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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Online update: Canales canned as co-offensive coordinator

    Mike Canales
    Mike Canales

    Co-offensive coordinator Mike Canales resigned from the Arizona football team Monday 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 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 complement a defense that emerged as one of the best in the Pac-10.

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

    After Dimel took over a share of the team’s offensive playcalling, Arizona’s running game caught a second wind.

    Junior running back Chris Henry averaged 114 yards 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 the Wildcats with 16 years of experience coaching quarterbacks, highlighted by a two-year stint with North Carolina State in 2001-2002 when he tutored 2004 No. 4 overall 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 2000-2002 and Wyoming from 1997-1999.

    – Information from www.arizonaathletics.com contributed to this report.

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