Jeff Casteel

Updated: Jeff Casteel, three others introduced on RichRod’s staff


UPDATED 1/11 @ 6:00 p.m. ET: Okay, now it’s official.

Arizona’s website has announced the hiring of Jeff Casteel as the new defensive coordinator, David Lockwood as defensive backs coach, Bill Kirelawich as defensive line coach and Spencer Leftwich as tight ends coach.

Leftwich comes to Arizona after coaching the offensive line at Pitt.

“I have enjoyed my time at West Virginia University, and it’s been 11 great years,” Casteel said. “I have coached some outstanding young men, and I would like to thank them for their hard work and dedication. I want to thank the coaches and staff members I have been associated with during my time at WVU for their work and support. The fans also have been great, and I want to thank them as well.”

“I want to thank our three departing defensive coaches for their more than 50 years of service to West Virginia University,” WVU athletic director Oliver Luck added. “They have been a part of much success and have left a lasting impact on our program and our student-athletes. Our football program will now move forward to fill our vacancies, and I am confident that Dana Holgorsen will bring in talented coaches that our players will continue to thrive under.”


With the exception of an announcement from the school — which should be coming tomorrow, by the way — Jeff Casteel‘s move from West Virginia to Arizona has been made about as official as it can be.

The defensive coordinator of the Mountaineers for the last nine seasons, Casteel has now been listed in the same position on Arizona’s official website.

Rumored to be moving on from the Mountaineers for the past month or so when former WVU coach Rich Rodriguez took over the Wildcats, the Casteel-to-Arizona whispers took off in the past week after West Virginia dismantled Clemson 70-33 in the Orange Bowl.

Although not official, it’s been reported that Casteel will take WVU cornerbacks coach Dave Lockwood and defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich with him to Tucson.

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian

Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.

Starting Navy S Kwazel Bertrand undergoes surgery, likely out for season

Kwazel Bertrand, Jacobi Owens
Associated Press
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Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.

Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.

And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.

“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”

Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.