State of the program: Arizona Wildcats

Spring practice is already in bloom in the Pac-12, so we’re taking a look at each program to see where things stand.

Next up: Arizona

2015 record: 7-6, 3-6 in Pac-12

Three-year record: 25-15

Coaching situation: There might come a time when Rich Rodriguez decides it’s time for a different challenge, but he’ll have a home in Tucson as long as he wants to be there. The 33 games Arizona has won in Rodriguez’s four-year tenure are the most the program has ever won in a four-year period. That, of course, doesn’t mean Rodriguez is willing to settle. He fired two of his longtime assistants -- defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel and defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich -- with hopes of boosting recruiting. That’s not the type of decision that would have been made if he didn’t have a long-term view.

Roster situation heading into 2016: Arizona lost linebacker Scooby Wright III and wide receiver Cayleb Jones early to the NFL and a handful of other starters exhausted their eligibility, but there are enough returning pieces for the team to be optimistic headed into 2016. Rodriguez maintains two-year starting quarterback Anu Solomon is competing to retain his job, but it would be a major surprise if Brandon Dawkins is able to beat him out. Nick Wilson and Orlando Bradford present two talented options at running back and there should be good depth at receiver, albeit no real proven star. The offensive line lacks depth and it’s best to take wait-and-see approach on the other side of the ball as new defensive coordinator Marcel Yates implements a new system.

Recruiting situation: If Rodriguez was completely happy with how recruiting has gone, Casteel and Kirelawich would still be on the staff. The Wildcats’ recent signing class ranked 10th in the Pac-12 -- ahead of just Washington State and Colorado – but, for what it’s worth, Arizona ranked as high as No. 4 in the conference just two years ago.

Trajectory: After winning the Pac-12 South, arguably the most competitive division in college football in 2014, a fifth-place finish last season represents an obvious step in the wrong direction. That said, the drop in the standings isn’t necessarily reflective of general trajectory of the program because of the parity in the division. The gap between No. 1 and No. 5 isn’t very significant. Consider: Arizona beat Utah, which finished tied for first in the division. If the Wildcats take another similar step back, then the topic can be revisited.