FORT HUACHUCA - Seth Littrell is expected to do just one thing this season.
"Call good plays," coach Mike Stoops said. "Call the right ones. Call the ones that work."
No pressure, right?
The Arizona Wildcats' offensive coordinator will open to the 2011 season with an increased role, higher expectations and the glare of a brighter spotlight.
The 33-year-old Oklahoman is up for the job. He shared coordinator duties with Bill Bedenbaugh a year ago, but called the plays. When Bedenbaugh was hired to coach West Virginia's offensive line, Littrell was given solo control of the Wildcats' attack - though new offensive line coach Robert Anae, a former coordinator at BYU, will have some input this fall.
The Star talked to Littrell about his role, his expectations for today's scrimmage at Fort Huachuca and his new colleagues. Here's what he said:
Does this year's camp have a different feel for you, especially since your role has changed?
A: "Oh, no, I don't think it has a different feel. I think the different feel is because of a different group - a new team, a bunch of new guys around, new faces, and guys trying to figure out what they're doing. We have a good group of guys. They've worked hard during the season and the offseason. Obviously, we have a lot of work to do at all positions. We're young at all positions, so they have to learn pretty fast."
With the personnel you have, what's the biggest challenge this fall?
A: "Learning how to play fast and physical. If you can do those two things, a lot of the other stuff takes care of itself. To do that, you have to know what you're doing. We have a lot of young guys who need to grow in this system and learn the offense … we're getting there, but we have a lot of work to do."
Will you augment what you do this fall to offset the inexperience on places like the offensive line?
A: "We just have to take care of 'em. That's what scheming and play-calling is for; we have to put them in the best positions to be successful."
Should we read anything into your decision to move tight end Jack Baucus to the offensive line? Does this mean you'll be playing more four-wide receiver sets, or is it just helping the O-line?
A: "You know, we try to find the best people for every position. We feel like Jack could definitely give us some help there at right tackle. It creates competition for everybody else. We asked him to make the move, and he was for it just to help the team. He's done a good job. I wouldn't read too much into it."
Is it weird not having Bedenbaugh around?
A: "Absolutely. He's a brother to me and we're family. I'm happy for him. He's doing a great job at West Virginia. I'm happy for him. I miss him but, shoot, that's part of the profession. You have to do what's best for your family and what's best for you."
Robert Anae's a bit different than Bedenbaugh was, isn't he?
A: "Robert's a great guy. I've been around Robert a long time. He was actually the O-line coach at Texas Tech when I got there with Bill. Robert's been around the game a long time, he's been around the system, he knows it. We're very happy with Robert."
What kind of input will he have on game day?
A: "Every coach has a lot of input. I think we have a great offensive staff. When we put our heads together during the week and we do our film study, we try to put ourselves in the best position to win. On game days, lots of input from a lot of positions - including the head coach."
Coming Aug. 28
The Star's 2011 college football preview section.
• Season opener: Sept. 3 vs. NAU
TRAINING CAMP INSIDER
Day 8, at Fort Huachuca
• Highlights: Arizona's second full day on the fort opened with a crisp practice at Warrior Field. The wide receivers and cornerbacks continue to battle during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills, easily the highlight of every practice. Juron Criner made three great catches over Trevin Wade and freshman Cortez Johnson, but both cornerbacks got revenge with interceptions. Backup tailback Daniel Jenkins continues to make big plays despite an injury to his left hand. Coach Mike Stoops has been impressed by a handful of freshmen, including Johnson, defensive end Reggie Gilbert and linebackers Rob Hankins and Hank Hobson. Walk-on receiver Sean Willet continues to make big plays in practice, but faces long odds if he hopes to crack the rotation. Jack Baucus struggled to snap in his second day at center. For now, he's replacing Addison Bachman, who is out with a sore wrist.
• Weather: 75 degrees and breezy.
• Injury report: A handful of UA players are dealing with "camp legs" and other minor strains and sprains after the first week of camp. Wide receivers David Roberts and Terrence Miller and cornerback Jonathan McKnight missed practice with various injuries, though none are considered serious. Freshman offensive lineman Faitele Faafoi joined the team for the first time Friday afternoon after undergoing surgery for an infection in his leg; he's a likely redshirt candidate. Nickel back Jourdon Grandon is out for three weeks with a sprained meniscus. Safety Adam Hall, linebacker Jake Fischer, running back Greg Nwoko and defensive tackle Willie Mobley are all out indefinitely as they recover from offseason knee surgeries.
• Up next: The Wildcats will scrimmage at 4 p.m. today at Bujalski Field on the fort. The scrimmage is open to the public, but fans must check in at the main gate.
• He said it: "We've got to find guys who can make plays in tough situations and competitive situations. Practice is one thing; when you're playing live, you have to find guys who can make plays. Sometimes, guys get exposed when they're going full speed. Those types of elements are things you're looking for in scrimmages." - coach Mike Stoops