1. How will the team react to its new coach?
By all accounts, the team has welcomed Rich Rodriguez with open arms. However, that is before any football is played. What will happen when the players realize the difference between Mike Stoops and Rodriguez? What about when all positions are up for grabs?
Not all players are going to react well to Rodriguez and that is just a reality more than anything. The question here is which players are going to react well and which will not. The Arizona players have a great opportunity to impress their head coach, but their head coach also knows that he is going to have to weed out the players that he feels will not positively contribute to the program. We will have a much better idea of who these players are as spring practices continue.
2. Is this team healthy?
Jake Fischer, Adam Hall, Willie Mobley, Jonathan McKnight and more are players that missed a good chunk or all of last season and that Arizona will need in a major way. Sure, Rodriguez can say these players are healthy, but it is a whole different story when there is contact involved. The positive aspect of this question is that there is plenty of time before the season starts and thus plenty of time for all players to get healthy.
However, it will be much easier to implement the playbooks and take a closer look at the team if Rodriguez has his squad at full strength. Arizona badly needs Fischer and Hall to be healthy at the least and this spring will tell us a lot about how they are doing.
3. Special teams
Rodriguez has been criticized by a few in the past as not focusing on special teams, as he usually does not have a coach that focuses only on that aspect of the game. The special teams duties will be split between Tony Gibson and Spencer Leftwich and is definitely a sore subject for Arizona fans when one considers how Arizona's special teams did last season.
John Bonano emerged as the field goal kicker last season, but his kickoffs suffered a bit because of it. Does Rodriguez stick with the same plan? Does he try to find a player to handle kickoffs or just field goals?
Arizona's special teams put it in a bad position at numerous points last season and Rodriguez will have to focus plenty on it, starting in the spring.
4. Will it be as bad as they say?
Rodriguez makes no secret of the fact that he believes the offense will not look good this spring and his experience definitely looks as if he could be right. Rodriguez's offense is not easy at all to learn and takes numerous struggles before the offense comes around. Rodriguez has warned the media and public time and time again that the offense will likely not be impressive and if it is, it is likely because the defense is not playing well.
It will be intriguing to see if Rodriguez is exaggerating at all or if the offense will really be as bad as he says. If it is, plenty of patience will be tested because fans never want to wait, despite the fact that Rodriguez saw it coming.
5. Who will emerge?
There seems to be at least one player each spring that emerges as a legitimate threat to play when he was not necessarily considered to be before. A player like Tyler D'Amore could earn a scholarship in the spring or C.J. Dozier could come out and impress the coaching staff. Basically, every position is in the air and with each player competing in front of a new coaching staff, it would be a surprise if a new player or two did not emerge.