Rodriguez gives update

Rich Rodriguez met with media Wednesday to give an update on suspensions, quarterbacks, Brian Wagner, and more. Read on for the latest.

Arizona head football coach Rich Rodriguez spoke to the media Wednesday before practice. He spoke about the arrested players, Richard Morrison, Wildcats recovering from injuries, offensive linemen, team effort and more. Here's what he had to say:

On players being arrested:

Rodriguez defaulted to Greg Byrne's statement that was released early Wednesday morning, stating that they are fully cooperating in police investigations, but could not comment further.

While he wouldn't budge on specifics, saying, "It's a matter we are looking into very seriously and going through the process," he did mention that sophomores Jourdan Grandon and Fabbians Ebbele are not practicing. They were both involved in the altercation at the party and were arrested and will be missing from practice until issues are resolved.

Ebbele, was a starter at offensive tackle last season earning Freshman All-America honors. Grandon started 4 games last season and had a breakout game against Arizona State with a 41-yard interception return for a touchdown. In the off-season, both were projected to be starters this year.

On Richard Morrison:

Morrison has been working out as a quarterback in the two practices so far this spring and it looks like he will get a legitimate shot at being the backup to Matt Scott. Rodriguez mentioned earlier in the off-season that the junior would get some snaps at quarterback, but it looks as though he has made the switch for good, at least at the moment.

Morrison told the media earlier in the week that he was a quarterback at heart and Rodriguez backed up that statement.

"When we asked him, ‘Hey, we want you to try out at quarter back again,' there was a big smile on his face," Rodriguez said. "It wasn't like he hesitated."

Rodriguez also said that Morrison has thrown the ball well in his drills, but like the others are still "learning the system and schemes."

On offensive linemen:

By now, it is no secret that Rich Rodriguez likes to play fast football. He loves the no huddle and wants to keep the defense as off-balance as possible. One big factor in making the no huddle work is having players that can move up the field quickly, especially linemen. Rodriguez was not shy about addressing that today.

"Everyone says that you sacrifice size for athletic ability," Rodriguez said. "I like the big guys that can be athletic; that's all in a perfect world."

Of the linemen currently on the roster, he stated that there is no depth chart at this time.

"If they have great technique and great fundamentals, we are going to be ok," Rodriguez said.

It was seen later on in the early drills that Rodriguez practices what he preaches when he got animated and fiery when making sure linemen had the proper technique when blocking a field goal.

On injured players returning:

Two of Arizona's defensive stars seem to be returning to full health as spring practices commence. Adam Hall and Jake Fischer were both at full speed going into Wednesday's practice. It was just about a year ago when the juniors went down with season-ending knee injuries. Hall later returned for one game against Oregon State, but aggravated his knee and missed the remainder of the season.

On players during spring practice:

Rodriguez told the media that there are two big things he looks for in his first spring practice: how quickly players learn the new systems and how much effort players are putting into improving.

The practice plan for Wednesday was almost identical to Monday's in order to give the players a chance to fix where they went wrong.

"It is the old teaching method where you do something and fail at it and then, you try it again and see how much better you get on the second time," Rodriguez said.

The coaches want the players to absorb what the coaches are saying and make adjustments in minimal opportunities.

One thing that ties into making adjustments is effort, something that Rodriguez says isn't quite right yet.

"It's one thing that should be a given, but it's not right now," he said. "Their version of playing hard and our version of playing hard as coaches may not match up."

Rodriguez didn't expect the effort level to be much different, but does expect improvement daily.

"We've gotten better in their workouts according to our strength coach," Rodriguez said. "I'd be disappointed if today was not better than Monday."

On Brian Wagner:

Brian Wagner transferred to Arizona for the spring semester from Akron. He was a starting linebacker there and arrived in Tucson as a graduate transfer just in time to help a decimated defense. Wagner averaged 14 tackles per game for the Zips last season including 22 against Florida International, 15 at the Ohio State University, and 17 on two other occasions.

"He fills a big position of need and that's one of the reasons we wanted him to come, but he's a smart guy and he's eager to learn," Rodriguez said of Wagner. "He did pick up big numbers, and it certainly wasn't in the league we're playing in, but he did play some BCS schools and performed well."

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