New Arizona Wildcats head coach Jedd Fisch will be relocating to Tucson on Monday, but before that he met with a fellow Massachusetts resident who knows a thing or two about UA football.
On Saturday, Fisch hosted former Arizona linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who conveniently lives 15 minutes away. Fisch said his goal was to have Bruschi educate him on the UA program.
Fisch said his main takeaway from the conversation was that the Wildcats need to recapture what made them so successful during Bruschi’s Desert Swarm days.
“It was great, it was awesome,” Fisch said. “Tedy came over, we had a coffee. You notice that we were six feet apart. I made that very clear in the picture. I took out the tape measure to make sure we’re good there for our social distancing plan, but we were able to speak about a lot of things. And one of the main things was I wanted him to educate me on the program. I said, ‘just talk to me. Talk to me about what it was like when you got here. Talk to me about, you were a defensive end, you are a five technique on the open side, you were seven technique on a tight end side, what was that like? How did you get recruited? What was the defensive mentality? How did you guys become so tough and strong and physical? What are we missing? What do we need to do to bring it back? What’s most important to you? And as we continued to share, there were plenty of other things that he and I talked about privately, and I understand in the same conversations I’ve had with many other alumni over the course of a week.”
These are important conversations for Fisch. Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke said UA was going to hire a head coach who understood the history and values of the football program, a box that Fisch, on the surface, does not check. His only tie to the UA is his daughter, a current student.
Former UA players were understandably distraught when Arizona hired a total outsider, but Fisch seems to understand their concerns and is doing what he can to get them on his side and make sure their opinions are heard and valued.
“What I’ve asked them to do is to open up this forum and open up this relationship, and welcome our family to Tucson in the same way that we want to welcome them into our building,” Fisch said at his introductory press conference. “That our football facility and our practices are going to be open in the springtime. We want people to watch us go. We want our alumni and we want our fans and we want people to see what we do because I want everyone to understand how hard we’re going to work, how much we’re going to try to get back to where it once was in 1998 when they were fourth in the country and 12-1. I had an unbelievable conversation with Tedy Bruschi, both last night and this morning, and really understand where University of Arizona football was, and really looking forward to trying to get it back to that place that nobody wanted to play Arizona football and were a team that played angry, a team that played mad. We were a team that played tough and we were a team that found a way to hold the team to 30 yards rushing per game, which is about the craziest statistic I think I might have ever heard in the game of football.”
I asked new Arizona coach Jedd Fisch about his conversation with UA legend Tedy Bruschi, who conveniently lives 15 minutes away.— Ryan Kelapire (@RKelapire) December 26, 2020
Fisch said he wanted Bruschi to "educate him on the program." His main takeaway from the conversation was "we got to be more like them." pic.twitter.com/2APZ2qOruA