Arizona Wildcats offensive line coach Robert Anae is the answer to “Which of these things is not like the other?” as he is the only assistant so far that doesn’t have previous ties to new head coach Rich Rodriguez.
And that, Rodriguez said, is a good thing.
“From talking to the offensive linemen and from talking to him, I’m really excited about what he brings to the table,” Rodriguez said before a reception in his honor at the Westin La Paloma resort Monday night.
“I think he will be able to give us some new ideas to bring to our offense. We could add some of his ideas and perspective to some of the things we’re doing, and if it fits into the limited playbook we want to use in the spring, we’re using it. …
“Some of our run game will be different for him, but he’s been around a little bit; he knows football.”
Rodriguez’s three other offensive assistants so far — with one more to come — all coached for him at West Virginia and Michigan, running the zone-read offense, usually emphasizing the ground game and the quarterback as a rusher.
Rod Smith, the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, even played quarterback for Rodriguez at Glenville State.
“I tell you what … I’m really impressed with Coach Anae,” said Calvin Magee, the co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach.
“I think I’m going to have to call him ‘Doctor’ because he’s got his Ph.D. Very knowledgeable. Seems like a very, very good guy. He is just a terrific fit to be part of this. We welcome him with open arms.”
Anae does indeed have a doctorate in sociology, earned from BYU in 1999.
Rodriguez still has four assistant coaches to hire — including the defensive coordinator — and he reiterated Monday that he hopes to have everyone in place by the end of the week, perhaps the end of the weekend.
There is a chance more from Arizona’s 2011 staff could be rehired depending on how the dominos fall.
For now, though, Anae is the only holdover.
“I talked to a lot of folks here and I talked to Coach (Mike) Stoops a little as well, and then I watched some film,” Rodriguez said of the process of bring back Anae.
“He fit all the criteria I wanted. Offensive line was one of those positions I was open in, and he is one of those who fits the recruiting areas I want to hit.”
Anae has long and deep ties in the Polynesian community, which has been an important recruiting base for Arizona through the year.
“We want to keep that connection,” Rodriguez said. “I think that is very important for us.”