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Rich Rodriguez on hiring a new defensive coordinator: "Schemes are overrated"

When a head coach is looking to fill a coordinator position on staff, he typically looks for someone who has proven to have a dominant and dynamic scheme that will fit what he currently has on his roster.

Well, as Rich Rodriguez explained yesterday at the podium, that may be the most common train of thought, but it's certainly not the only one.

When Rich Rod made the decision to take the defense in another direction following the dismissal of defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Jeff Casteel (which also included most of the defensive staff from 2015), he decided that instead of looking primarily for a guy with a scheme he had in mind, he was going to focus more on finding a specific attitude and personality.

Rich Rod noted that he felt like they needed to "start all over" on defense, and "that's hard to do because I think it's easy particularly when you have guys that you respect and know they are really, really good coaches. It just wasn't working out.

"When I hired a coordinator, which was a little bit unique, I wasn’t looking so much for a scheme, because I think schemes are overrated, as much as I was looking for a personality and attitude. And I kind of set the parameters, this is what I want him to do. But I’m not going to coach it or teach it, I’m going to let my defensive staff to do that."

The Wildcats ranked near the bottom of the barrel nationally in 2015, allowing over 35 points per game, while ranking 101st in rushing defense and 115th in passing defense so clearly changes needed to be made, and the addition of Boise State defensive coordinator Marcel Yates fit the bill of what Rodriguez was looking for, offering a unique blend of the personality traits he desired coupled with a proven defensive acumen.

"I hired Marcel Yates who scheme-wise was really good, but more than anything I liked his personality. I liked the personality of the defense, and I know what we’re going to do, I’m just not...why tell anybody until we have to. I mean, it’s not like it’s a big secret, but for the first couple teams, they’ll have to figure that out."

"The first person has got to take responsibility, that’s me. As the head coach, I’m responsible for all phases of the team, and so I looked at myself and say, 'Geez, I’ve got to do a better job of making sure we’re getting better defensively.' There’s going to be some growing pains, but the future of our defense is going to be really good.”