There were plenty of positives and negatives to take away from Arizona's final regular season game.…
What a difference a year makes
A little over one year ago, Arizona made the decision to hire Rich Rodriguez. Now, as the regular college football season comes to an end, the coaching carousel is back in full swing. The decision to hire Rodriguez seems to be a good one, although there is plenty of time in his tenure and he just completed his first season. The bigger story here is the decision that Greg Byrne made to fire Mike Stoops and start the coaching search last year instead of this season. By starting the process early last season, Byrne was able to focus in on his targets and proceed from there. Now, as coaches around the country get fired, Arizona fans can truly appreciate what Byrne did. If Stoops stayed on for one more year and was fired this season, Arizona would be going against Colorado and California. Both schools are comparable to what Arizona offers and although UCLA was open last season, it came at a completely different point and with a seemingly different target list for numerous reasons. Despite having success this season, Rodriguez's name has not come up in any coaching rumors just yet and a good reason may have been highlighted when he went out of his way to talk about how much he enjoys coaching at Arizona. "I enjoy coaching these guys," Rodriguez said. "You never really know what you have until you start coaching them. We had a lot of concerns coming in, and I still have those concerns. But I like the way that our players have responded. "There have been instances on the field when I've said, ‘this is tough', because some of the guys are trying their best, but they can't play the way that we want them to because they're either young or not experienced enough. From a coaching standpoint, it's fun to coach a bunch of guys that care about each other and the program." Byrne found a coach that seemingly wants to be here for a while as long as Arizona takes care of its end of the bargain, which is likely. Over one year ago, Arizona was in the same position as a Colorado or Cal, as it searched for a coach with the only difference being the amount of similar jobs that were open. In the grand scheme of things, it is a huge win for Arizona that the program is where it is now. The one-year head start seems even smarter now than it did then as Arizona heads to a bowl game and is in the process of putting together a solid recruiting class. Over one year ago, Arizona seemingly had no answers for the future of its program. Over one year later, it does not have a lot of questions. It is definitely not a bad place to be as a Wildcat fan as it should be fun to sit back and watch all the coaching searches unfold rather than have your school be a part of one.
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