Defensive line coach Stan Eggen looks to motivate young players by bringing passion and energy


Ana Beltran

Running back, Gary Brightwell (23), grasping the ball as Texas Tech attempts a tackle. Saturday night’s game ended with a score of 28-14 making the Wildcats 2-1.

Ryan Wohl

Newly hired defensive line coach Stan Eggen seems to be fitting in well with the Arizona Wildcat football team. Throughout his career, he has coached at many respectable programs like Alabama, Texas A&M, Iowa State and New Mexico. Eggen has also coached two former super bowl champions: Von Miller and Michael Bennett. Eggen has always been known for his intense and loud personality on the football field over his 40 years being an assistant coach.

“I have a passion for it, instant feedback and I want them to know I want them to be the best they can be,” Eggen said.

“I want them to be tough and physical and to be accountable,” Eggen said. “I grew up in that kind of environment, it’s about blue collar and family.”

Defensive linemen, Aaron Blackwell, played for coach Eggen at New Mexico for his first three years of college but after an injury a season ago, he jumped when an opportunity arose to play at a childhood favorite school of his.

Eggen has spoken very highly of Blackwell through the first week of fall camp as he has been playing the role of veteran mentor to the younger players. He has experience of being a leader as he was a team captain with the Lobos last season while being named an honorable mention for the All-Mountain West conference in 2018.

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“I like the way he plays, he’s gonna be tough and he understands what it takes,” Eggen said. “He knows how to practice and lead by example and he’s gaining more confidence with playing here at this level and doing a great job with fitting in.”

So far, no one in particular has stood out and separated themselves from the group through the first few practices. The older players will look to grow the freshmen who are looking to fit in and make a mark early on in the upcoming season.

“This early it is about the group as a whole and I have been pleased with the direction we are going in,” Eggen said. “Every day is a new day. I think they are buying into it; we are trying to be more violent and physical. It comes back to technique, doing your job every play. When you try to do too much you end up doing nothing, if everyone does their job it will happen naturally.”

This is very promising stuff to hear from one of Arizona’s key defensive players up front while trying to help grow the six freshman D-linemen still getting their feet wet.

Blackwell didn’t play much in 2019 with the Lobos after suffering a season ending knee injury in his first game of the 2019 season. He has since stayed positive throughout his journey and continued to rehab at home once the pandemic started.

“I have been fully cleared, I have been grinding every day since it happened,” Blackwell said. “I feel amazing, I have been working with the best training staff and I’m gaining confidence every day.”

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