The emotions are surely still raw, and decisions by and large still need to be made, but the chance to do something very special in 2024 and beyond still remains a strong possibility for the Arizona Wildcats. Left high and dry by their former coach, or as some have called a snake oil salesman, Noah Fifita and Tetairoa Mcmillan have become the rallying voices for trying to keep the Wildcats together and keep the status quo as much as possible as long as the administration hears them out.
This feels like a scene straight out of another situation that happened in State College, PA back around 2011-2012. Now, hear me out on this before jumping to why this situation happened, because it is about the actions taken by the players and not the atrocity that caused the event to happen. Once the NCAA dropped what was expected to be a borderline equivalent of a modern-day death penalty of a program, a core of the Penn State Nittany Lions players led by a fan favorite in Michael Mauti rallied the players to by and large keep a strong core together with the positive momentum they had (sound familiar?).
This allowed Penn State, which was just about to hire Bill O'Brien as head coach, to remain strong through a darker period for the players. Every time, even after moving onto the NFL, when Michael Mauti returns to State College, Pennsylvania, he is revered amongst some of the more important names to have donned the Penn State jersey, because he was the leader of the retention effort to keep the core together.
Servite core at the forefront
Now the quartet from Servite High School will already go down as important pieces in Arizona Football history as they were among the first to see and believe in the vision and revitalization efforts of the U of A. If they choose to remain, as reports are indicating, it may very well be time to look at renaming the field to Juice County Field at Arizona Stadium. It's clear that Noah Fifita and Tetairoa McMillan have the ear of the locker room as leaders, and if they along with Jacob Manu and Keyan Burnett stick through the change while keeping a core of this team together, their status as University of Arizona Football legends will be cemented and revered amongst some of the most important in school history.
It's time to believe in Brennan
He was the hire I wanted in 2021. While I may have wanted Johnny Nansen a bit more this time, as it appeared it would keep the core together, I have no doubts that this is a strong hire for the next era in Arizona Football. With what he has been able to pull off with the minuscule budget he had at San Jose State to make them a consistent contender in the Mountain West, there is no reason to lose hope or faith that Arizona should remain strong as long as the core remains intact.
To the players departing:
Truth be told, this is a section I want none of our guys from the 2023 squad to be in, but that is inevitable, so I simply say thank you to them.
Thank you for believing in this program when it was at its worst, and thank you for helping elevate the program to a 10-win season. I wish any of those guys who depart the absolute best, and, as long as they don't head to Washington, I'll be rooting for you every Saturday you don't play the Wildcats. If you end up in Washington, well then once you get to the NFL I'll be back in full support, but fans must respect the decision no matter what any player decides is best for their career and development.