NEW Arizona Wildcats football logo 2 Sumlin UA

Arizona Wildcats coach Kevin Sumlin participated in a Pac-12 coaches conference call to wrap up spring practice Monday morning. Sumlin talked about adjusting to the league, coaching up Khalil Tate, recruiting and tweaking the roster. Here are his comments:

(on adjusting to the Pac-12 as one of several new coaches)

“You’ve got four or five new guys. You’ve got guys that have been here. It’s a challenge for everybody. But ultimately, football’s football. Styles may change a little bit. … The difficult part is, the film and video can only tell you so much. It’s really on the field that you start to feel what the league is like. That won’t happen until we actually go out and play.”

(on QB Tate’s progress through spring)

“Everybody has seen his talent. The guy has only started eight games (in 2017). He’d be the first to tell you there’s room for improvement. He’s played in some games, but he’s only started eight. He’s been dynamic in probably six or seven of those eight. He’s got huge potential. There’s some things we can help him with. I think Noel Mazzone’s doing a great job with him. We’ve had our own talks just about leadership and all the things that come along with it, handing media, everything like that. He’s got a big upside, and he needs to continue to grow.”

(on how recruiting has gone so far)

“I think we’re doing pretty well. We’ve had some guys on campus that everybody knows, and we’ve had some guys on campus that nobody knows just because of our evaluation. Last week was the first week that our coaches were out recruiting. We took the week after spring football to really evaluate our own guys and have our meetings and assess where we are at positionally. And then go out and see some of our targets and really start inside-out here in the state, going to see a bunch of guys.

“What we’ve done is, at first, try to assess where we were as a program with our players; the only way we could do that was during practice. And then after that, look at what the numbers are. Recruiting … you’re always moving. We don’t have a lot of scholarships, based on the numbers, but we’ve gotta be accurate in our evaluations. I think our coaches are doing a pretty good job with that.”

(on the possibility of adding transfers)

“We could. We have some room for that. It would have to be the right fit. For us, a batch of transfers would (help) because we’re such a young team. … Right now we are in the market and looking at all options, particularly the grad-transfer market. There’s a possibility of that.”

(on whether the offensive line remains a work in progress)

“The whole team’s a work in progress. The offensive line … is there a possibility for help there? I know we’re exploring options there from a grad-transfer standpoint.”


Michael is an award-winning journalist who has been covering sports professionally since the early '90s. He started at the Star in 2015 after spending 15 years at The Orange County Register. Michael is a graduate of Northwestern University.