Wisconsin assistant Zach Azzanni adjusting to his fourth job in four years

Posted by: Pete Roussel on Wednesday April 18, 2012


Posted by: Pete Roussel on April 18, 2012

Four years ago, if you told Zach Azzanni to prepare to change jobs and relocate four times in four years, he would have said, "No, thanks."

Azzanni, now in his first spring at Wisconsin under Bret Bielema, has moved from Central Michigan to Florida to Western Kentucky and now Wisconsin, all in the last four years.

Following Tuesday's practice in Madison, Azzanni said, "When you're a coach, you just kind of change your shirt and keep going.  It's all the same.  It really is.  You gel chemistry wise with coaches, but it's all the same."

"Coach Bielema has a great culture here.  You just kind of fit into the culture and go.  You figure out the way Coach Bielema likes to do it, which is different than all the other places I've been, and it works.  You fit in.  The first day might be a little slower, you're kind of feeling your way, and then you just hit it running and you're good."

He continued, "It's ball.  They're kids.  They're 18-22.  It doesn't matter whether it's here or Florida or Central Michigan, they're all kids.  It's football.  It's all the same."

As far as the group of wide receivers at Wisconsin, the 13-year veteran wide receiver coach didn't exactly inherit the ideal situation.

Azzanni said, "We got a bunch of guys that have never played in a college football game.  Really Jeff Duckworth is the only one that's caught a pass or run a route in a game. Really untested, a bunch of guys that really haven't played a bunch of ball, so they're getting thrown into the grease right now."

While he continues to develop the talent, Azzanni is demanding a physical style of play from each of his receivers.

He said, "It's a thing that I stress, I emphasize.  I think physicality in your game makes you better in everything you do out there.  Your releases, your route running, how you catch a ball in the air --- everything you do if your physical gets better faster."

Not only will the Badgers miss several key contributors at wide receiver from a year ago, but Russell Wilson is gone as well.

"People don't realize how much they threw the football here last year.  (They did) because they could," said Azzanni.

Wisconsin's first conference road trip comes against Nebraska in week #5.  By that time, Azzanni is certainly hoping he's got at least 6 or 7 receivers he can truly count on.

"Right now, I'd like to have 2 or 3 and keep building off of that."

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Pete Roussel is a valuable resource for coaches, athletic directors, NFL front-office personnel, and college football enthusiasts. A former college football coach, Roussel shares insight on coaches 365 days a year and is recognized as the most trusted expert on coaching transactions. Follow @CoachingSearch on twitter and send your feedback to pete@coachingsearch.com




Pete Roussel is a valuable resource for coaches, athletic directors, NFL front-office personnel, and college football enthusiasts. A former college football coach, Roussel shares insight on coaches 365 days a year and is recognized as the most trusted expert on coaching transactions. Follow @CoachingSearch on twitter and send your feedback to pete@coachingsearch.comtest