Editor’s note: First in a series of stories examining the 12 football programs in the Pac-12.
After spending decades as an assistant coach at the college level and the NFL, Jedd Fisch became a head coach for the first time when the University of Arizona hired him to replace Kevin Sumlin last winter.
Fisch inherits a school-record 12-game losing streak, including an 0-5 mark last season.
In its final outing of the 2020 campaign, Arizona surrendered 70 points in a humbling loss to archrival Arizona State.
There’s nowhere to go but up for the Wildcats.
Fisch spent the 2020 season as the quarterbacks coach for the New England Patriots and he received a strong endorsement from Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick. Fisch has experience in the Pac-12 after serving as UCLA’s offensive coordinator in 2017.
But it could take a while for Arizona to fight its way out of the Pac-12 cellar.
The Wildcats must find a new quarterback after last year’s starter, Grant Gunnell, transferred to Memphis.
Arizona’s offense averaged a meager 17.4 points per game last season.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats defense surrendered 39.8 points per game and 6.74 yards per play.
To shore up the defense, Fisch hired defensive coordinator Don Brown, who spent the previous five seasons as the DC at Michigan.
Word on the street
“Jedd Fisch was a great get with terrific early returns as the new head coach, but he’s got a lot of work to do. There’s going to be a defense under this coaching staff, but where are the sure-thing wins? The Wildcats will be underdogs against everyone but Northern Arizona.”
— College Football News
By the numbers
2020 record: 0-5 (0-5 Pac-12)
Returning starters: Offense: 5, defense: 9
Players with Utah ties: None
Sept. 4 BYU
Sept. 11 San Diego State
Sept. 18 Northern Arizona
Sept. 25 @ Oregon
Oct. 9 UCLA
Oct. 16 @ Colorado
Oct. 22 Washington
Oct 30 @ USC
Nov. 6 California
Nov. 13 Utah
Nov. 19 @ Washington State
Nov. 27 @ Arizona State