And so it starts. A new era has begun for the Arizona Wildcat football program – and the ride into the future is off to a bumpy start.
Newly-installed head coach, Rich Rodriguez, has added an offensive coordinator to his staff, bringing in Calvin Magee from the Pittsburgh program.
But it looks like Magee will have to add a quarterback to his offense just to be able to scrimmage. The Tucson media report that two QBs have decided to transfer out of the program, which means the Cats are down to Matt Scott – who didn’t even play last year.
There are a couple of incoming quarterbacks that were recruited in by Mike Stoops before he was fired after a 1-5 start, but the coaching staff will have to wait to see if either, or both, will agree to play for a new coach and try to fit into a new offensive system.
Either way, there will likely be some recruiting calls made to the junior colleges, looking for some immediate help.
In the meantime, the job belongs to Scott, a senior who was redshirted last season to give him an opportunity to step back in after Nick Foles departs this year. The 6’3″ dual-threat QB from Centennial High School in California was actually the starter for the 2009 season and won the first two games before a loss to Iowa prompted Stoops to replace him with Foles, who went on to set school passing records and become one of the premier quarterbacks in the Pac-12.
Scott saw action in just two games in 2010, filling in for an injured Foles, but he won both games and ran up almost 700 yards of total offense against UCLA and Washington.
Stoops was sitting pretty going into 2012, with an experienced fifth-year senior at the controls and a couple of back-ups with big upsides.
Daxx Garman was the first member of Arizona’s 2011 recruiting class and considered a prize catch. He didn’t play his senior year in high school due to an eligibility issue that resulted from a transfer, but threw for 2,107 yards and 23 touchdowns as a junior at Jones High School in Oklahoma.
Tom Savage, on the other hand, came to Arizona with a couple of years of college ball under his belt. The 6’5″, 240-pound quarterback, who was a five-star recruit coming out of high school, played two years at Rutgers.
As a freshman, he led the Scarlet Knights to a 9-4 record, racking up 2,211 yards passing and 14 touchdowns. But he saw minimal playing time his sophomore year, due to a hand injury.
Garman departed a week ago, while Savage just announced his intent to leave for family reasons.
But the coaching staff is growing. In addition to Magee, who will also assume the title of associate head coach, Rodriguez has also added a defensive coordinator, Tony Gibson, and a secondary coach, Tony Dews.
All three worked with Rodriguez in his previous stops at West Virginia and Michigan and were working on the coaching staff at Pittsburgh when they got the call from Rodriguez to join him in Tucson.
Now Rich Rod just needs to hold on to enough players to give the new guys somebody to coach.