Michalczik is fired up

Arizona recently hired former California offensive coordinator Jim Michalczik to perform offensive line duties. Read on to find out how he feels about his opportunity at Arizona, Coach Rich Rodriguez, and more.

It has only been a few weeks since Arizona lost former offensive line coach Robert Anae, as he accepted a job to become the offensive coordinator at BYU. The Wildcats coaching staff took its time and the appropriate steps to find a suitable replacement.

In the end, Rich Rodriguez and company swung for the fences and landed Jim Michalczik to take over as offensive line coach. The 46-year old coach was most recently the offensive line coach and offensive coordinator for the California Golden Bears, but was not retained when Sonny Dykes took over the program.

Instead, Michalczik decided to make the trip South and found his way to Tucson to work with Rodriguez and the spread offense.

"I'm fired up," Michalczik said. "I'm excited and this is a great staff and a great place. I'm fired up to get my family here and really looking forward to it."

The offensive line coach is no stranger to the Pac-12, as he coached at Oregon State before making two stops at Cal, broken up with a stint with the Oakland Raiders. However, Michalczik is also no stranger to his new co-workers either.

"We visited them at West Virginia way back in 2006," he said of his relationship with Arizona Head Coach Rich Rodriguez. "We stayed for a couple days and got to know him and some guys on his staff. He also came up to Cal in his year off. He was actually really good friends with my former boss, Jeff Tedford."

His relationship with Coach Rodriguez was just one of the reasons that Michalczik decided to come to Arizona, as he also has a great deal of respect for his new boss.

"Coach Rodriguez, obviously," Michalczik said about why he wanted to come to Arizona. "The person, the football coach, the success he's had where he's gone and the way he does things. I'm a fan of his and I'm looking forward to being a part of his staff."

Rodriguez pioneered the spread-option offense when he coached at Glenville State and has since evolved the offense. It requires a different style of blocking scheme than some coaches may be used to, but Michalczik has had some experience with it.

"We've never gone full into it," he said of the offensive scheme. "We've kind of dabbled in it since 2006, but I'm looking forward to expanding it and getting into some of it."

The new coach will inherit an offensive line that helped the Wildcats' offense break record numbers this season. Michalczik will also have the benefit of star running back Ka'Deem Carey behind the offensive line.

"Every time you get a chance to coach a guy like (Carey) it makes you a little bit better line coach," he said of Arizona's All-American. "I haven't had a chance to meet him yet, but I look forward to it."

Michalczik is still getting settled with his new job, but has already started preparing for spring practices. He has looked over the personnel, but is still in the process of learning more about them.

"I'm just trying to get to meet the players right now," he said. "That's kind of a double-edged sword because you want to get to know them as people as well as football players. As football players, in my mind, everyone starts fresh. You do that at this time every year. You see where you're at and see where you're going.

"I've met a couple of (offensive linemen). We're still in that meeting stage, so I got a chance to watch them a little bit this morning. They got to run around and work out and lift. It's going to be a learning process as they get to know me. They're probably wondering who the heck I am a little bit, too."

As spring ball looms near, he wants to get a sense of what the rotation looked like last year and what he will be working with this coming season. However, Michalczik wants to go into practices with an open mind about his players.

"I'm going to go back and look at film, but I'm a big believer that every year is a new year," he said. "The general tendency is that we say we recruited this guy and he's going to be this way, but that's never really works that way.

"I've had guys that are still growing. They're young men, especially at the line position. This is the one area where there is plenty of room for growth and development. So, I'm looking forward to finding out what they are by watching film, but I also want to go to spring ball and say that every job is open, let's go see who can perform."

One of the big factors that the new staff member brings to the Wildcats is his ability to recruit Northern California in the past. At Arizona, he will have a region that he works with, but will also help bring in linemen.

"We recruit by areas and cross over a little bit by position," Michalczik said of the recruiting at Arizona. "In the little time that I've been here, I have been really impressed by how organized the recruiting is and how everyone works together. I'm really excited about that."

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