Marcel Yates looks to pick up where he left off

Spring Scrimmage (6 of 27)
Simon Asher | The Daily Wildcat Arizona head football coach Kevin Sumlin watches the UA football team warm up before a scrimmage in the spring football season on Saturday April 7, in Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz.

As he cut his teeth at his alma mater, Boise State, Marcel Yates established himself as a crucial cog to one of the winningest college football program of this century. 

Now entering the spring of his third season at Arizona as the defensive coordinator, Yates looks to guide his defense from a young and overachieving unit, to a disciplined and mature one that can establish balance to a team that is already primed with a lethal offense.

“They ran the system for a year so now they understand it. They know it,” Yates said. “Now I’m not coaching up the scheme. We are coaching them more about what the offense is trying to do to beat us with whatever we’re calling.”

As the new staff settles in, the positions off the field are the only ones that have been decided. With the majority of the Arizona staff echoing a fresh start regarding the depth chart, Yates was no different. 

“If a guy didn’t play as well as we thought he should play, I didn’t want him to have that over him. Because everybody gets a second chance,” Yates said.  “A guy might perform better under one than he does another.”

Yates explained that his role is more of giving input about how each player works and how they are outside of the football field. 

Washington State Quarterback Tyler Hilinski (3) is stopped short of the end zone by two Arizona defenders during the UA-Washington State game on Saturday, October 28.

As the action on the field goes on, what this new Arizona staff is doing off it might be just as important as they establish the foundation (as to what kind of recruits and targets the staff will be going after.) 

After spending two years under Sumlin at Texas A&M, Yates was a part of a staff that went toe-to-toe recruiting-wise with in-state rival Texas and brand new SEC West foes like LSU, Alabama and Ole Miss — and Yates held his own. 

With Sumlin’s connections, Yates looks to take Arizona’s recruiting to the next level.

“The thing with Coach Sumlin is with his connections to Texas and Oklahoma... I would think our recruiting will go up to another level as far as the guys we are going after — the head coaches they know. Those relationships, those connections will help us out,” Yates said.

As Yates and Sumlin team-up in the Old Pueblo, the accustomed duo has a real chance to launch Arizona to heights which haven’t been seen around Tucson since Tedy Bruschi was terrorizing Pac-10 quarterbacks with his mullet trailing behind him.

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