Madison, Wis. – The Wisconsin football program went through an offseason full of changes following the 2022 season.
With the firing of Paul Chryst and the departure of UW legend Jim Leonhard, Wisconsin Athletic Director Chris McIntosh signaled for a changing of the guard, bringing in Luke Fickell and several members of his former Cincinnati staff.
Brady Collins: The Spark Plug of the Wisconsin Football Program
Collins joined UW in January after spending seven years at Cincinnati. Before that, Collins made stops at Ohio State, Kentucky, and Mississippi State. Through all of his stops around the country, his love for strength and conditioning hasn’t wavered.
“It was always just kind of my niche,” Collins told BadgerNotes. “I knew I always wanted to be around the game of football, but I knew I didn’t want to coach it. I loved what the weight room did for me, and in turn I wanted to give back.”
Something the new Wisconsin staff has done extremely well is using social media to their advantage. From giving glimpses into the program during spring practice to the infamous bat signal, the program is putting out exciting content for the fans. Collins knows how important the social media game is in the current state of college football and has enjoyed seeing the fans buying into the new culture at UW.
“It’s definitely exciting and rejuvenating. Just like the players here, the fans appreciate and are excited about the new energy we’ve brought,” Collins said. “It’s just knowing what’s big in today’s world. You want to give not only the fans and the world a little taste and an insight into what’s going on, but it’s also great for recruiting.”
Although social media is important in the current climate, it can come with some inherent distractions. However, Collins has always kept his priorities straight and kept the outside chatter where it’s meant to be.
“We want to show that we’re unique and different, but the backbone of what we’re doing is building these young men to play the game they love and, when their careers are done, to be great husbands, fathers, or whatever life has for them,” Collins explained.
Strength and Conditioning Coach Brady Collins Discusses the Wisconsin Football Program
Collins has built a relationship with head coach Luke Fickell dating back to their time at Ohio State.
“He’s a head coach I’d go to hell and back with,” Collins told BadgerNotes.
Fickell viewed Collins as a program-building piece and called on him to come to the Wisconsin football program to coach up the players at UW. Coming to a new program can sometimes shift philosophies and approaches, but Collins has stuck to what he knows.
“It’s been business as usual for me,” Collins said when asked if any philosophies have changed since coming to Wisconsin. “It’s just about building these young men to be the best versions of themselves. We did a tremendous job at Cincinnati, and leaving that was hard. But I tell the players all the time that every single day I walk into this building, I don’t take it for granted. I’m blessed to do what I do with the guys I love to do it with, and I do it for a group of young men that I’ll go to war for any day.”
Collins has always appreciated Wisconsin. He grew up in the Big Ten landscape and had kept a close eye on the program for quite some time. Now that he’s in the Wisconsin football program, Collins has a newfound appreciation for the university.
“Ron Dayne was my favorite player when I was younger. I always admired this place from afar, but stepping into the facility and wearing that ‘Motion W,’ there’s just a sense of pride.” Collins said. “It’s just different. You walk into Camp Randall, and you know the history and the tradition, it can just give you goosebumps. There’s a standard here of excellence, and I want to continue and enhance it.”
Brady Collins Has Brought a New Energy to Wisconsin
One thing that stands out about Collins is the energy and enthusiasm he brings into what he does. This is nothing new for him, as he explains that he has always been a guy who brought the energy at every stop.
“I think I was born with a few screws loose, you can ask my parents, but I’ll never apologize for my enthusiasm. I’ll never be anybody else but me and that’s what’s got me to where I am in this career.” Collins told BadgerNotes. “I give every ounce of everything I’ve got for these young men because that’s what they deserve.”
Collins has believed in his abilities from the very beginning, and he has always wanted to be the best at his craft. He’s seen loads of success as a coach and knows how to get the best out of his players.
“It’s all about maximizing your genetic potential. You need to have a program that evolves and grows with the student-athletes. Every player is different, and players will change, but if we force everyone to do the same things you’re going to hinder their growth, and I don’t want to do that,” Collins explained. “Above all, it’s about keeping kids healthy and durable, and that starts in the weight room.”
Collins Discusses the Players Buying into the Culture
As mentioned, Collins feels a sense of pride in being Wisconsin’s strength and conditioning coach. One thing he’s appreciated during his tenure thus far is how the players have bought into the culture being built, making this group stick out to him.
“They are extremely hardworking, determined, hungry, disciplined young men. You tell them to do something, and it’s done. They take extreme ownership in what they do, and that’s a pillar of our program,” Collins told BadgerNotes. “What we put on film is obviously the number one thing, but everything we do behind the scenes is going to enhance and build that.”
Collins often tells the players that nothing is given and nothing will come easy, and the players have shown Collins that they appreciate that message and made it something that drives them.
“That’s something that motivates me. They embrace it. They love it. These players want to do things the hard way. There are days when we really push these kids and think we’re gonna get them, but they just band together and keep wanting more,” Collins said. “It’s a testament to these guys in the locker room.”
A Look Ahead to the 2023 Season
As we look towards the 2023 season, Brady Collins has set the team up for success in a variety of ways. From breeding competition in the weight room to bringing a new sense of energy, there’s an exciting culture being built in the Wisconsin football program, and Collins feels the team could thrive when the season kicks off.
“I’ll take the way we do things and how we train our guys over anybody any day of the week,” Collins said. “We are going to make teams uncomfortable. When we make teams uncomfortable, that’s when we get comfortable, and we’re really going to thrive.”
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