Yates Hire Completes Rodriguez’s Younger Staff Overhaul

A defensive rebuild to Rich Rodriguez’s staff wasn’t much of a surprise, according to people close to the University of Arizona football program. UA ranked 113th nationally in total defense and the Wildcats were near the bottom of the Pac-12 in sacks, interceptions and fumbles recovered.

Quite simply, the ‘Cats need more talent defensively and believe new defensive coordinator Marcel Yates brings a pedigree of success not only as a coach, but equally important as a recruiter.

During Coach Rod’s four seasons at UA he has only produced one all-conference defensive talent, under-recruited Scooby Wright who is now off to the NFL after a injury-filled junior season.

A co-defensive coordinator at Texas A&M before jumping to Boise after the 2013 season, Yates has deep recruiting ties in Texas and Louisiana, two hot beds for speedy, athletic defensive players. He also has had success landing players from Los Angeles and the surrounding areas.

A former Boise State player, Yates comes with an impressive resume after leading the Broncos to a top 20 finish in rushing defense (5th), forced turnovers (5th), red-zone defense (11th), total defense (12th) and tackles-for-loss (19th) last season. His BSU squad registered eight sacks and picked off Anu Solomon twice, one which was returned for a touchdown, in their 38-30 2014 Fiesta Bowl win over the Wildcats in Glendale.

“Arizona is a great opportunity for me to be a coordinator in the Pac-12 at a school and conference I have great respect for,” Yates said in a statement released by Boise State. “To have this opportunity speaks volumes about my time at Boise State, and how people think about his program nationally.”

Yates takes over for Jeff Casteel who had been with Rodriguez since he arrived in Tucson back in 2011. He becomes the fourth new defensive coach as Rich Rod renovated to a younger, more aggressive staff both between the lines, as well as on the recruiting trail.