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Waiting game over, Arizona Wildcats turn focus to defensive coordinator

2012-01-05T12:55:00Z 2012-01-05T13:08:08Z Waiting game over, Arizona Wildcats turn focus to defensive coordinator Arizona Daily Star

The Arizona Wildcats are through playing the waiting game.

Sometime in the next 48 hours, the UA is expected to announce that its hired West Virginia's Jeff Casteel as defensive coordinator.

Casteel is expected to bring at least one Mountaineers assistant with him to Tucson: The Wildcats must hire two more defensive assistants, and special teams and tight ends coaches.

Casteel coached in Wednesday night's Orange Bowl, a game West Virginia won 70-33.

The coach deflected most of the postgame questions about his future, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"You know what? I think the kids have worked hard. They just won 10 games," Casteel told the paper. "To put the emphasis on speculation ... I'd rather just focus on what I think the kids deserve and that's what the focus should be on."

Asked to describe his time at West Virginia, the defensive coordinator said this: "I've had an opportunity to be part of three BCS (bowl) championships in the last six, seven, eight years, whatever it's been. It's been pretty special, and means you have some pretty good players, some guys who work hard."

Casteel will arrive at the UA, assuming everything goes according to plan, with a reputation for hard work and a trademark scheme. Casteel is seen as one of the nation's experts in the 3-3-5 defense, which uses speed to stop spread offenses. Casteel made $400,000 this season at West Virginia, making him the Big East Conference's highest-paid assistant. He figures to make significantly more, should he accept the UA's offer.

A Casteel hire would be a home run for first-year UA coach Rich Rodriguez. The two worked together at West Virginia from 2001-07. Rodriguez as unable to convince Casteel to follow him to Michigan. Casteel spent the 2008-10 seasons coaching under WVU's Bill Stewart; he just finished his first year working under Dana Holgorsen.

 

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