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UCLA Football Preview: Arizona’s Coaching Staff Is Familiar to Bruin Fans

Kevin Sumlin has coached against UCLA each of the past three seasons and three of his coaches are former Bruin assistants.

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Media Day
Kevin Sumlin’s first season at Arizona wasn’t good, but it was better than Chip Kelly’s first season at UCLA.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As the UCLA Bruins begins preparations today for the Arizona Wildcats, let’s begin our previews of Arizona with a look at the Wildcat coaching staff and special teams.

The Wildcats are led by head coach Kevin Sumlin. Sumlin is in his second season at the helm in Tucson. In Sumlin’s first season, the Wildcats went 5-7.

Last season, Arizona started 1-2 in their non-conference games and then went 4-5 in Pac-12 play. They beat Oregon State, UC Berkeley, Oregon, and Colorado while losing to UCLA, Southern Cal, Utah, Washington State, and Arizona State.

Overall, Sumlin has won at least ten games in three his eleven seasons as a head coach.

When Sumlin came to Arizona from Texas A&M, he brought Noel Mazzone along with him as the Wildcats offensive coordinator. Prior to joining Sumlin at Texas A&M, Mazzone served as Jim Mora’s offensive coordinator at UCLA. Bruin fans will remember Mazzone for his famous quote about how he calls the same three plays over and over just in different order. He’s also notorious for his use of the bubble screen.

There are two other former Jim Mora era UCLA assistant coaches on the payroll at Arizona. The first is Noel Mazzone’s son Taylor, who is responsible for coaching outside receivers. The other is Demetrice Martin, aka “Coach Meat,” who coaches the Wildcat cornerbacks.

Martin is in his second season working under Arizona defensive coordinator Marcel Yates, who is in his fourth season with the Wildcats. While Yates was a holdover from Rich Rodriguez’s staff, he did actually spend time on Sumlin’s staff at Texas A&M as co-defensive coordinator in 2012 and 2013.

Let’s look at the Wildcat special teams.

True junior Lucas Havrisik handles the placekicking and kickoff duties for Arizona. For his career, Havrisik has made 10 of his 17 field goal attempts with a career long of 57 yards during his freshman year. So far this year, he is 1 for 2 on field goal attempts. Both attempts were in excess of 50 yards. He has made 16 of his 17 PAT attempts so far this year. Last season, 60 of his 74 kickoffs went for touchbacks while 16 of 22 have done so this season.

Redshirt senior Matt Aragon is in his first season as Arizona’s starting punter. So far this season, he’s punted 10 times for 354 yards. His long this year is 46 yards. Two of his punts have been inside the 20-yard line and two have been fair caught.

Junior wide receiver Brian Casteel has returned one punt for 42 yards while Stanley Berryhill III also has returned a punt. Berryhill’s return resulted in the loss of a yard.

Four different returners have returned kickoffs so far this season for Arizona. Junior running back Gary Brightwell leads the team with three returns for 39 yards and a long of 22 while redshirt junior running back J.J. Taylor has returned two kicks for 44 yards. Junior receiver Tayvian Cunningham has returned one kick for 23 yards while redshirt sophomore running back Nathan Tilford has one return for 7 yards.

That wraps up our look at the Arizona coaching staff and special teams.

Go Bruins!!!