record of 57-18 in six seasons at Cincinnati.

It has long been viewed as only a matter of time before Fickell left Cincinnati for a more prominent job. The 49-year-old explained last year how he was able to focus on the task at hand despite seemingly constant rumors about him leaving the team.

Wisconsin fell to 6-6 on the season with Saturday’s loss to Minnesota. Former head coach Paul Chryst was fired by the school on Oct. 2 after a 2-3 start. He was in his eighth year with the Badgers and had led them to bowl games in all of the seven prior.

Report: Top school making ‘strong push’ to hire Luke Fickell

Sep 4, 2021; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats coach Luke Fickell stands with his team prior to the game against the Miami (Oh) Redhawks at Nippert Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Luke Fickell has drawn interest from several programs in recent years, and the Cincinnati head coach is once again being pursued by a top school.

Wisconsin is making a “strong push” to hire Fickell as its next head coach, ESPN’s Pete Thamel reports. While there is no deal in place, the Badgers have identified Fickell as their top target.

Fickell has been one of the most respected coaches in college football for years. Cincinnati fell to 9-3 with a loss to Tulane on Saturday, but the Bearcats are bowl eligible for the fifth consecutive year under Fickell. The only time they failed to post a winning record was in Fickell’s first season with the program in 2017.

Fickell led Cincinnati to the College Football Playoff last year after a perfect 13-0 regular season. The Bearcats were the first Group of Five team to ever reach the CFP. They lost to Alabama in the semifinal.

It has long been viewed as only a matter of time before Fickell leaves Cincinnati for a more prominent job. He explained last year how he was able to focus on the task at hand despite seemingly constant rumors about him leaving the team.

Fickell, 49, has an overall record of 57-18 in six seasons at Cincinnati. He reportedly had interest in at least one other job last season.

Wisconsin fell to 6-6 on the season with Saturday’s loss to Minnesota. Former head coach Paul Chryst was fired by the school on Oct. 2 after a 2-3 start. He was in his eighth year with the Badgers and had led them to bowl games in all of the seven prior.

Report reveals why Wisconsin OL Logan Brown was kicked off team

Wisconsin defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard is shown before their game against Illinois State Saturday, September 3, 2022 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. Photo Credit: Mark Hoffman / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

A report published on Thursday revealed why Wisconsin kicked offensive lineman Logan Brown off the team.

Brown tweeted on Wednesday night that he would be entering the transfer portal and continuing his “academic and football career” elsewhere.

Interim coach Jim Leonhard spoke with the media on Thursday and made clear that Brown had been kicked off the team. The Badgers coach cited an “internal incident” as the impetus for the move.

“The reality of what happened is that there was an internal incident here within the program and Logan Brown was dismissed from the program. It was not a choice. He was dismissed from the program,” Leonhard said.

So, what happened?

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Jeff Potrykus reported that Brown hit a teammate during practice on Wednesday. That led the lineman to be kicked off the team.

A former four-star recruit, Brown made three starts this season. Two were at right tackle, and one at left tackle for the 3-3 Badgers.

1 successful college coach would ‘crawl’ to get Wisconsin job?

Jul 22, 2021; Charlotte, NC, USA; N.C. State Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren speaks to the media during the ACC Kickoff at The Westin Charlotte. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin made a bold move over the weekend when they decided to fire Paul Chryst despite the coach being largely successful throughout his run as head coach of the football team. The question now becomes who will be the replacement coach.

Badgers defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard is the interim coach, and the belief has been that Wisconsin wants to give their former safety a shot at winning the job. But if Leonhard fails to impress for whatever reason, there might be another coach of note with eyes on the job.

Pete Thamel said on ESPN’s “College GameDay” podcast episode that was released on Monday that NC State coach Dave Doeren would want the job.

“My hunch is Dave Doeren would crawl there. He has Midwest ties. There’s some risk with Leonhard, there aren’t a whole lot of certainties once you go past that,” Thamel said on the podcast, via 247 Sports.

Doeren is a Shawnee, Kansas native. He played college ball at Drake in Iowa, coached throughout the midwest, and he was an assistant at Wisconsin from 2006-2010. Prior to NC State, he went 23-4 in two seasons at Northern Illinois. Doeren has gone 68-50 at NC State with three 9-win seasons.

The ceiling to win at Wisconsin is higher than it is at NC State, which has only had one double-digit win season in program history (in 2002 with Philip Rivers at quarterback).

If things don’t work out with Leonhard, Doeren would be a really strong hire if Wisconsin were able to land him.

Paul Chryst fired as Wisconsin head coach

The Wisconsin Badgers have made a major coaching change after a disappointing start to the 2022 season.

The Badgers fired head coach Paul Chryst on Sunday, according to multiple reports. Defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard will take over as the interim head coach.

The Badgers will owe Chryst $16.4 million if he is fired without cause, making this a very costly firing on Wisconsin’s part.

Chryst had been the coach at Wisconsin since 2015, and few would have put him on the hot seat prior to the season. He posted a 67-26 record at the school, but a 2-3 start to the 2022 season simply was not acceptable from the school’s point of view.

The Wisconsin job should attract some high-profile names, depending on how the school handles the search. Leonhard, who has been linked to high-profile NFL jobs, could be a candidate to get the gig full-time as well.

Ohio State trolled Wisconsin so hard during blowout win

Nov 30, 2019; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day before the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin got a (very bitter) taste of their own medicine on Saturday night.

The Badgers got curb-stomped by No. 3 Ohio State during their weekend showdown in Columbus. The Buckeyes opened up the game by scoring 28 straight points unanswered and eventually won by the blowout final of 52-21. At one point in the second half (when Ohio State had raced out to a 45-7 advantage), Ohio Stadium began playing “Jump Around” over the speakers.

Here are a couple of videos of the epic troll job.

“Jump Around,” the hit song by House of Pain, has become a trademark song for the Badgers over the last several decades. During games played at Camp Randall Stadium, the song starts blasting (between the third and fourth quarters), and Wisconsin students fittingly “jump around” to it.

The tradition has become so well-known that even the broadcast booth has (somewhat awkwardly) gotten in on the fun. But it was only a matter of time before an opponent with nefarious intent used the song against the Badgers. That is exactly what happened on Saturday evening in Ohio.

Wisconsin legend sends message to Caleb Williams

The Wisconsin Badgers are serious enough about trying to land Caleb Williams that one of the school’s most legendary players saw fit to reach out to the transfer quarterback.

Montee Ball, a former All-American running back for the Badgers, sent Williams a tweet on Friday encouraging the quarterback to come to Wisconsin. Ball punctuated his message by telling Williams that he would “not regret it.”

Ball formerly held the FBS record for career touchdowns and rushing touchdowns, so he’s probably the best ex-Wisconsin player to put forward when it comes to recruiting a star. He may even know something the rest of us don’t, though that seems unlikely.

There are a lot of rumors connecting Williams to Wisconsin as well, and the school’s athletic director has even contributed to the speculation. Seeing Williams playing for the Badgers would still be a surprise, but the persistent chatter suggests it should at least be taken seriously as a possibility.

Photo: OU quarterback Caleb Williams is set to lead the Sooners against Oregon on Wednesday in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio.