It's been almost two weeks since Jeff Casteel was ousted as the Arizona Wildcats' defensive coordinator, and with recruiting still in full force, it is imperative for the program to hire a replacement as soon as possible.
Word around the program recently has been that a new defensive coordinator will be hired by Monday, and though it's been pretty tight-lipped about who the top candidates are, it does appear that one of them is Boise State's defense coordinator, Marcel Yates, according to WildcatAuthority.com's Jason Scheer:
Numerous sources say that Boise State defensive coordinator Marcel Yates has emerged as a leading candidate at Arizona.— Jason Scheer (@JasonScheer) January 15, 2016
A source close w/ Arizona football program tells me #BoiseState DC Marcel Yates is the "current leader in the clubhouse" for the UA DC job.— Michael Katz (@MichaelLKatz) January 15, 2016
The 2015 season was Yates' second as the DC at Boise State, but he was on the program's coaching staff from 2003-2011, and from 2012-2013 he was a co-defensive coordinator at Texas A&M.
Yates apparently runs a 4-2-5 defense most of the time:
For those wondering, Yates runs a 4-2-5 mostly.— Jason Scheer (@JasonScheer) January 15, 2016
A 4-2-5 wouldn't be the drastic departure from the 3-3-5 that many people wanted -- which was always unlikely to happen -- but Yates' track record speaks for itself.
In 2014 -- Yates' first season as DC - Boise State's defense had the lowest opponents' third-down conversion rate (34.8 percent), which was also 18th-best in the country, and it also ranked second in the Mountain West in red-zone defense and opponents' fourth-down conversion rate (42.9 percent). That's one area that Arizona mightily struggled in this past season. The Broncos' defense also forced 31 turnovers, which was ninth-best in the country.
In 2015, Boise State's defense had 22 interceptions, held opponents to a 30.9 percent third-down conversion rate, and the second-best red-zone defense percentage in the conference.
Boise State has also been known for developing playmaking defensive backs, something that Arizona hasn't done since Rich Rodriguez' arrival, and so Yates' candidacy also makes sense in that regard.
Nothing is official yet, but again, expect Arizona to make a hire shortly. The earliest Rich Rodriguez can announce a defensive coordinator is Saturday, as that is ten days from the day the job opening was posted.
Whether or not Yates is the guy remains to be seen, but it does seem like there's a solid chance that it comes to fruition.