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Wisconsin football coach Luke Fickell will take a cautious approach with the transfer portal.
The Badgers are looking to fill a lot of gaps and find improvement across the roster after an incredibly disappointing season that saw Paul Chryst lose his job.
However, fans hoping to see the portal get attacked hard by Fickell are in for some disappointment.
The new Wisconsin coach told the media the following earlier in the week when talking about his view of the portal, according to 247Sports:
We did not want to be a transfer team. I do not want to be a transfer team (here). I am a high school recruiting guy who thinks it’s about the development of young men. We signed 22, 23, 24 guys over the last three years at Cincinnati. Sometimes people will say, ‘You signed this transfer and that transfer.’ Yeah, but we have had a matrix for transfers. We have had a literal matrix on how they have to hit these points in these situations and these things. The last thing I want to do is bring a guy into our program — here in particular — that is going to mess with the culture and mess with the environment and relationships.
Is Wisconsin coach Luke Fickell’s stance the right one?
This is an interesting stance from Fickell, at least when it comes to the immediate future in Madison. The Badgers need help, especially at quarterback.
Graham Mertz just isn’t the answer. If that’s not clear to fans at this point, it never will be. I never miss a Wisconsin football game, and there’s no question the time to move on Mertz has arrived.
In the final four games of the year, Mertz averaged 126.5 passing yards, completed 45.9% of his passes and had two passing touchdowns to four interceptions. You know the quickest way to get a proven quarterback? In the transfer portal. It’s become normal for solid QBs who lose their job or just want a fresh start to hit the portal.
For example, Hudson Card and Cade McNamara are both in the portal right now. Both players could be immediate impact players at a lot of schools, including Wisconsin.
We’ve also seen hitting the portal hard strategy work out well elsewhere. Lane Kiffin is making a name for himself as a portal kingpin.
Having said all that, I actually think sticking to building classes out of high school is probably a better long term success strategy than hopping into the portal every offseason. It shouldn’t necessarily be avoided, but used when necessary. It’s much easier to build a culture by building massive, talented and stronger classes. If the program becomes a revolving door, that’s not going to be good for anyone.
Fortunately for Luke Fickell, he’s got a blank slate to do with what he wants. It should be fun to see how he attacks the situation.