Former player sad to see Stoops go

Former Arizona linebacker Xavier Kelley has numerous thoughts about the firing of Mike Stoops. Read on to see his reaction, his thoughts on Stoops' sideline behavior, and more.

Former Arizona linebacker Xavier Kelley saw his play gradually improve in each of his five seasons under Mike Stoops.

He developed a strong relationship with the head coach, so it makes sense that he was disappointed at the news of Stoops being let go as head coach of Arizona.

"Man it really hurts my heart to see him go," Kelley said. "I kind of disagree with the situation and the decision made. I don't think at this point it is a good decision to make. I understand the team is not doing well but it is pretty much the best the team has been in the past 10 years or so."

Kelley says that he has already been in touch with former players and the reaction from them is similar to what Kelley felt Monday night.

"We were up all night," Kelley said. "I talked to Willie (Tuitama) and Corey (Hall) and I have been texting all the guys and they were kind of confused. That is all of our ties to Arizona. It will be totally different going back when everybody gets together and goes back next year to watch a game and it can be a completely new coaching staff."

In addition, Kelley says it will be difficult for the current team to get over the situation, as such an adjustment will be tough.

"I couldn't imagine it," he said. "I feel sorry for those guys. You really don't know who the authority figure is. You really don't know who the leader is and who to look up to."

However, Tim Kish has been given the interim title and is somebody that Kelley was coached by while at Arizona.

"I like Kish," Kelley said. "He was my position coach for the entire stay at Arizona and I think he is fully capable of taking over the role. That was always a big deal that if somebody went down we were there to pick up a slack as a linebacking unit."

Since arriving at Arizona, Stoops has been criticized for being too animated on the sideline. As far as Kelley is concerned, his antics were not a huge issue with the team.

"As a player there is a different side," Kelley said. "Of course he is going to yell at us and of course he is going to jump down your throat, but I mean as a player you recognize why he is doing it and the reason behind it. It is not as bad as it seems. On TV you see the guy is animated and it always looks like he is screaming at the referees, but it shows his passion and love for the game."

Now that Arizona is in the process of searching for a new coach, what does Kelley think the next step should be>

"I am not really sure to be honest," he said. "Arizona in my mind is a big time program so we will probably get a big time coach and somebody that would bring in the same intensity and have the ability to recruit the same caliber of athletes and have that same impact. Trying to rebuild a program is not easy, especially not in Arizona, so they are definitely going to want somebody that will work hard."


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