With Defensive Coordinator Johnny Nansen announcing that he's leaving Tucson for Texas, Arizona Football will still be in good hands.
Welp, coach poaching season has begun. And for Arizona Football, it was bound to happen eventually, as for a smaller program like ours, it is the cost of being successful.
And just a week removed from completing its best season in the past decade by winning 10 games and knocking off then No. 12 Oklahoma in the Valero Alamo Bowl, it was made known that defensive coordinator Johnny Nansen will be leaving Arizona for Texas.
Nansen spent two seasons in Tucson where he was a big part in turning around a defense that ranked 124th overall in 2022, to 48th overall in 2023.
The news broke via social media on Saturday afternoon, and Nansen's sudden departure is leaving many fans with mixed emotions, and curious as to where Arizona and coach Jedd Fisch turn to next.
While Johnny Nansen leaving is unfortunate, Arizona Football will still be in good hands despite his departure.
I know as a fan of Arizona Football, processing this kind of news can be challenging, and it can take us to some dark places. Forgive us, we're not used to success.
For a lot of programs, poaching is normal and it's called the cost of being successful. Unfortunately, we don't have the deep pockets of Texas A&M, the reputation of Ohio State, or the prowess and tradition of Alabama, but hopefully, one day, if we are lucky enough, we will too!
However, for the first time in a long time, football in Tucson is fun, and for us, we could be on the precipice of something bigger/better!
The team just had its first 10-win season (fourth overall) since 2014 and returns 18 of 22 starters heading into 2024. And Arizona is a dark horse to potentially make the expanded college football playoffs next year! That's insane to even think, considering where we were just 3-4 years ago!
Head Coach Jedd Fisch has a lot of connections in the world of football, and Arizona has a defense that a lot of people will want to coach. Beyond that, the Wildcats' program as a whole is an attractive place to be right now.
Whether it happens to be Duane Akina coaching the defense (I have my doubts for several reasons that I won't go into here) or someone else, the Wildcats will be fine, and fans need to save the knee-jerk reactions.
Good things are brewing in Tucson!