The Wisconsin Badgers have an energy about them currently that have fans excited for the 2023 season, be it because of the daily videos they’ve posted, recruits they’ve landed, or the new coaching staff, headlined by former Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell, who was hired to the same position late last year.
Fickell’s impact has clearly been shown thus far with the coaching staff he’s put together, as well as the number of high-end recruits and transfers he’s been able to land since joining Wisconsin, transforming the football program.
However, Fickell’s biggest trait has arguably been player development, as he’s taken three-star players and molded NFL players out of them.
A big aspect of that? New strength and conditioning coach Brady Collins, whose infectious energy has made him an early favorite in Madison.
But, the story goes much further than Wisconsin for Collins, who has been with Fickell since their days with the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Collins’s strength and conditioning program has helped players grow in regard to their size and play strength, significantly impacting the product on the field.
Through the daily videos that the football program has posted on Twitter, it’s clear that Collins is a huge leader in the locker room, aided by his distinct personality.
Would you a seat at the table? pic.twitter.com/spVfLjPoca— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) February 20, 2023
Organized chaos ‼️ pic.twitter.com/AUmPFCk23U— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) February 17, 2023
How did Collins gain that extra edge and energy to become the person he is?
“I think I was just how I am. I’m a little crazy myself. I’ve got a big heart,” Collins said. “I think I can relate to these young men because I’m up to date on a lot of current things. I still consider myself young, but I’m 36. It’s just kind of who I am.”
While the strength and conditioning coach deems himself crazy, Collins prides himself on the work ethic he’s built for himself, which he credits to his parents.
“When I was young, I was wild and reckless. But, I’ve always had an extreme work ethic and attention to detail, and that’s been engrained in me since I was a kid. And I credit that to my parents.”
How did Collins end up as a college coach after a short football career and focus as a wrestler in college?
He built a desire to become a football coach, as it allowed him to impact college lives, not only off the field, but more importantly, off the field.
“I love what I do. It’s really connecting and building relationships, not only with the young men, but also the family and seeing what their dreams and goals are.”
Throughout his coaching career, Collins has preached the mindset of remaining together and doing things the right way, which is why he and Fickell connected during their time at Ohio State.
“You’ve gone to battle with these guys, be it in games, in practices with all these. It’s very rewarding to know that, when I was at Ohio State, [Luke Fickell] did things the right way. The coaching staff: they’re great coaches, they’re great leaders, they’re great fathers. That’s what we pride ourselves on.”
Speaking to the media last week, co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Colin Hitschler addressed Collins’s unique personality and why he has become a favorite in the locker room.
“Well, the best part about [strength and conditioning coach] Brady Collins is Brady is Brady. So he’s, he’s not acting, he’s not putting on a show. But, he is the same intensity every day from now until the day he dies,” Hitschler said. “So he leads this pack because he’s just a guy that everyone wants to be around. He loves kids and creates relationships with the guys and they follow him because of the love he has from them.”
With Collins at the helm, the Badgers have adapted the mindset of earning everything and deserving nothing, and the early results have been promising.
While the only important matter will be what happens on the field, there’s a clear transformation within the football program, and Collins is at the forefront of it behind the scenes.