While the Arizona Wildcats inched closer to hiring a new defensive coordinator Tuesday, one of their former assistants found a new home.
Indiana named Seth Littrell its new offensive coordinator. And here's a twist: The coach Littrell's replacing, Rod Smith, was named Arizona's co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach last month.
Littrell, who spent three seasons as Arizona's running backs coach, co-offensive coordinator and offensive coordinator, called his new job "a great opportunity." He should feel right at home in Bloomington: Hoosiers secondary coach Brandon Shelby and strength coach Mark Hill are also former UA employees.
"I am very excited to be at an unbelievable university in the prestigious Big Ten Conference," Littrell said.
The 33-year-old will work under IU head coach Kevin Wilson, a spread-offense guru. The two coaches share some of the same background: Littrell played fullback at Oklahoma and was a captain on the Sooners' 2000 national championship team. Wilson served as OU's co-offensive coordinator (2002-05) and offensive coordinator (2006-10) before being hired at Indiana a year ago.
Wilson said Tuesday he received many applicants for the vacant job, "but I kept coming back to Seth."
"Seth is one of the most innovative, young coordinators in the country," Wilson said. "We are excited to incorporate his successful background with the spread passing game into our offense."
Arizona threw for a school-record 370.8 yards per game and averaged 465.2 yards per game in 2011. Littrell will join an Indiana program that finished 85th nationally in total offense last fall. Littrell is the third member of former coach Mike Stoops' staff to find a new job this offseason. Former defensive tackles coach Joe Salave'a and recruiting coordinator Dave Emerick both accepted positions at Washington State last month, and former quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo is reportedly a candidate for the vacant offensive coordinator's job at Auburn.
Scelfo knows the coaching carousel well - he landed at Arizona two years ago as part of a chain of events that began when USC coach Pete Carroll left for the NFL's Seattle Seahawks. USC replaced Carroll with Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin, Tennessee replaced Kiffin with Louisiana Tech coach Derek Dooley, and Louisiana Tech replaced Dooley with UA offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes. Dykes chose not to retain Scelfo, who was Tech's acting head coach after Dooley left, and so the longtime assistant replaced Dykes at Arizona.
Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez is expected to complete his staff in the coming days. Reports out of Morgantown, W.Va., have linked the UA to West Virginia defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel, who would likely bring at least one Mountaineers assistant with him to Tucson.
Casteel has not commented publicly about the UA job, though news could come as soon as West Virginia's season ends after tonight's Orange Bowl.