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Arizona football: Wildcats make defensive coaching changes official

The hiring of Boone and the shifting of Yates’ responsibilities are now set

Arizona State v Arizona Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the Arizona Wildcats made the new defensive staff roles official after announcing that former Nevada defensive coordinator Scott Boone would be coming to Tucson as the new linebackers coach.

Marcel Yates, Arizona’s current defensive coordinator, will be shifting from linebackers to corner and spur safety. Jahmile Addae will be responsible for the free and bandit safety positions.

“I am excited to add Coach Boone to our coaching staff,” Rich Rodriguez said in a statement. “Scott has tremendous experience coaching linebackers as well as coordinating a defense. Along with his coaching track record, he has experience recruiting the areas we recruit. He is a great addition to our staff.”

Boone, who will turn 58 in May, has been in the coaching ranks since 1983. However, his only experience at the FBS level was at Nevada the past three seasons, where he was the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.

Arizona seems to be well aware of the player development questions that people have about the current coaching staff, throwing in this paragraph in the release:

Player development was notable under Boone’s leadership. In 2015, he helped senior DE Ian Seau, who led the conference and ranked 19th in the nation with 10.0 sacks, earn first team All-Mountain West honors. Senior DE Lenny Jones also earned second team All-MW accolades with 47 tackles and seven sacks that season. Boone’s development of true freshman DB Dameon Baber saw the rookie rank seventh in the nation with six interceptions on the season en route to earning All-MW honors.

As we wrote on Monday, Boone had been recruiting several of Arizona’s commits, which probably says more about the Wildcats than the Wolf Pack.

This was not a hire that got Arizona fans excited, but obviously that feeling can be changed if the linebackers show vast improvement from 2016 to 2017. Boone will have his work cut out for him though, as Paul Magloire Jr., Michael Barton, Cody Ippolito, and Jake Matthews are all gone from last year’s team.

John Kenny will be the group’s leading tackler, who picked up 39 stops last year (Magloire had 81). The next highest returning tackler? Brandon Rutt, who had 19. After that? DeAndre’ Miller (18) and Carrington Vaughn (8).

It’ll be interesting to see how all of this plays out.