Badgers Jim Leonhard Hire Comes With Risk
Wisconsin Badgers football have seen their defensive coordinator change like a flavor of the day at a custard place. Badgers hope their next coordinator will be there for awhile as Wisconsin hires one of its own with Jim Leonhard to coach the defense. There were some rumors of Leonhard getting the job, but the obvious thought crept in that he didn’t have the experience to take over one of the best defenses in the country. Paul Chryst didn’t think so as he gave the green light on Leonhard being the next defensive coordinator. This could work out really well for Badgers or be a tirefire, no real in-between.
Leonhard will likely stay in a 3-4 system as he played it all through his NFL career and worked with it well last season. He did improve the secondary to new levels with strong play from Sojurn Shelton, Leo Musso and D’Cota Dixon. Can he do it with a full defense? We shall see. The one thing about Leonhard that should quell some of the worries is he’s a brainiac and can pick up things pretty fast. Sometimes, smart men can’t teach because they don’t understand why others aren’t getting it, but the Troy, Wisconsin native did a good job with the secondary last season so it seems like that isn’t an issue.
Another thing to make you feel about Leonhard is played for Rex Ryan for years and years. Rex, while a bad head coach, is a fantastic defensive mind. My guess is Leonhard will spend a ton of time with Ryan this offseason to figure out what kind of defense he wants to run. Rex’s defenses were built through their front seven, and we’ll see if that’s the same for new Badgers defensive coordinator.
The risk here is obvious. He’s a one year coach and needs to deal with the big bad Big Ten. He might not be ready for it next season causing Badgers to not be as strong of a defense than they’ve been. It’s going to be a learning curve for Leonhard, and the hope is it will not take the full season. Good news for him is Badgers have two easy ones to begin the year so there’s some time to get his shit together.
Leonhard and Chryst are two hometown boys coaching for the hometown team. Gotta love it.