Hot Sheet: Denker hopes to switch from yellee to yeller as coach someday

November 23, 2013 12:00 am

In this week's Hot Sheet, the Star's Daniel Berk dishes the goods on B.J. Denker's coaching aspirations, how Oregon dismantled the Cats in 2012, Tevin Hood's humor, RichRod's short list of offensively-challenged games and Jake Fischer in a Q&A.

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  • B.J. Denker has gotten yelled at this year — a lot.

    If things go his way, he’ll be the one doing the yelling soon enough. Denker, who will celebrate his Senior Day today at Arizona Stadium, said this week he wants to be a coach once his playing career is over. Yelling, he figures, will be one of the biggest job perks.

    “Hopefully I’ll be in Tucson in a couple of years and you’ll be seeing more of me and coach won’t be yelling at me, I’ll be yelling at somebody else in a red and blue jersey,” Denker said. “I’ll be a Division I coach in the next 10-15 years. That would be my goal.”

    Denker said he’s going “to try to play as long as possible” — even if it means moving to Canada or Europe for a few years. After that, the Wildcats quarterback wants to join a staff as a graduate assistant and move his way up the coaching latter.

    Rodriguez thinks his quarterback will make a good coach.

    “He’s really smart and he picks things up well,” Rodriguez said. “Sometimes I forget it’s just his second year. I think he would be an excellent coach. I think he’s got a pretty good base of knowledge.”

    Today will be Denker’s final start at Arizona Stadium and the quarterback was the focus of a Rodriguez message to his team earlier this week.

    Rodriguez was asked this week if he was proud of Denker, the team’s first-year starter. His answer:

    “Absolutely, and I mentioned that to the team the other day,” Rodriguez said. “I said we got after him hard, Coach (Rod) Smith and I, from August, even in spring practice, and he’s gotten better and I think he’s been a good leader.

    “For a second-year player, I’m really proud of the way he’s performed.”

    Denker, who came to the UA from Cerritos Junior College before the 2012 season, has a hard time believing his Senior Day is already here.

    “I remember graduating high school, saying, ‘What am I going to do? Am I even going to have a chance to play Division I?’ Denker said. “Then I got the call and I was here and now it’s my last home game. It’s gone by fast and I just try to enjoy every moment of it. I’ll have some great memories.”

    • Date: Sept. 22, 2012
    • What went down: A Rich Rodriguez team was shut out for the first time since 2001, and Oregon turned a 13-point halftime lead into a 49-0 win. UA quarterback Matt Scott threw three picks in the loss.
    • How it read: The Star’s Ryan Finley wrote that Oregon’s defense was the key to its win, which isn’t exactly normal. He wrote: “Oregon had just made its biggest play of the night when 58,334 Ducks fans rose as one and started chanting the strangest thing. 'Defense! Defense!' That … word … is practically blasphemy here, home of the ‘Blur’ offense . … But on a strange, mild night in timber country, Oregon’s defense was a buzz-saw. It deserved a curtain call.”
    • Turning point: Leading 20-0 late in the third quarter, Oregon scored on a 55-yard pass from Marcus Mariota to Bralon Addison. Less than two minutes later, cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu had a 54-yard interception return for a touchdown.
    • Stats that matter: Oregon gained 495 yards of total offense on 89 plays and was 5 for 5 in red zone opportunities.
    • It’s history: Oregon won its next six games before losing to Stanford 17-14 in overtime, ruining its chances at a national championship. The Ducks had to settle for a Fiesta Bowl win over Kansas State and finished the year 12-1. Arizona lost its next two games by a combined nine points and finished the season 8-5.
  • No Senior Day is complete without senior superlatives.

    So to help celebrate today’s big day, we sat down with senior nose tackle Tevin Hood and asked him to hand out some accolades to his class members.

    Here’s what he said:

    • Most likely to be the next Rich Rodriguez: “Terrence Miller. He’s already old. He just fits right into that role. The StairMaster is already his niche in the weight room. He has that stern, Tony Dews yell. He gets crazy and then calms back down like nothing happened.”
    • Most likely to be the next Kirk Herbstreit: “B.J. Denker. He takes himself very seriously. I think that will play well into that role. And he likes to see himself in pictures and on camera. So he’ll take that right on.”
    • Class clown: “I hate to say myself, but people would probably all say me, so I’ll take that one.”
    • Most likely to be on “Dancing with the Stars”: “Marquis Flowers, because he thinks he’s Keith Sweat, but he’s really not.”
    • Most likely to be the next president: “Shane Wilson. He thinks he’s going to unite the Latin American and American worlds.”
    • Most likely to be the next social media superstar: “I have to take that one. That’s not even close.”

    Thanks for the help, Tevin. And as we told you a couple of weeks ago, he has the best Twitter feed —@THood98 —on the team.

  • Oregon blanked Arizona the last time these teams met, an feat as dominant as it was rare.

    Rich Rodriguez has been shut out just twice as a Division I head coach. In fact, in his 12 seasons at the helm, a Rodriguez-coached team has only been held under 10 points eight times.

    YearHis teamOpponentScoreRodriguez team total offense
    2010MichiganOhio State37-7351
    2008MichiganOhio State42-7198
    2007West VirginiaPittsburgh13-9183
    2003West VirginiaMaryland41-7241
    2003West VirginiaMaryland34-7156
    2001West VirginiaMiami45-3265
    2001West VirginiaVirginia Tech35-0173
  • Jake Fischer may just be Mr. Tucson when it comes to football.

    The former Ironwood Ridge High School star and fifth-year senior will celebrate Senior Day today and play his final game in Southern Arizona.

    Fischer is a true leader, a hard-nosed linebacker, the heart and soul of Arizona’s defense and one of the best quotes on the team. We chatted with Fischer in advance of his final game at Arizona Stadium:

    Have you been able to think much about the fact that this is your final game in Tucson?

    A: “Yeah, I have. But this is an honest answer; I’m thinking about the game more so and then afterwards, I’ll worry about all the emotions that go into it. I’ll approach the game like every other one. It would be great if we could beat Oregon at least once while I was here. Afterwards, I’ll worry about all the other stuff.”

    How do you want fans and your teammates to remember you?

    A: “I’m a hard worker and I lead by example. I’m not the biggest or fastest guy, but I know what’s going on, on the field to get plays before they do. Hopefully that’s how they remember me.”

    Is Oregon’s speed the most daunting challenge about playing the Ducks?

    A: “Yeah, and how quickly they can strike. Their skill position guys are probably better than anybody else’s in the country, so the thing we have to do is bottle them up and when they run the ball, we have to set an edge and attack downhill. The thing is you’ll get two or three guys around the ball and somehow those guys are good enough to get out. We have to get them on the ground and move onto the next play.”

    Coach Rodriguez talked about how the first couple of senior classes at a new school are always the most special to him because they make his life easier. Was it hard to be the leader of one of those classes and help his adjustment?

    A: “It’s not that hard, just because they come in and we know they’ve been where we want to go. They’ve been to BCS games; he’s obviously succeeded. He had that brief stint over at Michigan and then the year after he left the program, the coach went and won with his guys. So he knows how to recruit, he knows how to coach. You’ll take a bullet for him; that whole coaching staff. They are very personable guys, they are very fiery, but they’re also the kind of guys that will pull you off to the side and explain what you need to do and how you need to become a leader, how you need to grow.”

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