Breaking News
More () »

'This year has been challenging, yet amazing': Going one-on-one with WSU's Jake Dickert

Even by college football's standards, Dickert's transition from defensive coordinator to head coach has been a whirlwind.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Even by college football standards, Jake Dickert's transition at WSU has been a whirlwind.

He was thrust from his defensive coordinator position into the interim head coaching job in October under the most unusual of circumstances after Nick Rolovich refused to get vaccinated. He was then elevated to fulltime head coach immediately after a big Apple Cup victory. Then, he had to deal with a Sun Bowl that included their original opponent dropping out due to COVID mere hours after the Cougs landed in El Paso.

But, there’s no stopping in Division I football. Not even for a second.

"No, and that’s the honest truth," said Dickert when asked if he's had any time to reflect on the last few months. "Every once and awhile at night my wife and I will sit and try to take a breath and sometimes she’ll say, ‘You know, we still haven’t really talked about what’s happened.’ I think down the line someday I’ll really stop and say, ‘This year has been challenging, yet amazing.’"

Those challenges have certainly brought changes in Dickert’s routine. 

As a self-proclaimed football guy, this time of year is a bit different for him now as the man in charge.

"There’s not as much day-to-day schematics, which I really miss. That’s been a big part of who I am. I got to spend a couple days in the defensive room last week, and I was like, ‘Man, I miss this.’ We’ve hired some great people that I know and trust, and they’re going to execute exactly what we want to do. That’s probably the biggest thing that’s not easy, but I miss the most," said Dickert.

He keeps pushing ahead though, as he’s trying to establish his vision for his program.

"Be different," said Dickert when asked the identity of his program. "We’re hashtagging the #NewWa22u mindset because while people see me as very consistent, this is a new program and a new time. There was a moment there through the interim and even through the bowl game where we were stuck in neutral. Then once the new year hit, we hit it into drive. The biggest thing that I want everyone to know is that we want a program built on accountability. I think we have a roster full of guys that really care. I think that’s an important part of what we want to do going forward. When we have a group of people who love each other, who care about each other, who not only want themselves to improve but they want to take the man next to them with them, I think there’s a lot of power in that."

Someone, according to Dickert, who embodies that is his new quarterback Cam Ward, who’s the presumed starter next season.

"Let’s start with the person. He’s great in school, he’s great as a leader. I think he’s really going to be the face of our program, and he can handle that limelight, and I think that’s pretty special. Then you turn the tape on, and-- I think this is dangerous-- but I always equate him to Josh Allen. The first day I saw Josh Allen throw at the University of Wyoming while I was there, my jaw dropped. I was like, ‘This is different.’ And you can see it that quickly."

Dickert hasn’t been able to watch his new quarterback in person yet as he’s not allowed to do so until spring camp, but he says he knows that Ward is already making a substantial impact. 

That’s due to Cameron’s former head coach being Eric Morris, who is now WSU’s new offensive coordinator. Thus, Cameron has knowledge that other WSU players simply don’t.

"He’s one of our best coaches right now. He’s coaching the other quarterbacks, he’s coaching our receivers, he’s doing a lot of extra time with those guys on our own. It’s like picking up an eleventh assistant with Cam right now because he knows the offense so well, and he loves this game. It’s fun to see and watch, and I can’t wait to see him out there in spring ball," said Dickert.


Before You Leave, Check This Out