COLLEGE PARK, MD – OCTOBER 04: A view of the Big Ten logo on the field during the game between the Maryland Terrapins and the Ohio State Buckeyes at Byrd Stadium on October 4, 2014 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images)
There were a handful of Big Ten football teams that really struggled in 2022. But while several head coaches have already paid with their jobs, another coach is being urged to make some wholesale changes.
On Monday, Louie Vaccher of WildcatReport.com made the case for Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald to “clean house” and make wholesale changes on the team. The Wildcats went 1-11 in 2022, losing 11 straight games after narrowly winning their season-opener against Nebraska.
Vaccher called for Fitzgerald to replace both of his coordinators then re-evaluate his strength staff and even his recruiting staff. He believes that something is “very, very wrong” and that Fitzgerald should treat his job like it’s his first year.
“Fitzgerald, a coach that often looked like he was going through the motions this year, too, is known for being loyal to coaches and players throughout his career in Evanston, at times to a fault. But now it’s time for him to be loyal to something else: Northwestern. He needs to do the right thing for the program and clean house.
“It needs to start at the top, with replacing both of his coordinators. After that, everyone and everything is fair game. Fitzgerald needs to evaluate and make decisions on position coaches, as well as his strength and recruiting staffs. He needs to re-evaluate his roster and look at where he can add key pieces in the transfer portal to make the team more competitive immediately.
“In short, Fitzgerald must look at the entire operation like it’s his first day on campus. He needs to blow it up and start over because something is very, very wrong.”
Pat Fitzgerald has lifted Northwestern into a force to be reckoned with in the Big Ten, going 106-81 with 10 bowl appearances between 2006 and 2020. He led the Wildcats to the Big Ten Championship game in 2018 and 2020.
But over the past two seasons, the Wildcats have gone a mere 4-20 and finished near the bottom of their division in three of the last four seasons.
Changes are clearly needed at Northwestern for the Wildcats to get back on track.
Will Pat Fitzgerald “clean house” this offseason?