Bruce Feldman: What Fisch brings to UW, biggest challenges he faces

Jan 18, 2024, 1:43 PM

UW Huskies Jedd Fisch...

Head coach Jedd Fisch of the Arizona Wildcats on Nov. 18, 2023. (Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

(Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

The UW Huskies have a new head coach in Jedd Fisch, who comes to Washington after three years at Arizona. Someone who knows Fisch very well is college football insider Bruce Feldman, who works for The Athletic and FOX Sports.

Caple: Where UW Huskies roster stands as Jedd Fisch takes over

When it became clear that previous Huskies coach Kalen DeBoer was leaving for Alabama, Feldman joined Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob last Friday and shared who he thought Washington’s top head coaching targets would be, which included why he felt Fisch was a “strong candidate.”

UW felt the same way as just two days later, Fisch was officially hired to lead the program.

On Thursday, Feldman again hit the Seattle Sports airwaves, joining Brock and Salk to share his insight into what Fisch is bringing to the Huskies.

“He has networked very well. And more credit to Jedd, when he got the chance at Arizona, he crushed it,” Feldman said. “Anybody who knows him along the way and knows that what this journey has been like remembers the stories of Jedd leaving notes on Steve Spurrier’s windshield just to try to get a volunteer job at Florida when he was a student. This has been a long time coming.”

“I was not surprised he got that job (at Washington) and I was not surprised he wanted that job,” Feldman later said.

Fisch, 47, has coached at a lot of different places both in college and in the NFL, including as quarterbacks coach for both Pete Carroll’s Seahawks (2010) and Bill Belichick’s Patriots (2020). Is there any coach he is very similar to?

“I don’t have a good answer because he has such a eclectic coaching tree,” Feldman said. “There’s Spurrier, there’s Pete Carroll, there’s (Bill) Belichick. I mean, there’s a lot of guys who he’s picked stuff from. I don’t know if there’s one who I would say he’s most like.”

What Fisch does well, Feldman said, is he “has a vision” and gets people to buy into that vision regardless of where he’s coaching.

Fisch also isn’t nearly as intense as other notable head coaches.

“Jedd is definitely a little different than some of the coaches I can think of because some of the guys – not saying it’s not important to him – but you’re around them a lot and it feels like it’s life or death with them 24/7,” Feldman said. “Like (former Ohio State and Florida head coach) Urban Meyer – and I’m not breaking any news here – but he sucks the energy out of the room a lot because he’s so intense all the time. Jedd has like a breeziness to him that I think is a is a little different.”

Biggest challenges for Fisch at UW

The Huskies were competing for the national championship less than two weeks ago.

Now, nearly the entire starting roster – and even some key backups – are either heading to the NFL or are in the transfer portal.

“I think it’s rebuilding the roster because it’s just the day and age where everybody is gone,” Feldman said of Fisch’s biggest challenge at UW. “So you’re going from playing in the national title game to, I don’t know if it’s fair to say a massive rebuilding job, but he’s coach No. 4 in the last six years … That presents its own challenges, right?”

Fisch has shown, though, that he can turn a program around. Arizona was on an 11-game losing streak when he took over prior to the 2011 season, and the Wildcats finished as the No. 11 team in the final Associated Press poll this month.

“He took over a dismal situation in Tucson. I mean, not only without losing streak, it was like they were gutted. It was just a horrific situation,” Feldman said. “He’s taking over a situation (at Washington) that’s a rebuild, but they just (won 25 games in two years).”

The other challenge? UW will no longer be in the Pac-12 as 2024 is the Huskies’ first season as a member of the Big Ten conference.

“You’re going into the Big Ten and it’s a deeper league,” Feldman said. “This transition is going to be now like the travel transitions and some of the (logistics). I mean look, Jedd worked in the NFL and I think that will probably help him a little bit that you’re just used to (that) …  I just think there’s a whole bunch of new challenges when you’re talking about also going to be playing a lot of new guys together.”

Listen to the full Brock and Salk conversation with college football insider Bruce Feldman of The Athletic and FOX Sports in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

More on Jedd Fisch and the UW Huskies

• Brennan Carroll, son of Pete, named UW Huskies OC under Jedd Fisch
• UW hooked Jedd Fisch with chance to consistently contend for titles
• Takeaways from Jedd Fisch’s first UW Huskies press conference
• Arizona Reporter: Potential UW Huskies transfer target, Fisch thoughts
• Hasselbeck, Huard share thoughts on UW Huskies coach Jedd Fisch
• Video: Brock Huard breaks down UW Huskies’ hire of Jedd Fisch

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Bruce Feldman: What Fisch brings to UW, biggest challenges he faces