Luke Fickell beginning to put together Wisconsin coaching staff
MADISON — Wisconsin football is expected to look dramatically different in 2023, both on the coaching staff and perhaps in the dressing room.
New head coach Luke Fickell, who was due to meet with the current UW assistants on Wednesday, is expected to make several personnel changes.
Fickell will likely bring along defensive coordinator/linebacker coach Mike Tressel and co-defensive coordinator/safety coach Colin Hitschler.
Tressel, the nephew of former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel, was recently named the American Football Coaches Association’s Assistant Coach of the Year. Six members of the 2021 Cincinnati defense were drafted into the 2022 NFL draft.
Hitschler served as the team’s safety coach in 2020 and 2021 and was promoted to co-defensive coordinator ahead of the 2022 season.
However, their roles are yet to be determined, and it’s possible that Jim Leonhard could remain with UW as defensive coordinator.
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Leonhard has served as UW’s defensive coordinator since 2017 and was interim head coach for the final seven games of the regular season this year.
From 2017–21, UW finished in the top five nationally in total defense and scored four goals in defense.
During that run, UW’s average ranking was third in points allowed (17.3 per game), first in total yards allowed (284.8 per game), first in pass efficiency defense (110.5 rating), and third in the rushing defense (103.4 ypg).
Fickell could also bring in offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Gino Guidugli, who was the Bearcats’ quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator in 2020 and 2021 before taking over as offensive coordinator.
However, Guidguli is reportedly in the running to replace Fickell as Cincinnati’s head coach.
Another candidate to join UW with Fickell is Mike Brown, the Bearcats’ passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach. He joined Cincinnati as the wide receivers coach in 2019 and added the title of passing game coordinator this season.
When Gary Andersen left Utah State after the 2012 season, he retained only two members of Bret Bielema’s UW staff: running backs coach Thomas Hammock and assistant coach Ben Strickland.
Defensive coordinator Dave Aranda joined UW with Andersen and offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig was hired by San Diego State.
When Paul Chryst replaced Andersen in 2014, he retained only a second employee from Andersen. That was Aranda, who was then considered one of the better defensive coordinators in the nation.
Chryst planned to keep running backs coach Thomas Brown, but he went to Georgia, his alma mater, and Chryst then switched to John Settle.