On Wednesday, Dec. 23, The University of Arizona hired its next football head coach in Jedd Fisch, which surprised some people, but all he has done so far is prove the doubters wrong.
Fisch talked to the media for the second time on Saturday, Dec. 26 and gave some thoughts on his mentality, coaching views and how he wants to move this program in the right direction.
“It's a wild situation in college football, with [COVID-19] and the transfer portal combined into one,” Fisch said. “This is what happens when you get hired as a new head coach Christmas week, while living three thousand miles away. Over the course of this week, I am connecting to our current players and getting to know them and what they’re thinking.”
Throughout the past regime, they have failed to recruit high-level players from nearby high schools and it has hurt the program over time. Before a coach and team can tap into different states, you have to be doing well in your current state.
“We need to focus in the state of Arizona first and foremost,” Fisch said. “Too many Arizona guys are slipping out and we got to own the state of Arizona. We have to do a good job in Southern California, Nevada and consider looking at the Utah area and some parts of Texas. We have to recognize what has been going on and we have to find a way to have consistent winning. We have everything we need. We have a great campus, great facilities and we have all the varsity sports that win.”
The Wildcats have two very successful basketball, baseball and several other programs but football is the one on the outside looking in right now. Last year, Arizona unveiled a new $16.5 million practice facility for the football team located across from Arizona Stadium. It seems like all of the pieces are in place. So now is the time to start putting it to work.
“You have to turn over a culture and before you know how to win, you have to know how not to lose,” Fisch said.
In some of the Wildcats’ games over the last two years, they have been close but either turned the ball over late in the game and bad decisions led to losses. Football is more of a mental game than a physical one. Sometimes the smarter team wins instead of the better one.
“I would say my best trait is relationship building,” Fisch said. “When players believe and trust you, then we can start to build something special...I always thought of U of A as a fun place, and would say to myself, ‘that looks like an incredible atmosphere.’ The resilience comes from my parents, my dad always said if you want to do anything, just do it.”
Fisch has had a lot of stops along his football coaching journey, so he has absorbed knowledge from many legendary coaches including Bill Belichick, Pete Carrol and Sean McVay.
Fisch posted a picture this morning of having a cup of coffee with Arizona legend and three-time Super Bowl Champion Teddy Bruschi. The two connected because of how close they live to each other, Fisch coming off a year of coaching for the Patriots so he has been in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
“I wanted him to educate me on the program, talk to me about how you were recruited and your defensive mentality and what we need to do to bring it back,” Fisch said. “We have to find a way to get back to where they were and if we can we will have a chance.”
Fisch hasn't said if he will retain any coaches from Kevin Sumlin’s staff or if he will be bringing in an entirely new one, but he is looking for certain types of people to lead this program in the right direction.
“They have to be great teachers and developers of talent,” Fisch said. “We have to be a player development program first and foremost.”
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