Arizona Wildcats 2018 countdown to kickoff: 56 days

We are now only 56 days until the Arizona Wildcats kick off their 2018 season under new coach Kevin Sumlin.

When Arizona hosts BYU on Sept. 1, it will mark the 40th anniversary since the Wildcats joined the Pac-12 (went from the Pac-8 to the Pac-10 then) and also the 20th anniversary of the 1998 team with the best record in school history, 12-1, and the 25th anniversary of the 1993 team that went 10-2 with a win over Miami in the Fiesta Bowl.

To get ready for the upcoming season, All Sports Tucson offers another countdown, which will include memories from former Wildcats, history notes and a look ahead to the season. Think of it as a way to keep Arizona football on the mind in the summer months leading up to fall camp in early August and then kickoff against the Cougars marking the start of the Sumlin Era.

To catch up on the countdown click on this: Arizona Wildcats 2018 countdown to kickoff.

A look back

— With it being the 56th day until kickoff, the best player to wear No. 56 for Arizona? That would be defensive tackle Joe Salave’a, who wreaked havoc on offenses from 1994 to 1997. Salave’a was a three-year starter earning first-team All-Pac-10 honors in 1997, second-team honors in 1996, and honorable mention recognition in 1995. He was also the team captain in 1996. Salave’a totaled 157 career tackles for the Wildcats, all as an interior lineman, with 43.5 tackles for loss and 21.5 sacks. He led the team in sacks and tackles for loss in both 1996 and 1997, and in forced fumbles in 1994 and 1996.

A fourth-round draft choice by Tennessee, he spent five seasons with the Titans before playing the last four years of his NFL career with San Diego, Baltimore and Washington.

Embed from Getty Images

Salave’a, 43, began his coaching career in 2008 as part of Dick Tomey’s staff at San Jose State. After coaching at Arizona in 2011, Mike Stoops’ last season, Salave’a moved on to Washington State for four years. He is now in his second season of coaching the defensive line at Oregon.

A look ahead

Arizona will feature two No. 56 players this season — junior long snapper Nick Reinhardt and redshirt freshman linebacker Rexx Tessler.Reinhardt will be in his second season of handling all long snapping duties. Tessler is a preferred walk-on out of Brophy Prep in Phoenix who sat out last season.

Nick Reinhardt

Rexx Tessler

They tweeted it

Khalil Tate scoring on six different screens. After first, thought it was six different touchdowns and it was not shocking.


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.

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