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Wisconsin Football Fans Can Pump the Brakes on the Hot Seat Talk



Wisconsin Badgers football head coach Luke Fickell
Apr 11, 2023; Madison, WI, USA; Wisconsin defensive coordinator Mike Tressel, left, talks with head coach Luke Fickell during practice Tuesday, April 11, 2023 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. Mandatory Credit: Mark Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

The Wisconsin football program suffered a brutal loss 31-22 loss to Washington State on Saturday night. UW came in looking for revenge but ultimately suffered the same fate as last year’s matchup. 

It was a terrible showing at some moments; there’s no denying that. However, I need to say this head-on: What are we doing here talking about Luke Fickell, Mike Tressel, or Phil Longo being on the hot seat?

Look, I understand emotions are high, and maybe the Luke Fickell era hasn’t lived up to expectations thus far. I get it, believe me, I do. But guys, it has been TWO GAMES. One hundred twenty minutes of football has been played, and we’re talking about a hot seat? Come on, folks. 

In Defense of Wisconsin Football Defensive Coordinator Mike Tressel

Mike Tressel’s defense was arguably one of the most disappointing aspects of the loss to WSU, specifically in the first half. Through two games, it has been a theme that Wisconsin struggles to generate a pass rush (Keeanu Benton, you are sorely missed). However, there were some flashes of what this defense can do when they get pressure in the second half. Darryl Peterson picked up a huge sack that gave UW some momentum, but unfortunately, the offense was not able to capitalize. 

While it is frustrating that the defense hasn’t lived up to expectations, should Wisconsin football fans really be ready just to pack up Tressel and send him out the door? No, that’s ridiculous. 

I know that Jim Leonhard is a Wisconsin football legend, and it would have been amazing to keep him on board. Heck, I hope he makes it back to Madison at some point before his coaching career is over. That said, calling for Leonhard to take over for Tressel is woefully premature.

I’ll reiterate I understand emotions are high after a tough loss, but as my mother used to tell me, think before you speak. Tressel’s defense showed some flashes of what it could be in the second half. Of course, that needs to be a consistent thing — you don’t win football games with flashes of potential — but there are some building blocks there. The defense has been disappointing, no doubt, but all I’m saying is to give him some more time to work the kinks out (which there are many). 

Luke Fickell on the Hot Seat? Seriously, guys?

As I’m writing this, I’m hearing a little voice in my head that is asking me why I’m even entertaining this notion, but I just don’t think I can sit here and not point out how utterly ridiculous this is. 

I wish I were joking, but I saw a tweet saying that Luke Fickell needs to be fired and Wisconsin football should demote themselves to Division II. I’ll say it a third time: I know emotions are all over the place, but what are we even talking about here?

I shouldn’t even have to explain how premature it is for a coach who has made an instant impact in attitude, recruiting, and national recognition in general, to be let go because of two poor showings. These crazy knee-jerk reactions are not helpful or productive, no matter how you spin it.

Please don’t take this as me saying that Fickell doesn’t deserve some flack; he absolutely does. At the end of the day, the coaches are responsible for getting their players prepared for a game and putting them in a position to win, and he failed to do that this week. Now, does that tell the whole story of who he is as a coach? No, absolutely not.

Again, I’m completely aware I’m talking to a very small subsect of the Wisconsin football fanbase. However, I just don’t think I could have sat on my hands without at least putting my words out there on how silly all this talk is.

Let’s just all take some deep breaths. Next weekend’s matchup against Georgia Southern should allow the Badgers to get back on track. There is a lot of season left, folks, and the Big Ten West is still very much up for grabs — especially considering some teams’ performances this weekend. 

Luke Fickell and Mike Tressel are not going anywhere soon, ladies and gentlemen.

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Jake Maier is the managing editor and publisher at He has provided coaching and editorial support to numerous writers in his role, contributing significantly to the platform's growth. His expertise extends to Wisconsin Badgers football, basketball, and recruiting coverage. Jake's previous bylines can be found at Fansided and Wisconsin Sports Heroics.