Upon Sonny Dykes' departure to Louisiana Tech, Mike Stoops quickly posted an opening for a co-offensive coordinator, which wasn't unexpected.
Offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh is almost sure to be promoted to co-offensive coordinator. He is the key toughness element on the UA coaching staff; the Wildcats will be fortunate if he stays one more season before getting an opportunity to coach in the NFL.
Stoops appears to have three choices to mix with Bedenbaugh:
One, promote 33-year-old outside receivers coach Dave Nichol to co-offensive coordinator and let him call the plays. USC aggressively did so with 33-year-old Steve Sarkisian in 2007. Nichol knows the spread offense as well as anyone: he played at Texas Tech, spent five years on the staff under Mike Leach and then one year at Baylor before his three UA seasons. Nichol is on the fast track in college coaching.
Two, Stoops could attempt to hire Leach and give him the autonomy that Dykes wasn't given. It would be a transaction that would set the Pac-10 on its ear. But Leach is tainted, he's not exactly Mr. Chemistry, and Stoops has been reluctant to give freedom to his offensive coordinators.
Three, he could bring in a quarterbacks coach such as Oklahoma's Josh Heupel, who, at 31, is even younger than Nichol. Heupel coached tight ends at Arizona in 2005 and is now is the QBs coach for the Sooners.
Remember this about play-calling: Dykes had not called a play before the UA opener at BYU in 2007. The Wildcats won 22 games in his three seasons.
"I'm sad to see (Dykes) go but it was a big raise in pay; it's just part of the sport and you can't blame him," said UA quarterback Nick Foles. "We'll be fine. We've still got all our guys coming back and we've just got to trust that the big guy (Stoops) will get someone good."
this eagle is soaring
Santa Rita's Stoglin owns Tucson prep scoring mark
In an otherwise uneventful victory Friday night at Sahuarita, Santa Rita High School guard Terrell Stoglin became Tucson's career prep scoring leader.
"It's quite an accomplishment," Eagles coach Jim Ferguson said. "I'm sure Terrell didn't even know about it."
Stoglin entered the game with 2,535 career points, tied with Cholla forward Chuck Overton (1989-92). With 21 points Friday, Stoglin finished with 2,556. If he maintains his 27-point scoring average for the remainder of the season, he would score roughly 2,850 points, if the Eagles return to the 4A-II state championship game.
The big-school state record is 3,002, established by Phoenix Shadow Mountain's Mike Bibby. Phoenix St. Mary's Jerryd Bayless scored 2,828.
Here's how difficult it would be for any Tucson ballplayer to challenge Stoglin's record, or even move past ex-Sunnyside shooter Deron Johnson's third-place Tucson total of 2,108: Amphitheater sophomore Tim Derksen, who has the look of a Division I recruit, has scored 388 points this year, averaging 17.1 per game. He scored 193 points as a freshman. On the same pace, he would complete the year with about 750 career points. He would have a long, long way to go.
Del Conte might be a factor in Wildcats' search for AD
As UA president Robert Shelton goes through the process of selecting an athletic director, it is becoming clear that TCU's Chris Del Conte could be a factor. Del Conte moved from Rice to TCU in October, and leaving this early would be awkward. But the Arizona AD job might be too attractive for him to bypass; many of the most prominent UA boosters have been Del Conte backers since his days as Jim Livengood's No. 2 man. Del Conte knows the most important variable about UA athletics: There is no easy money here, no corporate sugar daddy. And yet he was successful under those conditions from 1999 to 2005. If Shelton can get a better AD than Del Conte, the Wildcats will be fortunate. … Lute Olson's appearance at Oregon's Mac Court last week was a revelation. The Ducks crowd gave a sustained roar when he was introduced. The perception of Olson around the Pac-10 is much different than in Tucson. They see him as a coaching legend minus the bumpy exit. It's important for Arizona to foster that legend-ambassador role with Olson. He remains the face of UA athletics, even though it has been five years since he fielded the last of his 11 Pac-10 champions. … Twenty years after he left Marana High School, George Banks is still a basketball standout. He is averaging 15.3 points for Albacomp, a EuroLeague team in Hungary. A second-round pick from UTEP in the 1995 draft, the 37-year-old Banks has played professionally in Italy, Australia, Cyprus, Turkey, the Philippines and in two USA minor leagues. … Josh Pastner's Memphis Tigers quietly lost to UTEP last week, breaking a 64-game win streak in Conference USA games. On Saturday, Pastner will meet his old UA coaching buddy, Reggie Geary, an SMU assistant whose club went 2-7 recently, putting fourth-year head coach Matt Doherty under fire. Doherty's team has never finished higher than 11th in Conference USA.
Recruiting coordinator also leaves UA football program
Not only did the UA lose its offensive coordinator last week, it lost its recruiting coordinator, Bill Baker, a former UA football player who spent two decades as a professional scout. Baker was also the UA's assistant director of football operations and combined with operations director Eric Harper to give the Wildcats some serious talent and skill in two extremely important roles. "It's time," Baker said. "I lost my mojo. I don't know what I'll do next, but I'm content." Baker began his college coaching career in 1978 when he followed UA coach Jim Young to Purdue. He will be missed. … When freshman center Jeff Withey transferred from Arizona to Kansas last year, he assumed he was getting into a more stable, productive situation. Instead, he is the last man on KU's bench. Since becoming eligible Dec. 19, Withey has played in four games (six total minutes) for the depth-blessed Jayhawks. At Arizona, he would likely be starting and playing a valuable role on Sean Miller's young club. … When the UA plays host to ASU in women's basketball today at McKale, Wildcat freshman guard Davellyn Whyte will be the Pac-10's No. 2 overall scorer, at 17.7 per game. Her 39-point game against Oregon last week, a school record, put her freshman scoring average ahead of the two greatest freshmen scorers in UA history. Shawntinice Polk averaged 17.4 and Adia Barnes 15.5. If Whyte scores 500 points this year, and she is on a pace to score about 530, she would become just the seventh Wildcat in history to do so.
As stepfather, ex-Cat Eafon tutors Amphi's Medford
Amphi junior guard Lester Medford is a jet-quick player who is as responsible for the Panthers' 21-game winning streak as anyone. He is averaging 15.7 points a game and probably has a Division I college future. He also has a terrific tutor. "My stepfather is Kelvin Eafon," he said. "He's really intense about basketball and I like it that way.'' Eafon, who came to Arizona as a basketball recruit in 1995, became the captain of the UA's 1998 Holiday Bowl championship team, a fullback with such leadership skills that Dick Tomey called him "the best leader I've ever coached." … When surging Amphi beat Santa Rita on Tuesday night, two starting guards from Amphi's 1949 state championship finalist were in the house. Brothers Larry Hart and Bobby Hart wanted to get a look at what might turn out to be the best team in school history. The Hart brothers' '49 team got as far as the state title game. "I remember that game well," Larry Hart said. "We played Tucson High at Phoenix Union's gymnasium. We were behind 11-7 at halftime. We only scored 26 points. Tucson High was really good." The '49 Badgers went 23-0 to stretch their winning streak to 51 games. … Fred Harvey's UA track team has an exceptional future in the jumps. In last week's indoor debut, freshman high jumpers Nick Ross and Edgar Rivera-Morales both cleared 7-2 1/2 in their college debuts. The women's team has 2008 NCAA high jump champion Liz Patterson and two other 6-foot jumpers. "It's exciting," Harvey said. "Nick and Edgar are just getting started. They're just scratching the surface." The UA school record, 7-6 set by James Frazier in 1980, is on notice.
MY TWO CENTS
UA may well look to Dykes as head coach in the future
The system worked. In three years as Arizona's offensive coordinator, Sonny Dykes revamped Arizona's image as an offensive-challenged football program, established school records for points and yards, and was rewarded by becoming the head coach at Louisiana Tech.
In a winning program, that's the cycle of success. It further means that Dykes becomes a potential future head coach at Arizona. That's how the Wildcats did it in 1980, picking former UA defensive coordinator Larry Smith out of Tulane; Smith returned to Tucson and posted six consecutive winning seasons.
Dykes earned his shot at Louisiana Tech for a lot of reasons, including his engaging demeanor and ability to think on his feet. Let's hope we haven't seen the last of him.