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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Assistant coaches officially hired, two QBs transfering

Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat Arizona Wildcats scrimmage at Arizona Stadium Saturday, Aug 20, 2011.

Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez made his first three coaching hires official on Monday and more will likely be coming soon.

The Wildcats announced the hires of Tony Dews, Calvin Magee and Tony Gibson, who left the Pittsburgh Panthers to join Rodriguez’s staff.

“I’m hoping by the end of the week I can get a couple more spots filled,” Rodriguez told the Daily Wildcat on Monday, adding that he looks at hiring a coaching staff much like recruiting in that it’s a competitive world.

Magee will act as a offensive coordinator and associate head coach. Gibson will become the Wildcats’ secondary coach and Dews will coach wide receivers.

Rodriguez said he has standing offers to a few coaches, and other prospective assistants are still sending him information every day. But for the first time in his career, Rodriguez is taking as much time as possible to find the right fits.

“It’s tough, I want guys right now getting on the road recruiting and all that,” Rodriguez said. “I’m being more deliberate than I’ve been in the past, but I think I’ll like the way it is in the end.”

Quarterbacks transfer

Signal-callers Tom Savage, a redshirt junior, and Daxx Garman, a freshman, said Monday they will transfer from Arizona.

Savage sat out this past season after transferring from Rutgers, where he was a Freshman All-American in 2009. He said his departure is a personal issue and wasn’t related to any schemes that Rodriguez would implement.

Garman was the third-string quarterback this season but didn’t see any snaps for the Wildcats.

The moves leave redshirt senior Matt Scott as the only returning quarterback on the roster, though receiver Richard Morrison, a sophomore, originally came to Tucson with the intention of playing quarterback.

Switching it up

At his first two Division I head-coaching stops, Rich Rodriguez’s teams played on FieldTurf, a synthetic turf that’s filled with sand and rubber pellets designed to mimic grass.

Now at Arizona, Rodriguez is trying to make sure his third head-coaching gig will have the same surface.

“It’s not going to happen this year,” Rodriguez said. “We don’t know for sure, but it may happen as soon as the 2013 season.”

The first-year head coach called FieldTurf “the safest surface that’s out there,” and said its biggest advantage is that the team can practice on it every day without it getting torn up like a grass field.

Coming soon

Arizona is scheduled to break ground on its North End Zone project sometime in January, and Rodriguez said he couldn’t be more excited.

“I look at (the plans) every day,” Rodriguez said. “I want to put them all over campus for everyone to see. For me, that’s a big deal. I can’t say enough about how important that is to show that we take football seriously here at the University of Arizona.”

Rodriguez said that once his coaching staff is finalized, it will sit down with the athletic department and make any minor tweaks to the facility that it thinks are necessary.

“The athletic department has been great,” Rodriguez said. “I feel so good about everybody pulling that direction.”

Climbing up

While at Michigan, Rodriguez told the athletic department that he thought his fourth year at the school would be when the Wolverines would start having success. He didn’t make it that far, and Rodriguez said he hasn’t had a similar conversation with Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne.

“I’m hoping it doesn’t take that long,” Rodriguez said, adding that he’ll be able to make a more accurate projection after spring practice.

But Rodriguez wasn’t shy about saying what level he wants his football team to be at and where he wants it to stay.

“The level I want is top 10 every year,” Rodriguez said. “You may be one, you may be five or six, but you’re going to be in that conversation every year. We’re not there right now. I’ll keep working as hard as I can until we get there.”

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