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Staff Positioned to Succeed
Staff Positioned to Succeed
The oft-used “team chemistry” phrase comes into serious play for UA’s coaching staff this year.
No knock intended on Stoops’ choices his first three years, but the offensive synergy with Sonny Dykes, Dana Dimel, Darrell Wyatt, Bill Bedenbaugh and Michael Smith will be at a four-year high based on the off season and spring ball. Part of that surely comes from the installation of a new offensive system, and the high energy that entails. Still, UA has a group of on-the-same-page people running the attack, and results have been extremely positive.
More support comes from Stoops himself. When asked about his focus on offense now that there’s something new going on, he said, “Not much.” He’s comfortable leaving the particulars to what he feels is a dynamic staff of guys with enormous credibility, and sticking with his love -- defense.
Sonny Dykes Darrell Wyatt Bill Bedenbaugh Dana Dimel Michael Smith
Stoops’ take on the offensive staff is that Dykes knows the system and has the track record, Bedenbaugh is a spread guy for most of his career and will accelerate the learning up front, Wyatt’s a known commodity with some exemplary results in some crossover work at Oklahoma when Stoops was there, Dimel brings head coaching experience and a strategist’s edge, and Smith’s had some huge success coaching RBs at Kansas State.
Defense is where continuity has helped turn UA’s fortunes around from its 2-10 tumble in 2003. Coordinator Mark Stoops, Tim Kish. Joe Robinson and Mike Tuiasosopo have been aboard since the start and worked diligently to transform the team persona. They’ve had a lot of help from the head guy. All have seen plenty of competition at the top of the game from previous jobs and have brought that outlook to
Mark Stoops Tim Kish Mike Tuiasosopo Joe Robinson
The staff has had a lot of help from strength coach Corey Edmond and his people, which this year includes Brian Odom as a top football assistant. Student-athlete accountability in the strength and conditioning program is to the point where it’s a part of life.
Operations director Erick Harper is in his fourth year and has helped forge the necessary foundation to make the program succeed both on and off the field. He's the agent for much of the day-to-day, hourly planning and preparation that helps the coaching staff recruit, teach and have the right materials and services at their disposal. Assistant director of operations Andrew Weidinger enters his first year as a fulltime staff member and has been an office aide for four years.
The entire staff is assisted by its office personnel, Kelly Hooker, Ana Verdin and Kim Herrington. Then, too, video services are an entire operation on its own, headed by Bob Ford and Tim Cummins and Frank Buffano.
Head Coach: Mike Stoops, 4th year
Defensive Coordinator: Mark Stoops (DB coach), 4th year
Offensive Coordinator: Sonny Dykes (QB coach), 1st year
Associate Head Coach: Dana Dimel (TE/HB coach), 2nd year
Assistant Head Coach: Tim Kish (LB coach), 4th year
Running Game Coordinator: Bill Bedenbaugh (OL coach), 1st year
Passing Game Coordinator: Darrell Wyatt (WR coach), 1st year
Special Teams Coordinator: Joe Robinson (DE coach), 4th year
Running Backs Coach: Michael Smith, 1st year
Defensive Tackles Coach: Mike Tuiasosopo, 4th year
Offensive G.A.: Dave Nichol, 1st year
Defensive G.A.: Brandon Shelby (July), 1st year
Dave Nichol Brandon Shelby
Helping out the Team
One thing coaches appreciate is the group of players who contribute to the program by “walking on” without a scholarship. In spring ball, they have a decent chance to show their potential. In fall camp and during the season they perform a lot of the dirty work, competing on scout teams against the top units. Throughout, they’re valuable team members.
Some high moments for a walk-on are little more than an appreciative remark from a coach during practice for an assignment or “look” performed admirably. The younger coaches ?- graduate assistants who help direct scout-team play ?- are particularly keen on how the non-scholarship guys help the team prepare.
Chris Jennings took a shot and came to
Haig Abnous, freshman WR
Brad Allen, sophomore OL
Aaron Anderson, senior TE
Dave Bertand, junior letterman DT
Jimmy Bevell, freshman QB
Keenyn Crier, freshman punter
Kyle Day, freshman receiver
Jimmy Donaldson, sophomore QB
Tim Egger, freshman punter
Chris Elkins, freshman DE
Trevor Foster, freshman DB
Mike Getzler, freshman PK
Cole Graybill, freshman LB
Chris Hannon, junior OL
Josh Lewis, sophomore DE
Garon McHone, senior letterman long snapper
John Markovich, senior DT
Jared Mosley, sophomore DB
Jose Ortiz, sophomore CB
Rod Rivera, sophomore WR
Jeremy Samoy, sophomore LB
John Sanders, freshman QB
Rickey Watson, freshman DB
Ricky Wolder, freshman long snapper
Victor Yates, freshman DB
The 2007 Schedule
A year ago
Rating aside, the Cats will face eight bowl 2006 teams starting with a road contest at Brigham Young. The Cougars lose a bunch of starters but have a huge head of steam, with 10 consecutive victories entering the year, including a Las Vegas Bowl win over
After playing in-state rival NAU of the Big Sky Conference, the Cats close non-conference play with a Sept. 15 game against
Other bowl teams from the Pac-10 include
Odds and Ends...
...UA finishes spring ball with 103 active players on the team. Fall camp can open in August with 105 student-athletes and UA expects some changeover in the walk-on group, possibly like the move last summer that brought running back Chris Jennings into the fold...
...The class breakdown in that group: 20 seniors, 20 juniors, 23 sophomores, 26 redshirt freshmen, 14 true freshmen...
...It’s not a bad time for patrons to pony up for season tickets, with UA “on the cusp” of something bigger, according to Mike Stoops. Last year the Cats drew the No. 2 average, 55,798, and also drew their largest crowds for USC (58,801) and
...Mid-year juco transfer Marquis Hundley has been impressive in spring ball at cornerback, but UA could have the luxury of giving him a full year’s training before putting him in action... No one is making any public guesses but if previous incoming classes are any indication a skill-position offensive player or DB could potentially make the playing rotation. Last year H-back Earl Mitchell and wide receiver Terrell Turner lettered as true freshmen, while defensive backs Cam Nelson and Devin Ross also earned spurs in their first years. It might be more difficult for new backs Nick Grigsby and Joe Reese or receivers David Roberts, Devin Veal or Williams Wright to make a move with the bunch of guys ahead of them having a full spring in the new offense. Incoming All-America JC linebacker Vuna Tuihalamaka might be an option in his first season...