February 3, 2012

Patriots Beat: That man from Orono prowls the sidelines

(Continued from page 1)

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Jack Bicknell Jr., an assistant coach with the Giants, is the son of a former UMaine head coach and was part of an Orono High dynasty.

Mike Lowe/Staff Writer

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And that's what intrigued him the most. As a head coach, he said, you sometimes lose touch with the fundamental base, the details of football. As an assistant, you can get right back in there and work on the things that make a difference.

"I think Jack has proven himself everywhere he's gone," said Steve Abbott. "First as a player at BC, then as a coach, first at UNH (where he was a line coach), then at Louisiana Tech and now with this opportunity.

"Every place he has gone, he's done a great job. And I'll tell you why he's a great coach. It's because he has a great way with people. He has a love of the game, but he also has a great love of life and it's that human touch that makes him a great coach."

Bicknell thinks about Maine often. He considers Maine Coach Jack Cosgrove -- who was his father's quarterback for the Black Bears -- one of his best friends and an exceptional coach, noting, "that's going to be a tough act to follow."

The respect, said Cosgrove, is mutual.

"I can't say enough about Jack and his family, and what they represent," said Cosgrove. "He's just a guy I think the world of. He's grounded deep in the substance of Orono, Maine."

Whether he ever becomes a head coach again remains to be seen. It's not something Bicknell is seeking. He loves what he's doing now. And what he's doing this week, amid the chaotic buildup to the Super Bowl, is a whole new learning experience.

"They talk about how you have to stay focused and all that, but that's a big part of it. You look what's going on around here," he said, waving his arms at the hundreds of interviews being conducted. "Then you've got to get right back into the biggest game of your life."

And when the game starts, there will be some fans with mixed emotions back in Maine.

"I love Jack, I really do," said Abbott. "But I've got to cheer for the Patriots."

School ties only go so far.

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

mlowe@pressherald.com

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

 

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