In a prime opportunity to generate national exposure, new Arizona football head coach Jedd Fisch appeared on Colin Cowherd’s The Herd radio show Tuesday to discuss his new position, what he learned from coaching mentors and how the Pac-12 can return to a premier football conference.
Here is a lightly edited transcript of the interview, which was also televised on FOX Sports 1.
On the one thing Fisch took from Pete Carroll: “Energy, the guy has incredible positive energy. And the passion that he brings is just phenomenal.”
On the one thing he took from Sean McVay: “Work ethic. That guy is an absolute machine. The guy’s a phenomenal communicator, and he’s done a just an incredible job making sure that everybody knew exactly where they stood at all times.”
On the one thing he took from Bill Belichick: “Process. The guy, unbelievable in terms of really every aspect of the program and really understanding what it takes, how to get there, what you need to do to accomplish a certain goal, and then how to put it all together.”
On the one thing he took from Mike Shanahan: “Offense. I think if you look at everything right now in the league of people are trying to replicate and emulate…we all learned that from Mike. He was ahead of his time and his offense is still one of the top five offenses in the NFL.”
On Fisch’s thoughts about locker room chemistry in relation to the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback situation (Fisch was college roommates with Eagles GM Howie Roseman): “It’s such a unique situation that they have going on over there. What we’re trying to do here, we’re talking about everything being personal. That’s a big message we’re telling our guys, it’s personal. And I think it comes with building a trust and relationship with your team. Not knowing what went on over there (in Philadelphia) and not knowing the set of circumstances that occurred that might have caused them to make the decisions they make, it’s real hard for me to comment on it, but I just know in our situation as we’re trying to build our program that we want it to be all about building a trust building relationship and really making it personal between the player to coach, coach to coach, and the team and the teammates around one another.”
On what college recruits are looking for in a modern head coach: “One of the things that we’ve been talking about with our guys is trying to take that mentality of we can help make you a pro. And with that, we’re talking about being proficient at your task, having a relentless attitude and being original. And I think that original is the key to this whole process. Bill (Belichick) is the original Bill, and I don’t think anyone should try or could try to be Bill. And I feel the same way about Pete (Carroll). I feel the same way about Coach (Jim) Harbaugh. You get to learn from these guys, and they’re tremendous teachers, educators and leaders of men, but they all do it their own way. And what we’re trying to do here in Arizona is do it our way, taking so many different leaders and try to learn from them but in our own way, be the original team, the original Arizona football staff of 2021 and really explain to our student athletes and the guys we’re trying to recruit that you come here, we’ll help make you a pro, but we’re gonna do it in our own way.”
On how long Fisch thinks Belichick will continue coaching: “I would say this Colin, there is no one that has more competitive stamina than coach Belichick. He is a relentless worker. He is a phenomenal educator. And I think what coach does more than anything is coach grooms young coaches. And he educates all of us. I try to put myself in the category as still young, but he educates the guys in his program, and he helps build it up and teach you how to be the very best at what you are. I can’t see him having any interest in slowing down. He certainly never did. He was the first one in, and he’s an unbelievable teacher and a master of football.”
On what the Pac-12 needs to do to return to prominence: “We need to get the momentum, the energy and it comes from winning, right? Like in everything, you got to be competitive. You got to play good football, you got to produce professional athletes, you got to make people proud of what they watch on Saturday. They have to be good competitive football games. I think when things are going well, we obviously know what it felt like when Coach Carroll was the head coach at USC or when Coach Harbaugh was at Stanford. And I think what we need to do is we need to really build that and find a way to get that back and get that energy back. And it really comes from more teams being good. Not just one team, not just two teams, but the more teams that can be good the better the games are every Saturday then all of a sudden that Pac-12 After Dark becomes something that nobody wants to miss and everyone wants to stay up for.”