At the worst of times, Arizona senior defensive lineman Tevin Hood had a friend on the coaching staff.
Head coach Rich Rodriguez had sent Hood home with his parents from the New Mexico Bowl for fighting on the sideline with teammate Cody Ippolito, missing the thrilling finish as the Wildcats scored twice in the final minute to defeat Nevada 49-48.
Hood said he got a phone call within five minutes after the game. It was defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich.
“He told me that whatever happened, he’s going to go to bat for me,” Hood said this week. “I know if I have him in my corner, I really wasn’t worried about too much.”
Hood and Ippolito, a linebacker, did work themselves back in Rodriguez’s good graces after the bowl game and were ready to go at the start of spring ball. Hood gives the Wildcats something they otherwise lack — a true 300-pounder in the middle of the defensive line.