Frank Scelfo grew up in New Iberia, La., and, as an adult, never strayed far from his bayou roots.

The Sonoran Desert, with its mountains, cacti and critters, was as foreign to the Louisiana lifer as Lent without Mardi Gras.

"I hadn't seen mountains except for just flying over them, playing in the WAC," he said. "I went skiing one time."

So when the Arizona Wildcats' new quarterbacks coach talks about his new adventure, there's a sense of awe and newness that's refreshing, given his vagabond profession.

Scelfo will spend this season mentoring Nick Foles and Matt Scott as the UA tries to improve on back-to-back 8-5 seasons. He already has tweaked Foles' footwork and has helped Scott re-tool his throwing motion.

Along the way, the boisterous 51-year-old has earned major respect.

"I couldn't ask for a better quarterback coach," Foles said. "He keeps it fun, but the most important thing about him is that he cares about players as people. We respect him as much as you can respect a person. He has so much knowledge. He's taught us a lot. He teaches us a lot every day."

That Scelfo is coaching here at all is somewhat of a surprise.

Scelfo spent his entire life in either Louisiana or Texas before being named a UA assistant in February. He graduated from Louisiana-Monroe with both a bachelor's and a master's degree, and he coached at three high schools in his home state through the late-1980s. Scelfo broke into college coaching at Tulane in 1996 and spent 11 seasons with the Green Wave as the tight ends coach, recruiting coordinator, quarterbacks coach and, eventually, offensive coordinator.

When Scelfo's brother, Chris, was fired as Tulane's head coach in 2006, Frank was named the offensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech. He spent three seasons with the Bulldogs before heading west.

Scelfo brought his family with him; his wife, Holly, has "adjusted pretty well" to Tucson, he said. Their youngest son, Jordan, is Salpointe Catholic's new starting quarterback.

The Scelfos are enjoying their great move west. It even reminds them of home.

"My wife, she's got it down: Tucson is like New Orleans," Scelfo said. "It's big, yet small. There are lots of neighborhoods, people are extremely friendly, (there are) great restaurants, and the service industry does a great job.

"Phoenix is more like Dallas - there's more interstates, more concrete, it's more open and more spread out. We love New Orleans, so Tucson's a great fit for us."

Hollins transferring

Defensive tackle Jonathan Hollins has quit the team, a UA spokesman confirmed Tuesday.

Hollins, 22, did not play in Saturday's weather-shortened "Meet the Team" scrimmage. He's expected to enroll at a Div. 1-AA school sometime in the next few weeks.

Hollins redshirted in 2009 after transferring from College of the Canyons. He was expected to battle for a starting job in training camp but fell to third string behind starter Sione Tuihalamaka and backup Willie Mobley.

Hollins' next stop, wherever it is, will mark his fifth college commitment. He verbally committed to Texas Tech out of high school but opted for a prep school instead. Hollins signed a letter of intent with Tennessee while at College of the Canyons before it was voided; he signed with the UA shortly afterward.

Practice canceled

For the second time in four days, the Wildcats lost a day of practice because of weather. Lightning and rain forced the UA to cancel Tuesday's on-campus workout; the players watched film instead.

Up next

• What: Arizona at Toledo - season opener

• When: 5 p.m. Sept. 3


• Radio: 1290-AM