When Dwayne Ledford departed from the Louisville Football program in January to take a job as the Atlanta Falcons new offensive line coach, it left a big hole in the coaching staff. Ledford was well-liked and highly regarded as one of the best offensive line coaches in college football. Louisville needed someone to fill big shoes and they have found their man.
Jack Bicknell Jr played for Boston College in the 1980s. Eventually, he would coach the offensive line for his alma mater from 2007-2008. He is an experienced offensive line coach and has even been a head coach. He brings a wealth of both college and NFL experience to the staff. Bicknell was a head coach at Louisiana Tech from 1999-2006 and had a 43-52 record. He was an assistant offensive line coach for the Super Bowl champion New York Giants from 2009-2011 and the Miami Dolphins from 2014-2015. He was the offensive line coach for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012 and Pittsburgh Steelers in 2013. He returned to the college ranks on 2017 and coached the offensive line for Ole Miss until 2019. Last season, he coached the offensive line for Auburn. When Gus Malzahn was fired, the new coach did not retain Bickell.
Bicknell now comes to Louisville where he will try and continue to build on the legacy left by former offensive line coach Dwayne Ledford. He had good success in his 3 seasons in Oxford, MS.
His offensive line helped the running game average 183 yards a game during his 3 seasons as the OL coach. The best season was the 2019 season when Bickell’s offensive line helped the running backs gain just over 251 yards per game. For a run heavy offense such as Louisville’s, this is something that is excellent to see.
His offensive line also did a very good job in protecting Ole Miss QBs as well. In 2017 and 2018, Shea Patterson and Jordan Ta’amu both had excellent seasons passing. The Ole Miss offense averaged 328.4 yards passing a game with Patterson under center primarily and 346.4 yards a game with Ta’amu under center primarily.
In his one season at Auburn, the Tigers averaged 162.5 yards a game rushing. It wasn’t quite the success he had at Ole Miss, but the pandemic and him being new to the staff must be factored into this calculation. Auburn averaged only a little over 220 yards passing per game. Lead running back Tank Bigsby played in only 10 games, but had 834 total yards rushing, averaging 83 yards a game and a very respectable 6.2 yards per rush. He averaged just over 13 carries per game.
Bicknell brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to UofL. He has proven in previous stops to be able to produce an offensive line that can open up running lanes for talented backs. Louisville had a nice stable of backs and are obviously a run-heavy offense. His lines also allowed QBs at Ole Miss to be able to throw the ball consistently and for a lot of yards. With UofL’s propensity to run the ball to set up big play-action passes, Coach Bicknell seems to be a good match for this offense and is a very good hire to replace a very good coach.
*stats courtesy of sports-reference.com
To read more about the newest coach, check out UofL’s press release below:
PRESS RELEASE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT:
Louisville Hires Bicknell to Coach the Offensive Line
Jack Bicknell owns 33 years of coaching experience.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 8, 2021
LOUISVILLE, Ky.– Jack Bicknell Jr., who owns 33 years of coaching experience at the NFL and collegiate level, has been named the offensive line coach at Louisville, head coach Scott Satterfield announced Monday.
“Jack brings a vast knowledge of experience at all levels of football, including the last four years in the SEC and time in the NFL,” Satterfield said. “He helped the New York Giants win a Super Bowl and has been a head coach at the collegiate level. He’s had great success coaching offensive lines and looking forward to seeing how he develops that group. I’m thrilled that Jack will be a part of our program.”
Before joining the Louisville staff, Bicknell spent the 2020 campaign in the Southeastern Conference tutoring the offensive line at Auburn, guiding the Tigers to the Citrus Bowl.
Prior to his brief stop at Auburn, Bicknell spent three seasons rebuilding the offense at Mississippi.
In 2019, the Rebels were one of the top rushing teams in the nation, finishing second in the SEC and ninth in the country in rushing averaging 251.2 yards rushing per game. The Rebels ranked 11th nationally in the 5.39 per carry average and scored 29 touchdowns on the ground. That season, quarterback John Rhys Plumlee averaged 113.7 yards rushing per game, good for first in the SEC and eighth nationally.
“This is a great thrill to come to Louisville and work for Scott Satterfield,” Bicknell said. “More important than that, he’s a tremendous person to work for and he truly cares so much about his players. I’ve done everything in coaching so it was important for me to be in a good fit and be around good people. Furthermore, Louisville has a great reputation and has a chance to win every year.”
The 2018 campaign, Bicknell’s second season, saw an offensive line provide quarterback Jordan Ta’amu time to throw for an SEC-best 326.5 passing yards per game to rank fourth nationally. Left tackle Greg Little earned first team All-SEC accolades before becoming the highest Rebel drafted in the 2019 NFL Draft. The second team All-American was taken in the second round (37th overall) by the Carolina Panthers.
Bicknell coached an offensive line in 2017 that protected Ole Miss quarterbacks and allowed them to throw for a conference-leading 328.4 yards per game (11th nationally). With assistance from the offensive line, the Rebels ranked second in the SEC in total offense (462.3 ypg) and sixth nationally in red zone offense (.953). Under Bicknell’s guidance, Little earned second team All-SEC honors in just his second season as a Rebel.
Before his time in the SEC, Bicknell spent eight seasons as the head coach at Louisiana Tech (1999-2006), where his 43 victories rank as the fourth-most in school history. Following the 2001 season, he was named WAC Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a conference championship in its first year of membership. Bicknell also served as the Bulldogs’ offensive line coach from 1997-98.
Bicknell spent two seasons as assistant offensive line coach with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. Working with offensive line coach John Benton, Bicknell assisted to guide the Dolphins’ offensive line that helped protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill during a pair of 4,000-yard passing seasons. Bicknell’s line also paved the way for running back Lamar Miller to rush for 1,971 yards over the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
In 2014, the Dolphins produced 361 first downs, tied for the second-most in franchise history and most since 1985 when the team had the same amount.
Bicknell proved to be one of the best at the NFL level. He coached a variety of offensive lineman who found an abundant amount of success under his watch.
Despite missing the first four games of the season due to injury and making the switch to guard, Mike Pouncey was tabbed to his second-straight Pro Bowl in 2014. Tackle Ja’Wuan James became the eighth offensive lineman in Dolphins history to start all 16 games as a rookie, showing his versatility by starting nine games at right tackle and seven at left tackle en route to earning PFWA All-Rookie Team honors.
Bicknell came to Miami after spending the 2013 season as the offensive line coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers. While in Pittsburgh, Bicknell’s unit helped running back Le’Veon Bell amass 1,259 yards from scrimmage, the most by a Steelers rookie.
Prior to joining the Steelers, Bicknell served as the offensive line coach for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012 where he directed a unit that was instrumental in helping running back Jamaal Charles return to All-Pro form after an ACL injury cut short his 2011 season.
Bicknell began his NFL coaching career with the New York Giants in 2009 and was a member of a coaching staff that helped lead the franchise to its fourth Super Bowl title with a 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots on Feb. 5, 2012. During the 2011 season, the Giants’ line anchored an offense that finished fifth in the NFL in passing while only allowing 28 sacks.
Bicknell began his coaching career at his alma mater, Boston College, as a graduate assistant from 1985-86. Following his two seasons with the Eagles, Bicknell joined the staff at New Hampshire in 1987 and spent 10 seasons with the Wildcats coaching the defensive line (1987-92) before moving to the offensive line (1993-96). Bicknell returned to Boston College in 2007 as the Eagles’ assistant head coach/offensive line coach for two seasons (2007-08) before joining the Giants in the NFL.
A three-year letterwinner as an offensive lineman, Bicknell played collegiately for his father at Boston College from 1981-85 where he was the center for 1984 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Doug Flutie. It was Bicknell who snapped the ball to Flutie on the final play of the Boston College/Miami game which led to one of the most memorable conclusions to a game in college football history. The Flutie “Hail Mary” game-winning touchdown pass to wide receiver Gerald Phelan propelled the Eagles over the Miami Hurricanes in the 1984 Orange Bowl.
In Bicknell’s final season at Boston College, he was honored with the Scanlon Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a Boston College football player, the Scarminach Award for athletic and academic excellence and the Dean’s Award in the school of education.
Bicknell comes from a family of coaches. His father, Jack, was the head coach at Boston College (1981-90) prior to becoming the head coach of the Barcelona Dragons (1991-03) of NFL Europe.
Born in North Plainfield, New Jersey, Bicknell attended Orono (Maine) High School.
He and his wife, Helen, have three children, John, Katelyn and Alyse.