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The Arizona Wildcats finalized their coaching staff on Wednesday with the hiring of Jeff Casteel, David Lockwood, Bill Kirelawich and Spencer Leftwich. Head coach Rich Rodriguez has worked with Casteel, Lockwood and Kirelawich at West Virginia and his familiarity with the three will pay dividend as practice begins. While everyone in Tucson is excited for the future of Arizona football, I thought it would be interesting to see what those in Morgantown thought of their three coaches heading west.
I recently asked WVUIE97, the lead writer for the excellent WVU blog, The Smoking Musket, about the coaches and what the UA should expect from them.
Q: Most fans know about Casteel and his background, but what can you tell us about coaches Lockwood and Kirelawich? Did anything about their time at WVU stick out to you after all these years?
A: Coach Kirlav is basically a WVU lifer, joining the staff back in 1979 and serving WVU football in some form every year since, mostly as the DL coach. The usually salty coach is always good for a quote and telling it like it is. He's always seemed to get more out of unheralded players than most not knowing his history/prowess would imagine. Kirlav is also a decent recruiter, at least in his usual territory of western PA.
Coach Lockwood is a WVU alum who was a defensive stalwart on the 1988 undefeated team. Lockwood moved around a bit, including a stint as a coordinator before coming home to WVU. He's a good recruiter and an excellent coach of technique. Many credit him for turning Keith Tandy into the player he developed into. The previous CB coach, Gibson, who I believe also is joining the Arizona staff, wasn't big on technique, at least not when he was a WVU. Players have stated that he would tell them, "just get to the spot." Lockwood came in and changed that, and with that change came nice strides of improvement in the cornerbacks.
Losing Casteel is tough, but these two were my favorite defensive coaches because we were usually confident with what their players would do on the field.
Q: Among the three coaches heading to Tucson, which ones tend to be known as the primary recruiters of the bunch?
A: Kirelawich was a decent recruiter, but not really of note. Casteel wasn't known as a recruiter much. Lockwood gets this title on reputation of these three. I have to admit my following of recruiting usually isn't focused on who is the lead recruiter on a target player.
Q: What are you overall thoughts on the 3-3-5 scheme? Most of us have never seen it in action other than on TV here and there. What are your favorite things about it and what can sometimes go wrong or present problems?
A: It's a quirky system that relies heavily on two things. 1. Players who understand the defense and sticking to their assignments (the longer in the system, the better it works). 2. A big nose guard who can clog the middle and chew up blocks, often taking on two offensive lineman at a time. If you have those two things, then Casteel can dial up blitzes from multiple angles and personnel, often confusing the offense. It can also be termed a bend-don't-break defense at times. There have been multiple times when the defense has had a hard time getting off the field, yielding long drives, but usually clamping down in the red zone.
A big thanks to WVUIE97 for answering these questions. You can find him covering WVU over at The Smoking Musket.
There will be an introductory press conference on Friday morning introducing the new members of the UA coaching staff. Once that wraps up, three huge weeks of recruiting begin before National Signing Day takes place February 1.
For more on the Wildcats, head on over to AZ Desert Swarm.
It's official: Jeff Casteel is the new defensive coordinator for the Arizona Wildcats. The news was finally confirmed by the UA this afternoon, including a tweet from head coach Rich Rodriguez. Fans may recalled athletic director Greg Byrne announced the hiring of coach Rodriguez on Twitter and it is clear Arizona continues to lead the way in social media in college athletics.
We are excited to welcome new wildcat coaches Jeff Casteel, Bill Kirelawich,David Lockwood, and Spencer Leftwich to our staff!! Bear Down!— Rich Rodriguez (@CoachRodAZ) January 11, 2012
Here is a snippet of the official release that was sent out moments ago:
TUCSON, Ariz.--Arizona's Rich Rodriguez completed his football coaching staff today with the appointment of Jeff Casteel to defensive coordinator, David Lockwood as a defensive backs coach, Bill Kirelawich as defensive line coach and Spencer Leftwich as tight ends coach.
Casteel, Lockwood and Kirelawich come from similar posts at West Virginia University and Leftwich joins Rodriguez's staff from the offensive line position at Pittsburgh. Casteel and Kirelawich worked under Rodriguez during his tenure as head coach at WVU.
"We are very excited to have Jeff, David, Bill and Spencer, and their families, join our family here at the University of Arizona. They are not only great coaches, but great people who bring a lot of quality experience and knowledge to our staff," Rodriguez said.
This is a huge day for Rich Rodriguez, the entire coaching staff and the Arizona Wildcats football program. Coach Casteel is widely regarded as both a first-class person and coach and fans should rest assured all the pieces are in place for a very successful tenure in Tucson.
A press conference will be held in Tucson on Friday at 11 a.m. to introduce the newest members of the coaching staff. Fans can find a live stream here.
The majority of this news began to break late on Tuesday, but incase you missed it: the Arizona Wildcats are expect to hire current West Virginia defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel on Wednesday, along with three other assistant coaches. The hirings will likely be made official by the UA on Wednesday afternoon and each of the four coaches will be introduced to the media at that time.
Along with Casteel, who will also serve as the linebackers coach, Arizona is expected to hire David Lockwood, Bill Kirelawich and Spencer Leftwich.
David Lockwood, a cornerbacks coach, has spent 21 years coaching, including the last three at West Virginia. He has spent time at Kentucky, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Memphis, among other various places, and is known to be a solid recruiter.
Bill Kirelawich has spent the last 31 years coaching at WVU and will handle the defensive linemen at Arizona. One of the longest tenured coaches in America, Kirelawich has drawn rave reviews from those around him. He and coach Casteel are very close and the relationship between their families extends beyond the football field.
Spencer Leftwich, who spent last season coaching under Todd Graham at Pittsburgh, has spent a majority of his coaching career serving as the offensive line coach. He will coach the tight ends at Arizona and will also do some work with the special teams crew. A native of Texas, his recruiting efforts will be huge for the Wildcats.
The hiring of these four coaches will also signify the dismissal of former defensive coordinator and head coach Tim Kish. Coach Kish had joined Mike Stoops when he originally took the job in Tucson and will always be remembered in the community for his efforts that led to an upset victory over Arizona State.
This is a very big day for the University of Arizona and their football program. We will have continuing coverage throughout the entire offseason.
For more on the team, head on over to AZ Desert Swarm.
It's taken a long time for Jeff Casteel to make his way from Morgantown, West Virginia all the way to Tucson, Arizona. What's one more day?
Rodriguez will announce West Virginia’s Jeff Casteel as his defensive coordinator on Wednesday afternoon, when the other three staff vacancies could also be filled, a source told TucsonCitizen.com on Tuesday afternoon.
Casteel to Arizona has been rumored all the way since the beginning of this process that made Rich Rodriguez the head coach of the Wildcats. The two worked together on offense and defense in West Virginia, but Casteel decided to stay with the Mountaineers when Rodriguez went over to Michigan. Rodriguez was able to charge up the Wolverines offense by his third season, but the defense remained a calamity throughout his tenure and Michigan got worse and worse on that side of the ball. Unbelievably, with nearly the same personnel, Brady Hoke's defensive coordinator Greg Mattison made Michigan's defense good in under a year.
Casteel with the Wildcats should improve a team that wasn't very good on the defensive side of the ball, since his 3-3-5 scheme generally favors a strong secondary, where the Wildcats are probably at their deepest next season. How big the improvements will be remain to be seen.
To discuss Casteel as defensive coordinator of the Wildcats, go to Arizona Desert Swarm.
There were plenty of rumors last week suggesting Jeff Casteel had a deal in place to leave West Virginia, a place he had spent most of his entire life, to join Rich Rodriguez and the Arizona Wildcats. Most felt it was a done deal, but there were whispers that Casteel may be having second thoughts when no official announcement was made by the UA.
Being told to expect an announcement of some sort on Jeff Casteel very soon. Could be as early as today.— Jon Martin (@JonathanKMartin) January 9, 2012
We are still awaiting news from the athletic department, although one could be made at any moment. The BCS National Championship Game likely means nothing is made official until at least Tuesday, but there is still a small chance something gets done today.
Again, it appears everything is very close to being finalized with Jeff Casteel. The only issue that remains is which of his WVU assistant coaches he brings along with him to Tucson. Safeties coach Steve Dunlap, cornerbacks coach Dave Lockwood and defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich could all be headed to Arizona, although many affiliated with the Mountaineers would like to see these three retained if Casteel does indeed head west.
As for now, though, Arizona Wildcats fans should be absolutely thrilled to hear of these developments. There are few in the nation better than coach Casteel and he has a reputation for being a first-class citizen, as well. This is an exciting day for the UA football program.
Update: A few have you have contacted me asking for my sources and how I can confirm this news. You'll notice the word "reportedly" in the title, which means nothing is confirmed at this time. Yes, I have my people that I talk with that are close to the UA and I also read around on the Internet as much as you do to gather my information. All signs point to Casteel heading to Arizona, but this is not confirmed at all. We're not trying to scoop the story; just to report what is being said at WVU and UA.
Brian Wagner was a huge producer for the Akron Zips. He was clearly one of their most talented players, racking up the second most tackles in FBS football behind likely lottery pick Luke Kuechly of Boston College. Wagner decided that he wanted to use his last year of eligibility at a big-time program.
Akron’s Brian Wagner, who has one season to play and is immediately eligible as a graduate student, told the UA coaches Sunday morning that he is coming to Tucson, hoping to start classes Wednesday for the spring semester.
He played middle linebacker in a 4-3 scheme at Akron. Exactly where he fits into Arizona’s scheme is to be determined, Wagner said, with the Cats presumably running a 3-3-5, no matter who coach Rich Rodriguez eventually brings in as defensive coordinator.
Wagner said secondary coach Tony Gibson — the only defensive assistant on staff right now — explained that Wagner could fit into any of the three linebacker positions. Elsewhere at linebacker, Arizona has Jake Fischer coming back from an ACL injury, plus sophomores-to-be Rob Hankins and Hank Hobson.
Arizona had a strong offense in 2011, but their defense was a broken toaster. The Wildcats got gashed again, and again, and again, particularly in a linebacking corps that was no match for the offensive firepower in the Pac-12 week in and week out. Wagner can become one of the main contributors almost instantly and give Arizona at least some talent at the linebacking position, and hopefully limit the big plays the Wildcats were so good at giving up last season.
To discuss Arizona football, go to Arizona Desert Swarm.
The Arizona Wildcats experienced one of the swiftest and most pain-free coaching searches in recent history when they brought Rich Rodriguez to Tucson. While AD Greg Byrne was able to keep the rumors mum during his search for a head coach, they have been all over the place during the search for a defensive coordinator.
Jeff Casteel, the current DC at West Virginia, continues to be the one and only option for RichRod at this time. Many reports have indicated the savvy coordinator already has a deal in place with the UA and is simply hammering out some details, while others have gone on to say it is a done deal. Most believed an official announcement would be made on Friday, but the day passed without any confirmation.
Now, coach Rodriguez has announced that he will finalize his coaching staff by the end of next week, whether it be with Casteel or not, according to a report from Anthony Gimino.
Rodriguez, still waiting on the bulk of his defensive coaches - and with no official word from his old pal, West Virginia defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel - told KOLD-TV's Dave Cooney today there would be no decision on a coordinator until next week. [...]
From Rodriguez's perspective, he has to move, one way or another, soon. The end of next week sounds like a hard deadline. Rodriguez wants to have three big recruiting weekends through January, starting with next Friday, and it will hard to make progress without a full staff.
He told Cooney that "I have really been taking my time because I didn't want to disrupt and talk to anybody extensively until all the bowl games are over, and that last bowl game doesn't finish until Monday."
As Rodriguez mentions in a video interview, next week is a 'dead period' for recruiting, which means a coach can only contact a recruit once a day with a phone call. It would be nice to have the coaching staff in place, but it is not too much of an issue until next weekend, when the UA plans to host as many as 20 players on campus.
Things will start to pick up in the coming days. Buckle up.
For more on the Wildcats, head on over to AZ Desert Swarm.
Jeff Casteel has been a hot name in recent days and rumors are flying left and right about the highly regarded defensive coordinator leaving West Virginia to join Rich Rodriguez in Tucson. While most believe there is already an agreement is in place, nothing has been made official and the earliest the UA will likely announce something would be Friday.
Jeff Casteel "finalizing deal" w/ Arizona today. Jeff is one of nation's best football coaches -- and men. Class guy, all the way around.— Colin Dunlap (@colin_dunlap) January 5, 2012
There are likely some outstanding details that will need to be addressed, most notably Casteel's salary. The DC was set to earn upwards of $400,000 in 2012 and he will likely receive a substantial raise to come to the desert. There is also the issue of saying goodbye to all of his players and deciding which of his assistants to bring along with him to Arizona, two decisions that are never easy for a coach to make.
Again, nothing has been made official, but multiple credible reports are suggesting Casteel will indeed by hired by RichRod and the UA in the very near future.
For more on the Wildcats, head on over to Arizona Desert Swarm.
Arizona Wildcats should have plenty of winnable contests next season. And more importantly, Arizona will have eight home games, which has to be a huge advantage considering how rowdy crowds in Tucson get when the chips are down.should be able to make a soft landing in the conference. With a few notable exceptions, the
Arizona starts with three non-conference games, all three at home. Toledo on September 1st and South Carolina State on September 15th are not tough ones, but the Oklahoma St. Cowboys come to town on September 8th and figure to give Arizona a very stiff test, even when replacing Justin Blackmon.
Things don't get much tougher out-of-conference. Arizona goes to Oregon, which is probably an automatic loss, and also has road dates to Utah, UCLA and Stanford, but they will have home games with Oregon State, USC, Washington, Arizona State, and Colorado. Arizona probably has one of the easiest and most standard college football schedules in the Pac-12 as Rodriguez could potentially bring the Wildcats back to respectability.
To discuss the Arizona football schedule with Wildcats fans, go to Arizona Desert Swarm.
Arizona Wildcats head coach Rich Rodriguez has hired a majority of his coaching staff for the offensive side of the football, but the search to find a defensive coordinator and defensive staff has taken longer than expected. That search might be over if early whispers are true that West Virginia Mountaineers defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel will join RichRod's staff after WVU's Orange Bowl appearance.
Casteel has been with WVU since 2001 and was Rodriguez's DC while there. When RichRod left to take the Michigan job, Casteel originally followed him but decided to stay at West Virginia shortly thereafter.
Casteel's defense have routinely ranked among the best nationally in scoring defense and turnover margin.
Casteel is rumored to be looking for a change of scenery from Dana Holgersen's offense-first mindset.
Though Washington St. has not officially announced the hire, it looks like former Arizona assistant Joe Salave'a has taken a similar position with the Cougars, according to the Arizona Daily Star.
Salave'a joins David Emerick as former Arizona staff members hired to join new Cougars head coach Mike Leach. Emerick was hired as Leach's chief of staff earlier this month.
Salave'a has a long history on the defensive side of the ball. He played defensive tackle for Arizona from 1994 to 1997 and then spent nine season in the NFL from 1998-2006. He was hired at Arizona after the 2010 season to coach defensive tackles after spending the 2008-2009 season coaching San Jose State's defensive line.
Meanwhile, Rich Rodriguez is still filling out his own staff in Arizona. Rodriguez is still trying to lure West Virginia defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel to come coach his defense. The offensive side of the ball is mostly complete including Calvin Magee as offensive coordinator and Tony Dew as receivers coach. Casteel is the next big domino to fall - if he wants it.
Rich Rodriguez has already hired a majority of his coaching staff for the offensive side of the football, but the search to find a defensive coordinator and defensive staff has taken longer than expected. With many believing that one big reason Rich Rod was not successful at Michigan was his inability to land the DC of his choice, it's not surprising to see the UA's head coach taking his time with the hire.
Since the day of the hire, everyone has pointed to current West Virginia defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel as Rodriguez's one and only priority for his staff. Casteel and Rodriguez worked very well together in Morgantown, although he did not join the head coach when he bolted for Michigan. Now, with Rodriguez 3,000 miles west of WVU, Casteel has a decision to make. According to this latest story, a decision will not be made by Casteel until after the bowl games.
It's one of the most-asked questions in two states (if Casteel will leave for Arizona), but the only guy who knows the answer isn't giving it up. In fact, he won't even talk about it beyond answering the question with one of his own.
"What does it matter?'' Jeff Casteel asked. "This time of year there's speculation everywhere. It's always been like that. It was like that last year. It was like that the year before. And sometimes it's out in the forefront and sometimes it isn't.''
There are a lot of reasons for Casteel to stay at WVU. He has spent most of his life in the area, is paid more than just about any coordinator in the country and is, reportedly, happy coaching the Mountaineers. That does not mean he hasn't talked with Rodriguez in recent weeks, though.
"You know, I don't know that that's important (on the rumors and speculation),'' Casteel said Wednesday, again evasively. "I think what's important is that we talk about the kids in the bowl game. These kids have worked their tail off to play in a bowl game. Getting into those things, I don't think I need to answer those things. I hope to coach here at West Virginia. That's what I hope to do.''
But if Casteel is ready to jump at the opportunity to coach at Arizona, he's not saying. He maintains he's happy as can be where he is, but he also knows that by refusing to toss any Arizona speculation in the trash he's merely fanning the flames.
"I don't care what you read into it,'' Casteel said. "I'm just telling you, I'm coaching here at West Virginia.''
For how long remains to be seen.
The hiring of the right defensive coordinator is absolutely imperative for Rich Rod to be successful in Tucson. Whether that be Casteel or someone else remains to be seen, but make no mistake about it: Casteel is the No. 1 guy for Arizona and Rodriguez desperately wants him to coach his defense. Now it's just a matter of sweetening the deal enough to lure Casteel to the desert.
Rich Rodriguez is assembling a talented group of coaches, recruiters and staff members to his team in Tucson and that team grew by four members on Tuesday. According to an official release, Rich-Rod has made the hirings official. Here is the news from the Athletic Department.
Rodriguez named Charlie Ragle as assistant director of football operations and the staff's liaison for high school relations. Ragle has been head coach at Chapparal High School in Scottsdale, Ariz., since 2007, winning the last three state 5A II championships while compiling a 63-7 record in the span.
Matt Dudek has been appointed director of on-campus football recruiting. He has been an assistant director of football operations at Rutgers the past year and was in a similar post at Pittsburgh for several preceding years.
On the strength side, the UA hired Parker Whiteman as director of skill development and assistant strength coach, and Frank Davis as an assistant strength and conditioning coach. They will work with newly appointed director Chris Allen, who Rodriguez hired last week.
All of the four coaches come highly regarded, with the most notable member being Charlie Ragle. Coach Ragle has connections to many of Phoenix's top-high school programs and he will pay dividend immediately as coach Rodriguez attempts to swarm the state's best and brightest talent. The city of Phoenix and the surrounding areas are quickly becoming a hotbed for talent and more and more coaches from around the nation will start recruiting the area.
Rich Rodriguez still needs to hire multiple defensive coaches, including his defensive coordinator. Expect these hires to come after the holiday season.
Rich Rodriguez is working quickly to finalize his coaching staff at the University of Arizona and he made a significant hire on Friday afternoon as he hired Chris Allen to be the Strength Coach for the program. Allen, 35, worked alongside coach Rodriguez at West Virginia and Michigan from 2003 to 2010.
"Chris will be a terrific asset to our program," said Rodriguez. "We've collaborated in the past and have the same goals. He knows how to get the players working together, and we'll have some strong, quick guys," he said.
A native of Jamaica, Chris Allen holds certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association, the National Association of Speed and Explosion, USA Weightlifting Level I Sports and the American Red Cross. He graduated from WVU in 2000 and received numerous honors for his efforts on the Track and Field Team.
Corey Edmund, who has spent the last eight years at Arizona serving as the Strength Coach, will not be retained by coach Rodriguez and will look for work elsewhere.
As for what other coaching staff positions that need to be filled, Wildcat fans can expect Rich-Rod to fill out his staff within the next few weeks. He is still without a defensive coordinator.
The Arizona Wildcats football program has not had a whole lot to cheer about in the past 16 months or so. The team has recorded just four wins since October of 2010, fired their head coach of nearly eight years and has seen their recruiting take a hit because of the coaching changes. Fortunately for the UA, Rich Rodriguez is here to awaken a sleeping giant in the desert and get the program to the promise land.
After spending Monday night addressing a crowd of nearly 700 at a local resort in Tucson, Rich-Rod, his family, and various members of the athletic department headed north to Phoenix to visit the many alumni living in the area. Tyler Lockman of Fox Sports Arizona was in attendance and has a report from the event:
In a Phoenix ballroom Tuesday night, a University of Arizona fan excitedly handed new football coach Rich Rodriguez a football and a marker to sign it. There was just one problem: The marker wouldn't write.
"That must be an ASU pen," Rodriguez joked before producing a marker of his own and scribbling "Bear Down" on the fan's football.
The interaction made abundantly clear how Rodriguez has embraced Arizona culture just as quickly as it's embraced him. Rodriguez has had the Arizona community buzzing since he was hired Nov. 21, and Tuesday he wooed Phoenix area alumni at the Phoenix Country Club. The reception he got couldn't have been warmer.
The hiring of Rodriguez is already paying dividend. While Mike Stoops was regarded around the country as a good football mind, he was never the personable guy that would mesh well with the communities surrounding Tucson. Finding light-hearted interviews with fans and alumni were like pulling teeth at times; that's far from the case with Rich-Rod.
Alongside Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne, Rodriguez sent the message Tuesday night that UA can compete with the best programs in America as long as everyone involved - from players past and present to fans, alumni and administrators - believes it.
"I cannot sit here and predict how good we're going to be next year," Rodriguez said. "You're never going to hear me say, 'We're going to win this number of games, that number of games' and all that.
"Our goal will always be to win the Pac-12, win the Rose Bowl, win the national championship. That will never change. And we will get there."
Rodriguez also made multiple mentions of the rivalry game with Arizona State and has called it, "the silly little school up north", among other things. Just a few weeks into his tenure at Arizona, Rich-Rod already understands what is expected of him. And he has the complete and total support of those around him. As former linebacker Kevin Singleton said on Tuesday night:
"We've got a good, solid coach with a strong background. He's got a good attitude, a real positive attitude, and he's a people person. I've got a good feeling about him, and I think we're going to have a lot of success here."
There is a genuine excitement about football in Tucson and we're more than nine months away from kickoff. When was the last time you could honestly say that?
Rich Rodriguez has worked quickly since being named the head coach of Arizona Wildcats football and made a significant hiring on Friday night. With most of his staff already in place, Rodriguez decided to re-hire offensive line coach Robert Anae, who worked wonders in his first year at UA with a young and inexperienced offensive line. Coach Rodriguez addressed the hiring, through an official release from the Athletic Department:
"I'm happy to re-hire Robert to join this staff," Rodriguez said. "He has a wealth of knowledge and expertise to add to our offensive package and is a great fit for our program."
Rodriguez said he would hire one more offensive coach, to work with tight ends. Yesterday he named Rod Smith a co-coordinator and quarterbacks coach and on Monday he'll join the staff already aboard -- co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach Calvin Magee and receivers coach Tony Dews, along with defensive backs coach Tony Gibson. Anae will return promptly.
The re-hiring brings stability to the offensive line, seeing as there has been turnover at the position the last two seasons. Anae has earned himself a reputation of being a first-class person and coach and he is more than qualified to handle the job.
Rodriguez said he'll complete the staff with three defensive coaches -- including a coordinator -- in the next week or so. Depending on the individuals that would be a line coach, linebackers coach and likely a perimeter package mentor in the expected 3-3-5 defense he's used in previous head coaching jobs. Additionally, he said he would determine the leadership role for special teams by the time the entire staff is complete.
"I'm thrilled to be back and eager to join Coach Rodriguez and the rest of his staff in shaping a new direction for Arizona football," Anae said. "We have a great opportunity to be a fine team. I'm ready to bear down with Rich's staff."
For more on the Wildcats, head on over to AZ Desert Swarm.
Head coach Arizona Wildcats is putting his coaching staff together. And he's going to some familiar faces to try and make sure his team matches his vision for the football team.of the
Rodriguez has apparently hired according to the Arizona Republic. Smith has been in the college football ranks for most of the season. Smith has been the quarterback coach for Rodriguez at West Virginia in 2007 and Michigan in 2008-10, and you'd figure he'll be an integral part of installing the spread option offense Rich-Rod is fond of running.as the co-offensive coordinator,
Mike Parrish also is on his way as director of football operations; he was an assistant in Michigan the first two years Rodriguez was around. The Wildcats are in good shape to start things turning in the image Rich-Rod would like to see from his organization.
To discuss the Arizona coaching staff, head to Arizona Desert Swarm.
Former Arizona Wildcats head coach Mike Stoops didn't endear himself much to his team's fanbase in his tenure in Tucson. However, it does look like he might have done them one last favor before he departed. He was able to grant a redshirt for senior QB Matt Scott, allowing him to return for one more year of eligibility in 2012.
Stoops will never get to coach Scott his senior season. But another coach who had his eyes on him while he was at Ann Arbor will. Anthony Gimino of AG's Wildcat Report with the story on Rich Rodriguez finally getting Scott at his QB.
One of the happy developments from Arizona’s 3-8 season has been that Scott was able to redshirt — assuming he doesn’t accidentally stumble onto the field Saturday against Louisiana, of course — preserving his final season of eligibility.
That final year now intersects with Rodriguez’s arrival, giving hope that Arizona can minimize the pain of changing from a pass-based spread offense to a run-based spread offense.
"I’m excited," Scott said.
"Lots of people know already, but it’s like the offense I ran in high school. It’s going to be fun. I get to go back to my natural roots, you could say, and really be myself."
Scott in a running offense like the one that Rich Rod emphasizes should give him more flexibility to succeed. The reason he was benched in favor of Nick Foles was because Foles was such an accurate passer and able to throw more reps effectively. Now that the more athletic Scott has a chance to let loose with his legs, Arizona might be able to unleash him to the fullest of his abilities.
To discuss the effect Rodriguez can have on Arizona football, go to Arizona Desert Swarm.
Rich Rodriguez has officially been named the next head coach of the Arizona Wildcats football program. While the short-term future of UA football has been secured, there are still some in the fan base with concerns that Rich-Rod is simply using Arizona to get his feet back on the ground before leaving for a better job. According to the head coach, that won't happen.
"This is my final coaching stop," the 48-year-old coach said. "I hope to be able to do this another 12 or 15 years."
Rodriguez also repeatedly said that he and his family had seriously contemplated moving to a warmer climate because of his wife's rheumatoid arthritis. Tucson is one of the best locations in the country for one with that condition and Tucson's beautiful weather had to be very appealing.
Still, while Rodriguez would never publicly state that he would consider a different job, it has to at least be in the back of every Wildcat fan's mind. This was the man, after all, that left a West Virginia program at the height of its existence for the bright lights of Michigan.
Arizona fans, students and alumni can only hope that Rodriguez learned his lesson from the debacle in Ann Arbor and will not jump ship so easily this time around. Everything appears to be in place for a very successful tenure in Tucson for Rodriguez and his family; now we just have to wait and see how it all plays out.
The University of Arizona introduced their new head football coach, Rich Rodriguez, to the fans and media in Tucson on Tuesday. Rodriguez spoke for a few minutes and answer questions from the media.
"I want to win the Rose Bowl at the University of Arizona. I want to be in the top ten of the country every year," Rodriguez said.
He would not say, however, how long that might take. He will wait until after spring football to fully assess the team and where they currently stand. In the mean time, Rich Rod will stay away from the team as they prepare for their final game of the season.
Rodriguez complemented interim coach Tim Kish but wouldn't say what role Kish or any of the current staff would have with his team moving forward. He plans on bringing in some of his own people with some decisions made within the next week and then taking up to a month to fill out the full coaching roster.
Asked why he took this job, Rodriguez cited the University's commitment to the program, the solid support of the community and fans and, of course, the weather. He compared this situation to his time at West Virginia and said that he hopes to instill a "chip on the shoulder" mentality with both the players and coaching staff.
"Why not us. Why can't we win it all," he said. "My goal is to make this the best place in the southwest part of the country to come play football."
Rodriguez said he will focus his recruiting efforts primarily on Arizona, California, Texas, Louisiana and Florida but obviously didn't rule out recruits from the rest of the country.
Rich Rod is known for being one of the innovators of the up-tempo, spread offense type of offense that's become more and more popular over the years. He promised that his teams won't be boring and that they will play hard.
"The huddle's biggest waste of time in football," Rodriguez said.
For more on the new Arizona football coach, visit AZ Desert Swarm.
The Arizona Wildcats have found their next head coach. What are we excited to see happen?
It's official: the Arizona Wildcats have a new head coach for next season. Reports from earlier today indicating that former Michigan Wolverines head coach Rich Rodriguez will become Arizona's new head coach have been confirmed by Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne.
Rodriguez has experience in head coaching positions over the past 10 years, first with the West Virginia Mountaineers and then the Wolverines with mixed resuls. From 2001 to 2007, Rodriguez led the Mountaineers to no worse than a second-place finish in the Big East conference during each of the six seasons following his inaugural year as Mountaineers coach.
He became the Wolverines head coach in 2008 but failed to produce the same results that he had in West Virginia. Rodriguez's Wolverines never finished better than seventh in the Big Ten Conference during his three-year tenure, and he was let go after the end of the 2010 college football season. He has since been working with CBS.
Rodriguez now brings his coaching style and personality out west to Tucson, where he will help the Wildcats rebuild after the firing of former head coach Mike Stoops.
The Arizona Wildcats are reportedly on the verge of hiring although nothing is official. If Rich-Rod is indeed the new man in town in Tucson, he comes with a somewhat checkered history as a college football head coach. ,
The good: Rodriguez is 120-84-2 in college. He's considered one of the great innovators on offense with his spread option attack. He enjoyed his greatest success with the West Virginia Mountaineers, taking them to four Big East titles and two BCS bowl bids in his final three seasons, and was one win away from a national championship bid in his final season.
When Rodriguez's offense gets going, it's one of the most exciting things to watch in college football.
The bad: Pretty much have to look at how Rodriguez performed at Michigan, leading them to two straight bowl-less seasons before bowing out with a 7-6 season. Rodriguez was never able to adjust to his spread system with Lloyd Carr's recruits, and just as he was starting to get the hang of things he was let go.
Additionally, Rodriguez had trouble dealing with the Michigan establishment, and he was not liked much by many of the older Michigan players (some ended up transferring). The Wolverines were also handed five major rules violations after failing to comply with practice times and conducting unofficial scrimmages. His departure from West Virginia to Michigan was hardly harmonious either.
There's definitely a lot of excitement that Rodriguez brings, but it's best to be cautious too.
To discuss the possibility of Rodriguez as Wildcats head coach, go to Arizona Desert Swarm.
A deal appears to be in place, though nothing is official...yet.
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