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November 23, 2011

Three-star Lopez 'surprised' by coaching hire

For three-star running back commit Anthony Lopez, the hiring of Rich Rodriguez as Arizona's new head coach came as somewhat of a surprise. Despite athletic director Greg Byrne informing recruits to disregard any information that was out there, Lopez couldn't resist.

"I wasn't expecting it all, because after the game on Saturday I was on the Internet and it said that Mike Bellotti was going to be the next head coach, so I was kind of surprised," Lopez said.

Lopez, who rushed for 1,264 yards and 13 touchdowns this season at Gilbert (Ariz.) Mesquite, said that he was going to attend classes at UA regardless of who was hired as the Wildcats' next head coach. But, Rodriguez being the man in Tucson makes Lopez feel more comfortable about the situation at his future school.

"I was going to go there (UA) no matter what," the nation's 37th-ranked running back said. "He's had success at Michigan and West Virginia, so hopefully he brings just as much or even more success this time around."

Although he had his heart set on UA for some time, Lopez said he found comfort in the fact that his scholarship was going to be honored no matter who came on board as the Wildcats next head coach.

"That made me feel really good, because I wasn't really sure what was going to happen," Lopez said. "Once it turned out the way it did, it was good just knowing he was going to be the coach and it made me fell a lot better."

Lopez admits that he doesn't have great relationships with the rest of the present coaching staff, but he said it would make him more comfortable if there were holdovers once Rodriguez takes over.

"I'm not really close with most of the coaches, but if coach (Tim) Kish and coach (Garret) Chachere stayed, that would be great," he said. "They're both great guys and seem like really good coaches."

Lopez said that he has enough confidence in his skills that he can change his style to fit any type of offense, and he said the spread-option "won't really have an effect on me, really."

At this point the Mesquite standout said he isn't planning on taking other trips or entertaining any other offers as his heart is set on playing football at Arizona Stadium.

Matt MorenoMatt Moreno
GOAZCATS.com Senior Recruiting Editor

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