Coaching and fundamentals more important for Arizona than recruiting

With the Arizona Football staff finalized, now the Wildcats can focus on trying to improve this team, but it’s going to start with coaching and the fundamentals.

It’s been a busy off-season thus far for Kevin Sumlin and the Arizona Football team. Needing to put together an improved football staff, in my opinion, Sumlin did so by making three, very solid hires.

Paul Rhoads will become the new defensive coordinator, Stan Eggen will become the new defensive line coach, and Andy Buh will coach outside linebackers for the Cats!

With the staff all finalized, now they can focus on recruiting. However, more important than recruiting for Arizona, at least for the immediate future will be coaching and getting this team back to the fundamentals.

Look, there’s no denying things have been bad here in Tucson, and the product on the field is a direct correlation to that. Since Sumlin’s arrival, the team is a combined 9-15.

I know a lot of people will chalk that to poor recruiting and a lack of talent. While that is partially true, it’s also a weak answer and doesn’t really address more of Arizona’s true failure’s the past two seasons.

No it’s not all Khalil Tate’s fault either. In essence, the Wildcats have struggled due to poor coaching and a lack of development, perhaps even regression these past couple seasons.

We all saw how atrocious the defense was last year, and while Arizona is undersized at some positions, the regression of both Colin Schooler and Tony Fields II to me is more of a clear indication of the lack of solid coaching and development they should have been getting these past two seasons.

You can see clears examples from some of the most talented players/ teams in the country. If the coaching lacks in any way, you’re not going to win. See USC and Florida State.

Now let me hit you with the hard truth. Arizona HAS NOT AND WILL NOT EVER RECRUIT AT A HIGH LEVEL, unless they were to become a national power.

I see the comments frequently, ‘Arizona should get more four-star and five-star players’. That’s great, but reality says otherwise, and Tucson is not going to be a destination place for the countries’ top football players.

‘But great basketball players come here!’ Yeah, to play basketball at a school that has a lot of tradition with multiple NBA picks, consistent tournament appearances, and an outside chance to hopefully get to a national championship.

Arizona Football is typically lucky to win more than eight games in season. You think those top recruits are going to then pick Arizona over Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, etc. because of the weather and unique things Tucson offers? Be realistic.

While I do think recruiting needs to improve, more importantly I think this staff is going to need to focus on coaching and development more than anything. They simply must, or be relegated to a poor product on and off the field.

It can be done, look at some of the Power Five programs that are typically middle tier when it comes to recruiting (Minnesota – 34th, Baylor – 54th, Virginia – 50th, etc.), that have been finding ways to win.

Whether it’s Sumlin or some other coach in the future, if Arizona wants to win and get better, they have to get it done in the weight room, on the practice field, etc.

At Zona Zealots, we’re hopeful this staff can turn things around and start getting this group to improve quickly. Bear Down, Arizona!

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