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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Football notes: New offensive coordinator impressed with Scott, excited about running backs

Mike Christy
The University of Arizona football team takes part in morning practice Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2010, at the Rincon Vista Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz. The Wildcats look to reach a bowl game for the third season in a row with quarterback Nick Foles at the helm. (Photograph by Mike Christy)

Calvin Magee has been there every step of the way since Rich Rodriguez became the head coach at West Virginia in 2001, coaching alongside Rodriguez for the duration of his tenures in West Virginia and Michigan.

Together they’re considered two pioneers of the spread option offense on display at each of their coaching stops.

Magee, a New Orleans native, was hired in December to be an associate head coach, co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach. It’s still early, but so far through spring practice, he likes what he sees.

“(I feel) excitement about the growth everyday, seeing the guys improve from one day to the next,” Magee said. “We got a long way to go, but we’re a long way from where they were. We’re gonna get it, what we’re looking for is for them not to go back on some of the things from the early days and keep improving.”

If any team wants to succeed, productive quarterback play is paramount. In the spread-option offense, the quarterback is asked to do a lot while processing a lot of information. Rodriguez has said that the coaching staff might be overloading senior quarterback Matt Scott with new information, but Magee feels that Scott is more than capable of handling the load.

“Matt’s a vet, you can tell he’s been around and he’s starting to understand, he’s starting to improve in different areas every day,” Magee said. “A lot of times a quarterback has to get himself together (first) but now he’s starting to help others around him.”

At West Virginia and Michigan, Magee coached Pat White and Denard Robinson. Perhaps even more talented were the various running backs that have carried the ball for Magee over the course of his career.

Throughout the course of his career as an offensive coordinator at West Virginia, Michigan and Pittsburgh, running backs have flourished in the system:

Steve Slaton, West Virginia (2005-2007): 3,923 rushing yards and 50 touchdowns

Quincy Wilson, West Virginia (2001-2003): 2,462 yards, 19 touchdowns

Kay-Jay Harris, West Virginia (2003-2004): 1,483 yards, 14 touchdowns

Brandon Minor, Michigan (2009-2010): 1,035 yards, 17 touchdowns

Ray Graham, Pittsburgh (2011): 958 yards, 9 touchdowns

Which is why it shouldn’t be so surprising that Magee is enjoying the depth and talent he has at the running back position in Arizona.

“That’s been a fun competition, it’s gonna continue to be a competition to the end,” Magee said. “I’ve been pleased with DJ (Daniel Jenkins), been pleased with Ka’Deem (Carey). Taimi (Tutogi) brings a different element to him, (Kylan Butler) has done some wonderful things. He plays hard and then the freshmen even get some reps in the spring.”

Rodriguez impressed with Slavin at receiver

Tyler Slavin, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound sophomore, got lost in the shuffle at wide receiver last year.
Playing time was sparse for the Corona, Calif., native, playing behind the likes of Juron Criner, David Douglas, David Roberts, Gino Crump, Dan Buckner and Austin Hill.

If Saturday’s scrimmage was any indication, that won’t be the case in 2012. In Arizona’s second scrimmage of the spring, Slavin hauled in nine catches for 85 yards and a score. Slavin made five appearances in 2011 but didn’t record a catch.

Head coach Rich Rodriguez is impressed with Slavin, but said that if he wants to contribute he will need to step up his conditioning.

“He’s been pretty good,” Rodriguez said. He’s a competitive guy. It’s been up and down, you know its hard for him to go three good plays in a row since he’s out of shape. But once he commits to that, which he’ll hopefully do over the summer, I think he’s got a chance to help us a lot.

“He’s got a lot of skills he’s a talented guy and I know its important to him, he’s got to get to the point where he’s more consistent.”

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