Promising 2010 now in jeopardy

Tim Kosch

First it was defensive coordinator Mark Stoops. Then it was tight end Rob Gronkowski. Now it’s offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes. Three of the most integral parts of Arizona’s success over the past two seasons are now gone, and they’re taking next season’s Rose Bowl hopes with them.

For the past few years there were some things you could always count on. You knew the sun would come up, you knew that “”Jersey Shore’s””  “”The Situation”” and DJ Pauly D would be gelling their hair, you knew that Arizona would play aggressively on defense under Mark Stoops and that Arizona’s offense would spread defenses out under Dykes.

And an optimist hoped that Arizona football would eventually reach a Rose Bowl, and if someone were to look at rosters of 2010 Pacific 10 Conference teams, he or she would decide that this would be the Wildcats’ best chance.

But it isn’t anymore, and that’s bittersweet.

Arizona will feel it on the field. The defense might not lose as much because head coach Mike Stoops has always had a say in what the defense does.

The offense, however, will struggle.

Remember Arizona’s offense before Dykes took over? I don’t either. It was nonexistent.

Whoever Stoops brings in to run the offense — the safe money is that the new coordinator will come from outside the program — will be fortunate to take over an offense that returns its quarterback, running back and all wide receivers but one, but if the new coach favors a drastically different philosophy then there could be some growing pains.

The silver lining is that Arizona is becoming a program that produces talent.

You can’t blame Mark Stoops for becoming the defensive coordinator at Florida State.

He’ll be able to recruit some of the best athletes in the country, and if he succeeds in returning the Seminoles to glory then he’ll be one of the hottest head-coaching candidates in the nation.

You can’t blame Gronkowski for going pro.

Could he have benefited from staying in school? Absolutely. But Gronk is such a freak athlete and tough football player that NFL teams will be lining up to have him.

You can’t blame Dykes for becoming the head coach at Louisiana Tech.

Every coach in America, regardless of current position, got into coaching with the intention of becoming a head coach. Is Louisiana Tech on the same level as Arizona? Not even close, but Dykes needed — and desperately wanted — head coaching experience. In a few years, he will be applicable to those “”big name”” schools that want someone with head coaching experience, and if it doesn’t work out he will be able to find a job as an offensive coordinator within minutes.

Look at Derek Dooley. He was the last coach at Louisiana Tech and he just got hired to run the show at Tennessee. That’s what Dykes saw when he decided to take this job, and you can’t blame him for that.

But you also can’t blame Arizona fans for not buying into that silver lining, and you can’t blame Arizona fans for giving up on next year’s Rose Bowl before the season even starts.

— Tim Kosch is a journalism senior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.