Pac-12: Bill Kirelawich
- Arizona looking everywhere for some defensive pressure, including the offense. Why defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich left West Virginia for Arizona.
- James Morrison becoming the jack of all offensive trades for the Sun Devils.
- Zach Maynard looking more mechanically sound in practice.
- With Shane Dillon redshirting, CU's quarterback competition is down to three. Speaking of QBs, Nick Hirschman is 100 percent.
- Rob Moseley breaks down Oregon's quarterback battle. Mark Helfrich also weighs in on the competition. Is Josh Huff ready to live up to his potential?
- Jordan Poyer out to leave his mark in final season. News and notes from Oregon State's practice.
- Stanford kicker Jordan Williamson smiling again after Fiesta Bowl misses. David Shaw says he has high expectations for receiver Ty Montgomery.
- UCLA feeling the heat practicing away from home. Weather conditions forced some players out of practice and into IVs.
- Silas Redd is a welcome addition to the Trojans. USC offense picking up where it left off last season.
- Redshirt, injury and mission will delay quarterback Chase Hansen until 2015. John White ready to carry Utah again.
- A video interview (and some thoughts from Steve Sarkisian) with Keith Price. Some notes from practice.
- Mike Leach not afraid to show off his disciplinarian side. Rickey Galvin is a wide receiver, at least for now.
Casteel, 49, the Wildcats' new defensive coordinator, said the "time was right" to leave West Virginia. He also came at a good price for Arizona -- see this from the Arizona Daily Star:
Defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel will make $425,000 annually at the UA with bonuses for making a bowl game, less than he was set to make at West Virginia in 2012. Casteel was paid $400,000 at the school last season, when the Mountaineers defeated Clemson in the Orange Bowl. He was due for a $50,000 raise in 2012, 2013 and 2014 as part of a multi-year deal.
Casteel, like Rodriguez, is a native of West Virginia. He coached at West Virginia 11 years -- nine as defensive coordinator -- and seven working with Rodriguez.
“I thought the opportunity to leave West Virginia, this was the right time to do it and embark on another challenge,” Casteel said during a press conference Friday with Rodriguez and Magee.
Casteel not only will bring his 3-3-5 defense, he also will bring much of the staff who coached it for him at West Virginia: defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich (who had been at West Virginia for 32 years) and secondary coach David Lockwood. Secondary coach Tony Gibson, another West Virginia native who was at Pittsburgh last year, was at West Virginia from 2001-07. Gibson followed Rodriguez to Michigan while the others didn't.
"We're back together as a family," Magee said.
More here from the Tucson Citizen.
Some nice perspective here from the West Virginia side of things.
This is a good -- and proven -- staff. Casteel's 3-3-5 defense seems a perfect fit for the Pac-12, and Rodriguez seems to have gotten all the guys he wanted. If you know the backstory, that didn't happen at Michigan, and more than a few folks will tell you that's a major reason why things didn't work out.
My single critique: It's too bad Rodriguez couldn't find a way to retain Tim Kish, a respected defensive coach who did a good job holding the Wildcats together as interim coach after Mike Stoops was fired.
If Rodriguez had retained Kish, then he would have taken pressure off offensive line coach Robert Anae, Rodriguez's only assistant with any substantial West Coast experience. None of the new coaches even visited Tucson during the interview process, according to the Arizona Daily Star. Going forward, when these new coaches need to know, say, where San Diego is or whether Portland is north or south of Seattle, the only guy who will know the answers without taking out a map is Anae.
We kid, of course. But Rodriguez did take a specific route when hiring his staff: He hired his guys and didn't worry about their regional experience or about preserving much continuity with the previous staff.
Wait that's not completely fair. Casteel did graduate and get a master's degree from California University. That it was in Pennsylvania and not Berkeley, we will overlook.
You can read the staff bios here. You will see a lot of West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Michigan as well as some Louisiana, Indiana and Florida. Oh, there's a smattering of UNLV, UTEP and New Mexico State, but the Pac-12 experience is about zero.
That will, at least in the short term, lead to challenges. Recruiting is about relationships, and those will need to be built up, particularly with West Coast high school coaches. Further, there will be a lack of familiarity in conference play. Stoops told me before his second season that the quality of quarterback play and the top-to-bottom sophistication of conference offenses was a shock to his Big 12 sensibilities. It all felt like rumors and hype, then he started to watch film and game plan.
No offense to the Big East, but Casteel didn't see many Carson Palmers, Aaron Rodgerses, Andrew Lucks or Matt Barkleys during his 11 years at West Virginia. Quarterbacks who can put the ball wherever they want to create myriad challenges for a defense.
Further, there's the culture shock. Kirelawich (pronounced Kerr-LAV-itch) has been at West Virginia since 1979. Bill, let me be the first to say this: It's a dry heat. I've been to Morgantown just once -- a college road trip, one that went quite well I might add -- and from my vague memory it is nothing like Tucson. Nothing.
For example: Morgantown is called "Tree City USA." Tucson is not. Cactus? Tucson has plenty of those. Trees, not so much.
Good Mexican food, though. Gents, I recommend getting these guys to cater one of those long staff meetings.
Still, my guess is Rodriguez and his staff feel a sense of adventure and newness. The unfamiliarity might turn out to be invigorating. And the Pac-12 blog is firmly on record that a head coach needs to have complete faith in the members of his staff.
A significant part Rodriguez's backstory at Michigan -- an unquestioned failure -- was of constant undermining by a variety of forces. That won't be part of the story here.
Rodriguez got his men. Now all they have to do is lead Arizona to its first Rose Bowl.
We provide a weather report because it appears the worst-kept secret in the Pac-12 is about to become official, according to multiple reports on both sides of the country: Arizona — finally — will announce the hiring of Jeff Casteel as the Wildcats new defensive coordinator, as well as the hiring of two other West Virginia assistants, cornerbacks coach David Lockwood and defensive ends coach Bill Kirelawich.
Here's the Arizona Daily Star on the hirings.
And the Tucson Citizen.