After six years in the Mike Stoops' era with an offensive coordinator/QB coach, Arizona went in a different direction this season with its staff responsibilities. Offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh and RB/TE coach Seth Littrell are co-offensive coordinators and Frank Scelfo was hired to coach the quarterbacks. It was also a change in roles for Scelfo, who came to Arizona after spending the past decade as both an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Tulane and most recently at Louisiana Tech. Scelfo had a positive impact this spring in ushering along juniors Nick Foles, Matt Scott and Bryson Beirne.
Scelfo took some time this week to answer a few questions.
Here are the highlights of our conversation:
What are the benefits to the reorganization of the staff now, with you focusing your attention on the quarterbacks?
Frank Scelfo: I think there’s a chemistry deal here that’s pretty good. I’ve been a coordinator the last 15 years, so it’s being able to focus. Coach Stoops wanted more emphasis placed on quarterback fundamentals and teaching those guys footwork, and quarterback development. It’s not so much to relieve me of responsibilities of coordinating, it’s more of just allowing me to focus on that instead of the day-to-day operation stuff. It’s worked out. It was good this spring, the transition was easy. There’s been some new ideas introduced. It’s been good.
Do you miss more of the involvement with Xs and Os though?
FS: No, because I’m still doing that also, but I don’t have to worry about the right guard now so much. I don’t have to worry about the inside receiver, just some of that stuff. Now I can focus on an opponent breakdown, not so much the general scheme. I can really ID some of the more specific things the quarterbacks need to look at. It’s kind of allowed me to back off a little bit and take another look and obviously do what I love to do -- develop quarterbacks.
Tell me just a little bit about the quarterbacks. How is the situation there?
FS: Good. The only thing is, they’re just young, not a lot of football in their backgrounds. When I say that, there are three juniors coming up. Matt Scott started the first three games and then Nick Foles came in and finished up the season. It was roller coaster. They played well, they played poor, they had average games. What’s going to happen is I think these two guys push each other. They’re different guys. Nick is more of a pocket guy. He’s a bigger guy -- 6-5, 240. Matt’s about a 6-3, 215 guy who runs around pretty good. There’s a nice balance between the two from a talent standpoint. That gives us an opportunity to look at different things package-wise.
The competition was good. We really saw a lot of fundamentals. They saw what I was telling them was helping them. When that happens, there’s an air of legitimacy. There’s more belief in what I’m telling them. There’s always a question mark -- ‘Who’s this guy telling me this?’ But they actually saw some positive results and because of that, that helped out the transition.
What are you looking for in summer camp now? What’s the next step for those guys?
FS: I think we need some more leadership. They’ve got to assert themselves more. Offensively we have a veteran bunch. I want to see, the last practice in the spring to the first practice in the fall, I want to see some progress that’s been made throughout the summer. They know what they need to work on. They know what they need to get better on. I want to see a change in that guy from the last practice in April to when we come back. Their offseason work habits are really important.
And do you sense they’re committed to that, based on what you saw toward the end of the spring?
FS: There’s a sense of urgency with those guys. They really are tuned into what’s happening. They want to win. They’re embarrassed by the bowl game last year. They’re paying with a chip on their shoulder and they realize the importance of what we’re trying to accomplish and how many people it really impacts.