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UCLA at Arizona Football Preview: Are Rich Rodriguez and Jim Mora Two Sides of the Same Coin?

With both coaches on the hot seat, could this weekend’s game be called the Hot Seat Bowl?

UCLA v Arizona Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

This game might as well be called the Pac-12 Hot Seat Bowl. That’s because both head coaches started the season on the hot seat and neither has really done much of anything to prove that they don’t belong there.

Of course, as Bruin fans, we’re well-versed on Jim Mora’s mediocrity. But, Rich Rodriguez has been pretty mediocre in Tucson in his own right. In fact, if you take out the head-to-head games between Mora and Rodriguez, Mora would be 39-26 overall and 21-22 in conference play while Rodriguez would also be 39-26 overall and 20-22 in conference play.

The good news here is that Mora seems to have RichRod’s number as the Bruins are 5-0 against Arizona since both coaches have been hired. In fact, the Bruins haven’t lost to the Wildcats since the 48-12 Thursday night massacre which featured a fight back in 2011. It was a big embarassment for UCLA and many Bruin fans wanted Rick Neuheisel fired the next day.

Thankfully, we shouldn’t have to worry about getting crushed like that this week.

RichRod’s coaching staff has remained consistent despite his struggles. Marcel Yates is still Arizona’s defensive coordinator and is now in his second season after coming over from Boise State. Yates was with the Broncos for two seasons after coming back from Texas A&M where he was also the defensive coordinator.

Rod Smith is in his sixth season as the co-offensive coordinator for the Wildcats. Smith is also responsible for coaching the quarterbacks. He works with the Wildcats’ other co-offensive coordinator Calvin Magee, who is also in his sixth season at Arizona. Magee also coaches running backs and tight ends in addition to serving as Associate Head Coach. Under Magee, the Wildcats have been known for having a very solid running game.

Special Teams

Redshirt junior Josh Pollack has handled most of the field goal and PAT duties for the Wildcats so far this season while true freshman Lucas Havrisik has been handling most of the kickoff duties for Arizona. However, they have also swapped roles at times with Pollack kicking off a few times and Havrisik has kicked a few PATs and a field goal.

So far this season, all of the punting duties have been handled by redshirt junior Jake Glatting.

Arizona has two dangerous return men. Senior Tyrell Johnson has returned most of the kickoff returns. Johnson’s season and career long came against Northern Arizona earlier this season when he returned a kickoff 58 yards. Meanwhile, junior Shun Brown has taken most of the punt returns this year. Brown is a little more dangerous than Johnson considering that he has returned two punts for touchdowns so far — one for 63 yards and one for 66 yards.

And, that wraps up our look at the Arizona Wildcats.

Go Bruins!