Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin discussed the firing of defensive coordinator Marcel Yates earlier in the day with reporters and the topic was again discussed by host Brian Jeffries on Sumlin’s weekly radio show tonight on KCUB 1290-AM.
Sumlin filled the position with Arizona legend Chuck Cecil, who was the team’s defensive analyst the last two years. The dismissal of linebackers coach John Rushing was filled by another former Wildcat — Hank Hobson, who was working with Sumlin’s staff as an analyst.
“Those things are always tough,” Sumlin said of Yates’ firing. “It’s my job to give us the best chance to win. Those decisions are tough and they’re thought out. Chuck’s been in this position before at the highest level in the NFL.
“When you stay in-house in the season you don’t have to change a lot of terminology. … There’s a complete language of football, offensively and defensively and special teams-wise, that is used. Chuck and Hank have been in that room and know what that language is, what that verbiage is and being able to communicate in that way becomes important. It can help our growth quicker.”
It’s Chuck Cecil time.
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Sumlin added about Cecil, one of the most popular football players in Arizona history because of his tenacity: “Chuck’s been around all over the place in the NFL, was a good player, he’s been here so he has a lot of pride and a lot of emotion. Our team talked today what this means going forward … it’s not like he’s a rookie doing it. He knows what it looks like and we started work on that today.”
Sumlin reiterated what he said during the press conference about him trying to create the best possible situation to help his players succeed.
“It’s not like you’re walking into a situation where you don’t know skill-sets of players. You have to give them the best chance to be put in the positions to be successful. That’s really what coaching is.”
Sumlin made it a point to bring up this week being emotional about honoring the late Dick Tomey. Arizona’s practice fields will be dedicated in honor of Tomey on Friday at 11 a.m. Many of Tomey’s former players — including Cecil — are expected to attend.
“There’s a lot of things that are going on this weekend with our alumni, our former players and Coach Tomey,” he said. “That can be an emotional time.”
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.