Rodriguez preparing for Fall Camp

Rich Rodriguez addressed the media before Fall Camp begins. Read on to see him talk about the current roster, his thoughts on practice, and much more.

Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez met with the media on Wednesday to give a state of the program going into fall football.

This is a new experience for Rodriguez at Arizona and he admits that there are currently more questions than answers at this point.

"Most of them have done their physicals, most of them have their equipment, and we are going to do some administrative things tonight," Rodriguez said Wednesday. "Tomorrow we start practice. We are going to have practices around game times, so one-a-days will be around 6 p.m. There may be some monsoons or some rain, so we may adjust if we get frustrated with the delay of practices.

"I hope our guys had a good summer. We are limited in the contact we can have with them, but from the guys I have seen, they are excited for camp, and I'm excited for our first camp together. Hopefully our guys look hungry and continue to want to prove themselves."

The depth chart is almost completely undecided and Rodriguez says that it is simply because he has not seen the team enough.

"There were a lot of "ors", but that is because we aren't sure yet in a lot of positions," he said. "The spring did tell us a little bit though. I think we will get a better idea at the end of camp on how we are going to be this year, but I won't really know until we play a couple of games. We are starting all over again with a clean slate, and everybody has to earn their spots."

Rodriguez believes that much of how practice goes will depend on how hard the players worked over the summer.

"In the spring, we saw a little bit of what they could do, and they were also learning a new system," he said. "But by the end of the spring they looked comfortable. There were a handful of players that were injured during the spring or didn't perform as well as we wanted them to. I don't know what they did during the summer, but I know a lot of guys were here and depending on how hard they worked during the summer, it will make the transition a lot easier for them.

"In spring, we didn't have to have a sense of urgency to get them ready to play. We just needed to teach and concentrate on the fundamentals. Now in the fall camps, we're going to do evaluations, but we need to have a sense of urgency to get ready to play and to be able to count on them on September 1."

It is tough for the coaches to have a good grasp on the incoming freshmen and Rodriguez did not hide his disappointment at the rules that have been an obstacle on getting that grasp.

"I wish I knew what they were like, but we are following the rules," he said. "The basketball coaches have it figured out. They can work with their kids a couple hours a week and they don't start playing any games until December. We have a game the first of September and we couldn't do anything with them this summer.

"We have more guys and more of a sense of urgency to get ready earlier, and we have less of a clue of what our team is like. It makes no sense. College athletes are better off with more guidance, and more eyes. I just want the month of June to be able to work with them."

Despite that fact, it is no secret that Arizona will have no choice but to rely on numerous freshmen to contribute.

"Anywhere in the back seven positions," Rodriguez said. "Everyone will get a lot of reps. During the first week we rep everyone. Then after a about a week and a half we pare it down. They all get early looks, but most of the freshmen will still be redshirted unless there's a few special kids that will play for us this year. That will also help with recruiting, because they will know that everyone will get serious looks at the beginning of practice."


  • Rodriguez says that besides the known injuries, the team remains relatively healthy going into practice.

    "Other than Adam Hall and Jack Baucus we look pretty good," he said. "I don't think Jack will be able to play for us this year, so unfortunately his career may be over. There are a couple of minor things, but we will be ok. Health will be critical for us this year. We have to make practice physical so we can get tougher, but we can't beat ourselves up at practice. We won't have those every day so when we do have those physical practices, we really need to get after it. It needs to be really intense."

  • There are a lot of questions on defense, but none may be as big as which linebackers will step up and play the most.

    "That is definitely our thinnest position, and some of our guys will need to be ready a lot sooner than they thought, particularly some freshman," Rodriguez said. "Jake Fischer is the only guy we know that has gotten a lot of experience, but outside of him, it is wide open. Hopefully these freshmen will grow up in a hurry and Coach (Jeff) Casteel will get whoever is there ready to play."

  • Rodriguez was asked about his scheduling strategy and was quick to point out how the conference schedules already to contribute to his philosophy.

    "We already have nine games to play in conference each year, so our strength of schedule is already pretty tough," he said. "We want to have at least seven home games a year. We want to try to get two non-conference games at home each year with non-BCS conference teams. Then we want a home-and-home with another BCS conference team. I like the fact that we can be more flexible with our schedule and to have the ability to schedule who we want."

  • The number of reps Matt Scott takes at quarterback will not change, but how he is handled will be different than Rodriguez has used quarterbacks in the past.

    "It will be similar to what it was during the spring," Rodriguez said. "We have more quarterbacks now, I think we have seven, so we don't have to monitor his throws as much. He still won't get hit because we need him healthy for the season, but from a rep standpoint, he will still have the same amount of reps as he did during the spring. I talked to him and he said that he feels good physically."

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