Hansen’s Sunday Notebook: Here’s because Kevin Sumlin’s Wildcats bucked a trend, won again

Wildcats stay after it following another dissapoint victory


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Kevin Sumlin’s Wildcats are behind in a thick of things in a swarming Pac-12 after upsetting Oregon and knocking off Colorado during home.



In the Rich Rodriguez years, Arizona determined a disconcerting robe of upsetting a highly ranked group and afterwards descending off a corner of a football earth a week later.

It is one of a things that kept a Arizona teams of 2012-17 from building and nutritious a fan bottom and being anything some-more than a periodic upstart. Consider:

  • In 2012, Arizona dumbfounded No. 10 USC — and a week after was flustered 66-10 by UCLA.
  • In 2013, a UA repelled No. 5 Oregon — and was kicked around 58-21 by Arizona State a week later.
  • In 2014, a Wildcats again dissapoint No. 2 Oregon — and a week later, climbing to No. 10 in a poll, stumbled and mislaid to unranked USC.
  • In 2015, Arizona astounded No. 10 Utah in double overtime — and a week after was blown out 52-37 by a 5-5 ASU club.

A year ago, after Khalil Tate’s Mr. Oct performances, capped by an dissapoint over No. 15 Washington State, a Wildcats vanished, going 1-4 down a stretch.

That infuriating yo-yo act led to a steep decrease of fan support; Arizona Stadium’s yearly assemblage fell from 51,392 to 48,288 to final year’s 20-year low of 42,632.

That’s because Friday’s 42-34 feat over Colorado was so encouraging. Arizona was entrance off a blowout win over No. 19 Oregon and, for a initial time in forever, valid that it wasn’t some form of passing happenstance.

How is this happening?


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J.J. Taylor rushed for 192 yards on 40 touches in a stirring Arizona feat over Colorado.



Part of it is that Kevin Sumlin’s staffing does not seem to be partial of a RichRod employing system. RichRod had a injured robe of employing yes-men partner coaches with unimpressive résumés and personalities that he could dominate.

But if we inspect Arizona’s alleviation on a descent line over a final 10 weeks — a duration in that a UA started 4 (and infrequently five) new players, that is mostly football self-murder — it’s transparent that Sumlin has opposite standards.

His descent line manager is Joe Gilbert, who spent a final 6 years in a same ability for a NFL’s Indianapolis Colts. Moreover, Sumlin hired Harold Goodwin as an descent analyst. Goodwin was an NFL descent line manager with a Steelers, Colts and Cardinals a final 11 seasons.

Who in college football has a higher coaching/planning/scouting descent line staff than Arizona? Not many.

Over a final 10 weeks, Gilbert and Goodwin have helped to rise rookie-type linemen Josh McCauleyBryson CainDonovan LaieMichael Eletise and seldom-used junior Cody Creason into useful Pac-12 players.

Even as Tate hobbled on a bad ankle, even as Tate finished only 49 percent of his passes in waste to BYU, Houston, Utah and USC, a new descent line softened square by piece.

In wins over Oregon and Colorado, a UA gained 1,031 yards, Tate was sacked only twice, and Arizona’s rebuilt descent line won a battles adult front dual weeks in succession.

Running back J.J. Taylor, who has gained 1,234 yards to lead a Pac-12, has turn a revelation.

Why? A lot of it is that a descent line coached by NFL veterans Gilbert and Goodwin has grown into the shoes, and, so, too, has Sumlin’s initial Arizona team.

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