Arizona’s Fifita, McMillan speak on Jedd Fisch’s departure as transfer possibility looms

Jan 17, 2024, 10:59 AM | Updated: 10:59 am

Noah Fifita and Tetairoa McMillan, Arizona Wildcats...

Quarterback Noah Fifita #11 and wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan #4 of the Arizona Wildcats react on the bench during the final moments of the NCAAF game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Mountain America Stadium on November 25, 2023 in Tempe, Arizona. The Wildcats defeated the Sun Devils 59-23. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Jedd Fisch’s decision to take the head-coaching job for the Washington Huskies not only meant he would leave the Arizona Wildcats. Those in Tucson worried that the coaching staff and a roster largely expected to return would transfer with him.

So far, the fallout hasn’t hit code-red status. The first piece of evidence that could lend an optimistic outlook for Arizona’s new head coach, Brent Brennan, was that star quarterback Noah Fifita and receiver Tetairoa McMillan have yet to jump ship.

“It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions,” Fifita said on the duo’s Island Time in the Desert podcast, which airs on the Game Network app. “We’ve been through every single emotion. We don’t know what’s left, what’s right, right now. We’ve been through every emotion. It’s been interesting and we’re leaning in on our faith, spending a lot of time with each other.”

Fifita and McMillan confirmed that Fisch’s goodbye to the Wildcats was brief. He met with the team quickly — but most importantly to the Arizona players, the entire team showed up.

“In a way, I feel like if the meeting would have been longer, it would have just been him trying to defend himself on why he made his decision,” McMillan said. “He just got straight to the point, what it was, what it wasn’t.”

Added Fifita: “People are going to go out on social media and bash Fisch. To me, he said everything he needed to say. You don’t got to beat around the bush. There’s no hard feelings … that was a good meeting for us.

“What I like is that everybody showed up, bro. That kind of speaks to the culture we have. I think we were only missing a couple guys … they were out of town for plans they had set up before. It was a good showing, good meeting and regardless of what people are saying on social media, bro, it was a good meeting.”

Now, fans are waiting to see what the star offensive players and their teammates do.

While Washington has announced several coaches hired from Arizona’s former staff, receivers coach Kevin Cummings has not been formally introduced as a Husky.

According to CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd, he was a key for Fifita and McMillan to potentially return. Cummings was reportedly in Seattle for Fisch’s introductory press conference but has ties to Brennan and worked for him at San Jose State before heading to Tucson.

Brennan might have a say in this as well.

He touched down in Arizona on Tuesday and already met with players. His wife was seen taking a golf cart ride out of a meeting sitting next to Fifita.

Fifita, a redshirt freshman, took over midseason for since-transferred Jayden de Laura and completed 72% of his passes for 25 touchdowns and six interceptions.

McMillan piled up 1,402 yards on 90 catches with 10 touchdowns.

The Wildcats expected 17 starters back and as of Wednesday had starting defensive back Ephesians Prysock, lead running back Jonah Coleman and backup quarterback Brayden Dorman in the transfer portal.

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