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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Coaching carousel finally comes to halt

    Arizona may not have its full recruiting class set, but it has made its final staff hires for next season.

    Head coach Mike Stoops announced yesterday that former Rice running backs coach Michael Smith will replace Kasey Dunn, who left the Wildcats in December to take a job with Baylor.

    Arizona’s 2007 coaching staff

    Football head coach Mike Stoops said yesterday that the team has finalized its coaching staff for next season, barring any resignations. In all this offseason, the Wildcats gained four new offensive coaches and a new director of research and personnel.

    In Out
    Bill Bedenbaugh
    (offensive line/running game)
    Eric Wolford*
    Sonny Dykes
    (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
    Mike Canales*
    Michael Smith
    (running backs)
    Kasey Dunn*
    Darrell Wyatt
    (wide receivers/passing game)
    Charlie Williams*
    Andrew Weidinger**
    (director of research and personnel)
    Dan Berezowitz*

    *resigned
    **promoted

    Smith, also a longtime coach at Kansas State, will coach Arizona’s backs, while new offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh will call running plays.

    Graduate assistant Andrew Weidinger will replace former director of research and personnel Dan Berezowitz, who resigned Jan. 17 to join Minnesota.

    “”Regardless of what you read in the paper, I think we’re set,”” Stoops said. “”Some people know more than I do. I wonder how they get their information.””

    Smith is the program’s fourth new offensive coach this offseason, joining Bedenbaugh, Sonny Dykes (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks) and Darrell Wyatt (wide receivers/passing game coordinator).

    Smith coached one season with the Owls after spending the previous 11 at Kansas State as a running backs coach and graduate assistant.

    One of his protǸgǸs, Darren Sproles, rushed for 235 yards to help the Wildcats win the 2003 Big 12 Conference title over Stoops’ Oklahoma team.

    He also coached alongside Stoops at Kansas State under former head coach Bill Snyder.

    “”I think he brings a great personality,”” Stoops said of Smith. “”He’s a very dynamic coach. He’s won championships.””

    Dykes, Bedenbaugh and Wyatt replaced Mike Canales, Eric Wolford and Charlie Williams, respectively. The departed coaches had been with Arizona since Stoops’ first season in 2004.

    Dana Dimel will remain tight ends coach after sharing offensive coordinator duties with Canales for six games last season.

    “”The changes we made, we had to,”” Stoops said.

    Stoops said he took his time hiring new coaches to allow them to finish recruiting with their schools.

    In Smith’s case, Stoops waited as a favor for Rice athletic director Chris Del Conte, a former UA associate athletic director.

    The delay and volume of the changes may have swayed athletes to look elsewhere this recruiting season, Stoops said, but he believes the team can rebound.

    “”I think this staff, hopefully having them in place for a year, we’ll get on recruiting, make up for a sub-par year, statistically speaking,”” he said. “”But we won’t know how all this turns out for another two years.””

    Developing chemistry among the new and old coaches will be critical to on- and off-field success, said Jamie Newberg, a national recruiting analyst for scout.com.

    If Dykes and the other offensive newcomers can put together a vastly improved unit, the shakeup should work in the Wildcats’ favor, Newberg said.

    “”I know coach Stoops is all about defense, defense, defense,”” he said. “”We talked last year, and Arizona is recruiting well under Mike Stoops. They’re real close. They got just to get consistency on the offensive side, and hopefully, those (new coaches) will bring it to them.””

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