Rodriguez disappointed in team's strength

Rich Rodriguez met with the media on Thursday and discussed numerous topics. Read on to see his thoughts on the team's physical strength, what it needs to do to improve, and more.

With spring football set to begin, Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez has taken some time to evaluate the current team on tape, but also in conditioning drills. From what he has seen and what the strength and conditioning staff has told him, Rodriguez is a bit disappointed in current physical state of the team.

"I think mentally they were ready, I think their attitude has been really good," Rodriguez said. "We were really weak, which I kind of expected because, one, we weren't in a bowl game and I don't think they did a whole lot of lifting from midseason on.

"I think they just played in the games and practiced and did all that. We were really, really weak and still are really, really weak as a football team."

While it may be easy to be pessimistic regarding that aspect of the team, Rodriguez says that there is plenty of time to get stronger and turn it around.

"That's the bad news," Rodriguez says of the team's weakness. "The good news is I think our guys have gotten stronger over the last month and a half and they have got hopefully another five or six months to get stronger. If our guys want to play at a high level, we have to get a whole lot faster and a whole lot stronger."

While Rodriguez and company can tell the players exactly what they want them to do, the head coach feels that it winds up being up to the player.

"It is disappointing when you guys that have been in the program a couple years and they are still not bench pressing or squatting what a third or fourth year player should be doing," he said. "That is not an indictment on the strength program as much as it is on them themselves making the commitment."

In order to be the type of athlete that Rodriguez wants, he believes that the team is going to need to increase its level of commitment.

"Elite athletes cannot take as much time as our guys did and expect to maintain elite athlete status," Rodriguez said. "I hope our message got through. I think their attitude has been terrific. It is not that they have not bought into that, I think they have and understand that.

"But going forward, whether it is in the summer or their future careers, if they want to maintain elite athlete status, they need to train year round."

At this point in the process, the Arizona coaching staff is making it clear that everything the team does is part of a competition.

"Every day in everything they do," Rodriguez said. "Whether it is in the weight room, academic world, in practice, we will have competitive situations every day and always evaluating. All our guys will know that everything they are doing we will be keeping an eye on."

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