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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Coordinator Canales resigns

    Tom Canales
    Tom Canales

    Co-offensive coordinator Mike Canales resigned from the Arizona football team yesterday morning after presiding over one of the nation’s worst offenses for the last three seasons.

    Canales’ departure comes two days after the Wildcats’ attack sputtered in a 28-14 loss to ASU at Arizona Stadium.

    “”There’s never a good time to leave a situation where you feel there’s still work to do, but Arizona football will benefit in the long term,”” Canales said in a statement. “”I’ve had a good time here and think the program is ready to take off, and often some new leadership is the appropriate decision.””

    UA head coach Mike Stoops said in a statement that the search for Canales’ replacement will start immediately and that his successor would also become the new offensive coordinator.

    One likely candidate is Dana Dimel, a first-year member of the coaching staff who was promoted from tight ends coach to co-offensive coordinator in early October.

    “”Mike’s been a loyal member of this staff

    It’s not a secret that we’ve had some difficulty in the past couple of years on offense, and I agree that the direction of our program will best be served by a change.

    – Mike Stoops,
    UA head coach

    but feels it’s time to make a move,”” Stoops said. “”It’s not a secret that we’ve had some difficulty in the past couple of years on offense, and I agree that the direction of our program will best be served by a change.””

    The Wildcats scored only 16.6 points per game this season, 105th out of 119 NCAA Division I-A teams and ninth in the Pacific 10 Conference. Arizona averaged 14.9 points per game in 2004, the second-worst mark in the nation.

    The emergence of freshman quarterback Willie Tuitama over the final five games of 2005 suggested the Wildcats’ attack this season would ably compliment a defense that emerged as one of the best in the Pac-10.

    But frequent injuries behind center, particularly three concussions suffered by Tuitama, mixed with an ineffective running game in the Wildcats’ first six contests to put the unit again among the nation’s most inept.

    “”Canales was a great guy, and he was a good coach,”” wide receiver Mike Thomas said in a phone interview yesterday. “”It was just unfortunate for him. It was just the business side of the game we play.””

    After Dimel took over a share of the team’s offensive play-calling, Arizona’s running game caught a second wind, gaining 220 rushing yards in a 20-7 win over Stanford Oct. 14.

    Junior running back Chris Henry averaged 114 and two rushing touchdowns on nearly 30 carries a game during a crucial three-game win streak to start November, as the Wildcats averaged 29.7 points per game in that span.

    Canales, 45, was hired in January 2004 after serving as the New York Jets’ wide receivers coach in 2003.

    He joined with the Wildcats with 16 years of experience coaching quarterbacks, highlighted by a two-year stint with North Carolina State in 2001-02, when he tutored 2004 first-round NFL draft pick Philip Rivers.

    Including this season, Canales has been an offensive coordinator for 16 of his 22 years as a coach.

    Dimel, 44, was the head coach at Houston from 2000 to 2002 and Wyoming from 1997 to 1999.

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