It’s a huge hire for the Wildcats because Yates is regarded as one of college football’s best young defensive minds and also a premier recruiter in his native Los Angeles. Behind his aggressive 4-2-5 scheme, Boise State was 12th in the FBS this past season in total defense (318.3 yards per game) and 18th in scoring defense (20.2 points per game).
The Broncos were also fifth nationally in turnovers gained (31). This past season was Yates’ second as the program’s defensive coordinator.
The 38-year-old returned to Boise State, his alma mater, after he spent two seasons as Texas A&M’s co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach. That was after a decade as a Broncos assistant, coaching cornerbacks from 2003–05 before being put in charge of the program’s secondary the next six years.
In those six seasons, Yates had five defensive backs selected in the NFL draft. Prior to his first stint as a Boise State assistant, he was assistant secondary coach at Montana State from 2001–02.
Yates was a defensive back at Boise State from 1996–99 after a year at Pacific, which disbanded its football team after he redshirted as a freshman. He replaces former Arizona defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel, who was fired earlier this month after the Wildcats were among the nation’s worst defensively.
Arizona had a disappointing, injury-filled 7–6 record this past season, which included a New Mexico Bowl win. Rodriguez has a 33–20 record in his four seasons with the Wildcats.