Notebook: Jim Leonhard Talks Success; More Badgers Videos

Jake Kocorowski

LOS ANGELES -- In only three years as Wisconsin defensive coordinator, Jim Leonhard has guided two groups of players to top-10 national rankings in several major team categories.

In 2017 -- the first season commanding the unit -- UW led the nation in pass efficiency defense while also finishing second in total defense, and third in both scoring defense and rushing defense. Leonhard claimed a Broyles Award finalist nod, given annually to the nation’s top assistant coach.

Now in 2019 as the team prepares for its Rose Bowl matchup against No. 6 Oregon on Jan. 1 (4 p.m. CT, ESPN), Wisconsin currently ranks fifth in the FBS in sacks per game (3.8), eighth in both total defense and rushing defense, and 10th in scoring defense.

On Sunday morning, a reporter asked Leonhard with the success and recognition attained so far, and when potential interest from outside the program comes about, what he feels keeps him at UW or wanting to be a defensive coordinator and not taking up a head coaching mantle. Are those things that he thinks about it?

"I think it validates what you're doing, right?," Leonhard said. "You're always questioning what can you do better, and when you're getting recognition, it validates, 'I'm on the right path. We're doing the right things.' 

"We have a great staff here that helps me out. It's definitely not just me, so just trying to make sure those guys understand how valued they are as well. 

"But at the same time, there's only one place to do this job -- that's home, and that's Madison for me. That's the draw of staying with the Badgers, and we have a great locker room. We have great players. It's a good mix of guys that are very smart and talented, so I love that. I think it is truly what college football is about, is what we try to preach to our guys every single day and what they value and what the culture of this program is."

MORE VIDEOS brings you videos from the following Wisconsin defensive players during Sunday morning availability.

Outside linebacker Zack Baun

Safety Eric Burrell

Defensive lineman Isaiahh Loudermilk