Arizona Wildcats football
Getty Images

Arizona completes revamping of defensive coaching staff with hiring of Andy Buh

Leave a comment

The reshaping of the Arizona Wildcats football coaching staff under Kevin Sumlin is officially complete.

In late October, Sumlin fired defensive coordinator Marcel Yates and linebackers coach John Rushing.  Two months later, Paul Rhoads was hired to replace Yates.  Friday afternoon, the Wildcats confirmed that veteran assistant Andy Buh will replace Rushing.

Buh will handle UA’s outside linebackers, while Rhoads will be responsible for inside linebackers.

“We are excited to welcome Andy Buh to the Arizona Football Family!” a statement from the Arizona Wildcats football head coach began. “Andy brings a track record for development and teaching that fits perfectly with our program. His meticulous work ethic, love for the game and passion for having an impact on his players will be a great asset to our entire program.”

In 2019, Buh was the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Rutgers.  He’s also been on Power Five staffs at:

  • Maryland, defensive coordinator (2016-18)
  • Kentucky, outside linebackers (2015)
  • Cal, defensive coordinator/linebackers (2013)
  • Wisconsin, linebackers (2012)
  • Stanford, co-defensive coordinator/linebackers (2007-09)

“I want to thank Coach Sumlin and Coach Rhoads for the opportunity to be a part of Arizona Football,” Buh said. “I couldn’t be happier to have the opportunity to be a part of what Coach Sumlin is building, and am looking forward to getting to work right away. My wife Kelly and I are excited to make Tucson and the University of Arizona our home.”

In addition to Yates and Rushing, defensive line coach Iona Uiagalelei was let go in the defensive purgeStan Eggen was hired earlier this month to take over that post.

As it stands now, Demetrice Martin is the only assistant from the defensive side of the ball who’ll return to the Wildcats in 2020.  The cornerbacks coach in 2019, Martin is expected to oversee the entire secondary.

In 2019, Arizona was last in the Pac-12 and 118th nationally in scoring defense at 35.8 points per game.  In total defense, they were again dead last in the conference and 120th in the country in allowing 471.4 yards per game.

Oklahoma new home for UCLA transfer WR Theo Howard

Oklahoma Sooners football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

In between signing days, the Oklahoma Sooners football program has seen its wide receiving corps receive a boost in talent.  And experience.

Wednesday night, Theo Howard indicated on social media that he will be transferring to Oklahoma and continuing his playing career with the Sooners football team.  The announcement comes nearly three months after the receiver decided to transfer from UCLA.

Prior to the OU announcement, Howard had also considered Arizona, Baylor, Oregon State, TCU and Washington.

Howard graduated from UCLA in December, giving him immediate eligibility for the Oklahoma Sooners football program this coming season.

In 2018, Howard earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors after catching 51 passes for 677 yards and four touchdowns. Because of a pair of hand injuries that sidelined him for a sizable chunk of 2019, Moore didn’t record a catch this past season for the Bruins.  Because he played in fewer than four games, he was able to use a redshirt for the 2019 season.

During his time at UCLA, Howard totaled 1,359 yards and nine touchdowns on 119 receptions. In a loss to OU in September of 2018, Howard caught two passes for 53 yards.  He didn’t record a catch in the Bruins’ loss to the Sooners this past September.

Kevin Sumlin adds veteran defensive line coach to Arizona staff

Arizona Wildcats football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The reshaping of the Arizona Wildcats football coaching staff under Kevin Sumlin has officially continued.

In late November, defensive line coach Iona Uiagalelei was fired.  Nearly seven weeks later, that position has been filled as Stan Eggen was officially announced as the line coach on the defensive side of the ball.

“We are excited Stan Eggen has joined the Arizona Football Family as Defensive Line Coach,” the Arizona Wildcats football head coach said in a statement. “Stan’s personal and professional values, fundamental approach to teaching the game, as well as his track record for development and recruiting make him a great fit for our defense, and our entire program.”

The past four seasons, Eggen has served as the line coach at New Mexico.  He’s also been the line coach at:

  • Iowa State (2014-15)
  • Louisiana Tech (2008-13)
  • Texas A&M (2003-07)
  • Alabama (2001-02)
  • TCU (1998-2000)
  • New Mexico (1997)

Eggen was also the defensive coordinator at UNLV from 1994-96.

This coming season will be Eggen’s 42nd as an assistant coach at the collegiate level.  His other stints at Power Five schools were Alabama, Iowa State and Texas A&M.

“I want to thank Coach Sumlin and (defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads) for the opportunity to become a part of the Arizona Football Family,” Eggen said. “I can’t wait to get started immediately representing such a great institution, and getting to know our student-athletes. (My wife) Tina and I are excited to be able to make our home in the Tucson community.”

College Football All-Decade Team — CFT’s selections

College Football All-Decade Team
Getty Images
3 Comments

Hey, look, it’s a College Football All-Decade Football Team, so let the whining commence in earnest as there’s little doubt that we hate (insert name of your favorite player from your favorite team here).

While it might be hard for some to believe, we have come to the end of yet another decade. As such, we — Zach Barnett, Bryan Fischer, Kevin McGuire and myself — decided to cobble together a list of players who have been the best of the best in college football over the past 10 years. And, yes, we’ve done so fully aware of the verbal slings and written arrows that are sure to follow.

(Writer’s note: Speaking of the esteemed panel and verbal slings/written arrows, their personal Twitter accounts can be found HERE, HERE and HERE. Fire away at will.)

This was truly an impossible task — with a small handful of exceptions. Justin Blackmon as one of the wide receivers? Zero doubt. Luke Kuechly manning one of the linebacker spots? No-brainer. Aaron Donald in the middle of the defensive line? Obviously.

Outside of those three, plus a couple of more? Good luck.

Let’s also be clear: This team is based on what the players did at the collegiate level.  What they did or didn’t do in the NFL has no — zero, none, zip, zilch, nada — bearing whatsoever in this endeavor.

One final note before we get on to the festivities: Players needed to have spent more than half of their collegiate careers in this decade to be included. Thus, players such as Alabama’s Mark Barron, Oklahoma’s Ryan Broyles, Alabama’s Julio Jones, Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh and Texas’ Early Thomas were ineligible.

With that all out of the way, let’s get it on.  Or something.

OFFENSE

QB: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
A three-time Heisman finalist, the former two-time walk-on finally claimed the trophy in 2017.  Twice Mayfield helped lead the Sooners into the College Football Playoffs as well as breaking the FBS pass-efficiency rating each of his last two seasons in Norman.  This was arguably the hardest selection as I wouldn’t argue one bit if someone were to put the special mention in this spot.
(Special Mention: Deshaun Watson, Clemson)
(Honorable mention: Lamar Jackson, Louisville; Robert Griffin III, Baylor)

RB: Derrick Henry, Alabama; Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin 
The only reason this position was “easier” to select than quarterback is the fact that there are two players instead of one.  Taylor is a two-time Doak Walker Award winner who this season, in breaking Herschel Walker‘s record, became the only player in FBS history with more than 6,000 yards rushing his first three seasons.  As part of the Crimson Tide’s 2015 title team, Henry won the Heisman Trophy after rushing for more than 2,200 yards and 28 touchdowns.  He was the only running back to win the Heisman this decade.
(Special mention: Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State; Christian McCaffrey, Stanford)
(Honorable mention: Any other Wisconsin running back; Ka’Deem Carey, Arizona)

WR: Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State*; Amari Cooper, Alabama*
As noted earlier, Blackmon was one of the no-brainers.  In 2010 and 2011, Blackmon caught 233 passes for 3,304 yards and 38 touchdowns.  He’s one of just two receivers to win back-to-back Biletnikoff Awards, the other being Texas Tech’s Michael Crabtree. Cooper put up two 1,000-yard seasons during his three years in Tuscaloosa, winning the Biletnikoff following the 2014 season.  He was a unanimous All-American that year as well.
(Special mention: Corey Davis, Western Michigan)
(Honorable mention: Justin Hardy, East Carolina; Marquie Lee, USC; James Washington, Oklahoma State)

TE: Mark Andrews, Oklahoma
Andrews totaled 22 touchdowns during his three seasons with the Sooners, coinciding with Baker Mayfield‘s time in Norman.  He was named the winner of the Mackey Award after catching 62 passes for 958 yards and eight touchdowns in 2017.
(Honorable mention: Jake Butts, Michigan; Evan Ingram, Ole Miss; Nick O’Leary, Florida State)

OT: Barrett Jones, Alabama*; Brandon Scherff, Iowa*
Jones was a four-year starter at Alabama.  He was a Freshman All-American at guard, won the 2011 Outland Trophy at tackle and claimed the 2012 Rimington Trophy at center.  Those last two seasons, he was a consensus All-American.  Scherff started at both guard and tackle at Iowa, and was a consensus All-American and Outland Trophy winner for the 2014 season.
(Special mention: Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M; Cam Robinson, Alabama)
(Honorable mention: Spencer Drango, Baylor; Jake Matthews, Texas A&M; David Yankey, Stanford)

G: Quinton Nelson, Notre Dame*; David DeCastro, Stanford
Nelson was a three-year starter for the Fighting Irish.  He earned unanimous All-American honors in 2017.  A two-time first-team All-Pac-12 selection, DeCastro was a unanimous All-American in 2011.
(Honorable mention: Chance Warmack, Alabama)

C: Pat Elflein, Ohio State
Elflein began his career as a guard, where he was twice named All-Big Ten.  After moving to center, he was named as the 2016 winner of the Rimington Trophy.
(Special mention: Ryan Kelly, Alabama; Billy Price, Ohio State)

DEFENSE

DE: Joey Bosa, Ohio State*; Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
On the defensive side of the ball, this might’ve been the toughest group to select.  His last two seasons in Columbus, Bosa was a unanimous All-American one year and a consensus All-American the other.  In three seasons, he totaled 51 tackles for loss and 26 sacks. Garrett was a two-time All-American who had 31 sacks his last two seasons with the Aggies.
(Special mention: Derek Barnett, Tennessee; Chase Young, Ohio State)
(Honorable mention: Vic Beasley, Clemson, Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina; Sutton Smith, Northern Illinois)

DT: Ed Oliver, Houston; Aaron Donald, Pitt*
I think people tend to forget just how dominating Donald was at the collegiate level.  His last three seasons, Donald was credited with 63 tackles for loss (63!!!).  A two-time unanimous All-American, Donald won Outland, Lombardi, Bednarik and Nagurski Awards in the same season.  In just 32 career games, Oliver accumulated 53 tackles for loss.  In 2017, he became the first sophomore to win the Outland Trophy.
(Special mention: Christian Wilkins, Clemson)

LB: Luke Kuechly, Boston College*; Jarvis Jones, Georgia; C.J. Mosley, Alabama
Kuechly, who finished his three seasons at BC with more than 530 tackles, was a two-time consensus All-American and the winner of the 2011 Butkus, Lombardi, Lott IMPACT and Nagurski Awards.  Like Kuechly, Mosley was a two-time consensus All-American and a Butkus Award winner.  Jones, who began his collegiate career at USC, was a two-time consensus All-American as well.
(Special mention: Khalil Mack, Buffalo)
(Honorable mention: Dont’a Hightower, Alabama; Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame; Roquan Smith, Georgia; Manti Te’o, Notre Dame)

CB: Morris Claiborne, LSU; Desmond King, Iowa*; Jalen Ramsey, Florida State*
Ramsey played multiple positions in the secondary during his time with the Seminoles, earning All-American accolades his last two seasons.  King was a two-time All-American as well who started all four seasons for the Hawkeyes.  His junior season, he was named winner of the Jim Thorpe Award.  Claiborne won the Thorpe Award in 2011.
(Special mention: Vernon Hargreaves, Florida)
(Honorable mention: Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State; Adoree’ Jackson, USC)

S: Tyrann Mathieu, LSU*; Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama*
One of the most exciting players in the sport this past decade, Mathieu was a finalist for the 2011 Heisman after a season in which, among other things, he returned two fumbles and two punts for touchdowns.  The Honey Badger won the Bednarik Award that season as well.  A two-time consensus All-American and winner of both the Bednarik and Thorpe Awards in 2017, Fitzpatrick was the greatest defensive back produced by a Tide program known for cranking out quality secondary personnel.
(Honorable mention: Landon Collins, Alabama; Grant Delpit, LSU)

SPECIALISTS

K: Roberto Aguayo, Florida State*
Twice a first-team All-American, Aguayo is the third-most accurate kicker in college football history on field goals and never missed an extra point.  Following the 2013 regular season,  he was named as the winner of the Lou Groza Award.
(Honorable mention: Zane Gonzalez, Arizona State)

P: Tom Hackett, Utah
Hackett was the second punter to win back-to-back Ray Guy Awards.  As a senior, he averages exactly 48 yards per punt. For his career, he placed nearly 44 percent of his 242 punts inside the 20-yard line.
(Special mention: Ryan Allen, Louisiana Tech; Michael Dickson, Texas)

RS: Rashaad Penny, San Diego State
Penny finished his collegiate career tied for the most career kick return-touchdowns (7) and combined kick-/punt-return touchdowns (8) in FBS history.  Four of those seven kick returns went for 100 yards, one shy of the FBS record.
(Special mention: Adoree’ Jackson, USC)

AP: Christian McCaffrey, Stanford*
In 2015, McCaffrey shattered Barry Sanderssingle-season all-purpose yardage record, finishing that season with 3,864 yards (Sanders’ old record was 3,250).  McCaffrey finished his time with the Cardinal with (take a deep breath) 3,922 yards rushing and 21 rushing touchdowns; 1,206 yards and 10 touchdowns on 99 receptions; a 26.4-yard average and one touchdown on 56 kick returns; an 11.2-yard average and a touchdown on 34 punt returns; two passing touchdowns; and seven tackles.
(Special mention: Saquon Barkley, Penn State; Jabrill Peppers, Michigan)

(*Denotes unanimous selection)

Arizona adds Paul Rhoads as new DC

Getty Images
Leave a comment

On the same day its in-state rival stayed in-house for theirs, Arizona went outside for their new defensive coordinator in Paul Rhoads.

Rhoads, Arizona confirmed Saturday afternoon, has officially been hired to coordinate Kevin Sumlin‘s defense. Rhoads replaces Marcel Yates, who was fired from his post back in late October.

“I am very happy to announce that Paul Rhoads has agreed to join the Arizona Football Family as our Defensive Coordinator,” Sumlin said in a statement. “Paul is a man of personal and professional integrity. He brings to Arizona a history of proven success as a leader and teacher who will bring a focus on relationships, communication and fundamentals. I look forward to working with Paul as we continue to position our program for future success.”

Prior to coming to the desert, Rhoads spent the past two seasons as the defensive backs coach at UCLA.

Rhoads is mostly known for the six seasons he spent as the head football coach at Iowa State. He’s also had stops at Arkansas (2017), Auburn (2008) and Pitt (2000-07) as defensive coordinator.

“I can’t begin to express how excited and grateful I am to have the opportunity to work alongside Coach Sumlin and the rest of the Arizona Football Family,” Rhoads said. “I look forward to getting to know our student-athletes and getting to work on putting them in a position to be successful at a high level. (My wife) Vickie and I are thrilled to be able to become a part of the University of Arizona and Tucson community.”