“IF YOU CAN BELIEVE IT, THE MIND CAN ACHIEVE IT.”
Jim Leonhard ready to take reins of Wisconsin’s defense
- Updated: February 3, 2017
After Wisconsin head coach Paul Chryst weighed Jim Leonhard’s interest in replacing Justin Wilcox as defensive coordinator — “Is this something you’d like to do? Is this something you’d want to do?” he asked — Leonhard reflected on how everything had fallen into place after his 10-year NFL career.
“A year ago, if you were to ask me if this was going to happen, I’d probably would have laughed at you — not knowing exactly how it was going to go and how it would work out,” said Leonhard, who had no previous coaching experience prior to taking over the UW secondary last season.
“Paul brought me in and asked me if I was interested. He thought I was ready and he thought I could handle it. I was excited about the possibility and kind of wanted to see where I was at — if I really wanted to entertain the idea.
“It went a lot of places initially,” Leonhard acknowledged of his thought process, “trying to decide if it was the right time and if I was ready. The actual calling of the plays and designing everything, I feel very comfortable with. It’s the rest …
“It’s building the relationships with the guys and the staff. It’s making sure of all the details in the day-to-day (operation). It’s structuring practices and meetings. It’s kind of the whole big picture of it. I was just making sure I was going to be comfortable with that and the time that went along with it.
“The longer I thought about it,” said Leonhard, the energy building in his voice, “the more excited I got about the possibilities and what could happen and I jumped at the opportunity.”
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