It’s no secret that Rich Rodriguez wants to improve his defense quickly and much of that is through recruiting.
The true impact of the defensive coaching changes may not be felt until the next recruiting cycle, but players like Chacho Ulloa show that the new coaches still made their presence felt.
“They were all added so late in the process that I think they helped secure a couple new guys and keep a couple of guys we had in the fold to stay with us,” Rodriguez said.
“Part of our thought process in hiring the new guys on defense was that they were guys that were going to be really strong recruiters.”
Rodriguez was careful not to put down the previous defensive staff, but is confident his changes will be beneficial.
“We had a really good staff and those guys were good recruiters and good coaches, but my mindset when I hired the new guys on defense was that they would be strong recruiters in the areas we want to target and with Coach Yates, Coach Addae, and Coach Williams, I think we’ve got that,” Rodriguez said.
In addition to changing the coaches, Arizona will likely change its defensive scheme and the type of players it recruits to play in it.
“We need to get a little more athletic defensively,” Rodriguez said. “We have to get deeper, certainly our depth took a hit this year with injuries, but we also graduated several safeties and lost a few linebackers to graduation or the NFL, so we have to get guys who can hopefully come in and compete.
“We’re looking for taller, rangier safeties. We are still looking for guys up front and pass rush guys and linebackers that can maybe be a pass rush guy as a defensive end, but can also play in space.
“If you look at our linebackers, we got some taller 6’3, 6’4, probably 230 pound guys that are pretty athletic in space.”