New Arizona Wildcats assistant coach Brian Knorr has an impressive résumé. How many other FBS special-teams coaches have head-coaching and defensive-coordinator experience at the Division I level?
Knorr has all that and more. You can find his complete bio here.
But his main task at Arizona is to improve the special-teams units, which contributed to a season-long field-position deficit in 2016. If Knorr can pull that off, Rich Rodriguez’s latest addition to the UA staff will be deemed a successful hire. If not, it won’t.
Knorr participated in his first Arizona practice Monday. He spoke with reporters afterward. Here’s a portion of that conversation:
On how the opportunity came about: “I’ve known Coach Rodriguez and a number of these guys on the staff from back when they were at West Virginia and I was coaching at Ohio and Wake Forest. A lot of our paths have crossed. I knew some of the same people. Coach Meyer (Urban Meyer, head coach at Ohio State) and Coach Rodriguez are very close. I worked for Coach Meyer this past year, and we had great success on special teams. I think that certainly helped.
On how he’ll help the defense: “We’ve talked a little bit about where I’ll fit in. (Arizona’s defense is) very similar to some of the structure we had at Indiana. We were an odd-front team that went to some even, and I coached a very similar position to the ‘Stud’ with Arizona. Wherever they need me, or wherever I can help out.”
On the importance of field position: “Everywhere I’ve been, that’s been one of the staples. Our offensive and defensive starting field position was in the 100s last year. Five or 10 yards can make a huge difference in the amount of points. There’s no bigger factor than special teams in being able to pin somebody in.”
On being back in the West after starting his college career at Air Force: “It feels good. Especially getting out of that cold Midwest. I was the only one out there in short sleeves and shorts today. I thought it was great.”