A University of Mississippi football intern who aspires to be a college football coach is learning how to do that by working with the Ole Miss Rebels.
Alex Wottreng is Ole Miss football’s offensive and special teams intern. He aspires to be a Division 1 college football coach.
Wottreng was an All-Conference high school football player, but said he wasn’t ready to play at the college level. He knew he wanted to pursue his dream career of being a part of a football team, as he attended the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
During his freshman year at UW-Whitewater, Wottreng was a student assistant on the coaching staff and was a part of a 15-0 Division 3 national championship team. After that season, they were on a 45-game winning streak from previous seasons.
“My experience at Whitewater gave me an introduction to how a college football program is run and also taught me how to sustain success while fighting complacency,” he said.
During his second year at UW-Whitewater, Wottreng began reaching out to Division 1 schools to work at a higher level. He made a connection with a staff member at Ole Miss. He was then offered a job and scholarship by video. He accepted and transferred to Ole Miss while he finished his undergraduate studies.
“In contrast to my experience at UW-Whitewater where it was the maintenance of a dynasty, Ole Miss was the rebuilding of a program that was two years removed from a two-win season,” Wrottreng said.
In Alex’s first three years at Ole Miss, he got to see the likes of Johnny Manziel, Odell Beckham Jr, many more first round draft picks and multiple Heisman Award winners. During those first three years, the Rebels improved by a game each year (8-5, 9-4, 10-3).
“Alex showed his passion for the game, spending long hours and late nights watching film, learning technique, and recruiting,” said Bobby Krebbs, who works with Ole Miss running backs.
Krebbs said Wrottreng keenly watches how plays work and the various efforts that go into a winning team.
“Over the years, my experience with teams has always been growing, and I hope it doesn’t stop,” Krebbs said.
Krebbs said players should always have a growth mindset instead of a fixed one, meaning players should grow and learn from every game – not only when they do good, but also when they do bad.
“There is no reason to stop learning or trying to become your best self,” Krebbs said.
Krebbs and Wrottreng are always on the field together, so they know very well how a team works together.
“Winning is the main goal in mind, but it isn’t always the only main goal to have,” said Krebbs.
Both Krebbs and Wottreng agree that winning isn’t the most important part of the game. The experience and skills learned throughout playing are important.
“One of the most valuable football lessons I learned while being at Ole Miss is that a coach is only as good as his players,” Wrottreng said. “A coach can have the best scheme and technique possible, but if he doesn’t have talented players running the scheme and technique, he will struggle to be successful in this league or any. This taught me the value of the recruiting process in college football.”
While Wottreng is competitive and driven for success, he has learned those are important morals, but not the most important things to emphasize to young student athletes.
“Watching Coach Freeze interact with his players completely amazed me when I came to Oxford,” Wottreng said, “because he talks about life, being a good husband, father, and honorable man to his football players more than wins and losses.”
Seeing Coach Freeze’s style, Wrottreng said he wants to coach and impact young men’s lives.
“Unlike many college football coaches out there, Coach Freeze wants his assistant coaches to bring their wife and kids around the facilities to help show what being a real husband and father looks like,” he said. “It is truly a family atmosphere. We do life together here.”
Wottreng fondly recalls all of his football experiences.
“My love of the game started at a very young age, but the impact my coaches had on me, and seeing how football coaches can be a father figure to so many young men, and get them on the right track in life, drove me towards being a football coach for my career,” he said.
Wottreng said he wants to have success winning championships, but recognizes that impacting hundreds, or even thousands, of lives is a legacy.
“My coaches had a very big impact on me growing up and were father figures, not only to me, but to many of my friends and teammates,” he said. “I feel that having those great coaches did me and many of my teammates a lot of good growing up.
“Coach Richardson runs a magnificent program at Verona Area High School (in Wisconsin) with an unbelievable staff, and they do a great job for kids from elementary and middle school up through varsity. I have been blessed to be around top notch coaches at Verona, Whitewater and Ole Miss.”
Wottreng is excited about this football season, but is interested in moving to a lot of different places throughout America as a coach. Coaches are often moved to different schools or jobs.