Arizona starts to gear up for Oklahoma State

Rich Rodriguez met with the media on Monday to talk about the Toledo game, Oklahoma State, and much more. Read on for all the latest.

Arizona came away with the victory on Saturday against Toledo. It was an outcome that many expected despite having to go to an overtime period to seal the deal.

Two days later, Rich Rodriguez can look back on the game and take away the good and the bad from his first game coaching the Wildcats.

"Anytime we win, there's a lot of things we can be better at," Rodriguez said. "I think everyone in the program understands that. We found out a lot about our team. I'm really pleased with some aspects and not so pleased with other aspects. There are a lot of things we can correct and certainly need to correct before Oklahoma State comes into town this weekend."

Even with the positives that can be taken away from the Wildcats' win, Arizona will now look to improve on executing the finer details across the board.

"The biggest part is the execution, not just offensively, which is obvious when you don't execute offensively and not just the kicking game because you don't execute there, but there might even be a technique that's wrong defensively that the coaches couldn't see without watching film," he said. "We had a long film session yesterday (Sunday). We ought to get it corrected and then we will just try to keep harping on it."

One area that Arizona struggled with on Saturday is the kicking game. John Bonano missed two field goals - from 25 and 24 yards - that could have been the difference in the game. The second of the two kicks would've won the game for Arizona, but instead sent the game to overtime.

"We just missed them," Rodriguez said. "Fundamentally, it didn't look like (Bonano), with the little I know about kicking, had bad foot placing or his head was in the wrong spot. John May have overcorrected. He missed the first one when it hit the post.

"We did that same kick last night three or four times and we said this one is for the game winner and he nailed it right down the middle."

Arizona will take steps towards correcting the problem. Rodriguez believes that the only way to fix problems like that is with more repetitions in practice.

"If there's something not right and you're not doing something as well as you can, then go practice it more," he said. "If you're not making kicks, go kick. John and the rest of our guys go out and do that. That's the best answer to that. I know some of it is mental, but just to go out and work on it to make it second nature."

Overall, Rodriguez wasn't disappointed with Arizona's performance on Saturday, but he wasn't satisfied either.

"I don't know if I'm ever truly satisfied with where we're at unless we're playing perfect and that's our goal," he said. "I don't expect we'll have a perfect game. There are a lot of mistakes we made in that game that we didn't make in scrimmages or practices that we had to clean up. We take care of the football and we're proud of that. That was not good at all on Saturday."

Oklahoma State is Arizona's next challenge. The Cowboys defeated Savannah State 84-0 on Saturday night despite only playing their starters for a few series. The blowout doesn't give the Wildcat coaches very much film to look at, but it gives them an idea of what to look for.

"They scored every time they had the ball," Rodriguez said. "It wasn't even a contest from the start. That's what they get when they do what they're supposed to do. They totally dominated and their kids played hard until the end. I was impressed to watch them play hard.

"When the third and fourth team guys get in there, they want to show what they can do, too. We won't take a whole lot from that game. You can watch the first couple of series, but other than that they kept it pretty generic and just let the back-ups play and have fun."

The Cowboys will be starting Wes Lunt, a true freshman, at quarterback. Lunt was impressive on Saturday in limited time, but earned praise from Rodriguez, who will now have to plan for the youngster.

"From the start, he wasn't challenged at all," Rodriguez said. " It looked easy for him, but that's what you want from a quarterback, for them to look composed and make it look simple. He's a starting quarterback for a reason. They have some talented quarterbacks and he's a true freshman. They have a pretty high standard for quarterbacks."

The Wildcats will prepare for Oklahoma State for the rest of the week leading up to Saturday. The Cowboys will come into Arizona Stadium as a ranked opponent and winners of the last two matchups.

Arizona will take the same approach to this week's game, as it will to any other. However, Rodriguez will make sure that his team understands the opportunity that is at hand.

"It's an opportunity for us to play a ranked team," he said. "I told our team there are not a lot of people who talk about Arizona football in certain circles, and if you want to become more relevant, the best way to do it is to beat a ranked team. It's a great challenge but also a great opportunity.

"I'm sure they're just like us, worrying about themselves first, fixing whatever they've got to fix. They probably don't have as much to fix, judging by their game, as we do, judging by our game, but it's a really good team coming in and a great opportunity for us."

Wildcat Authority Top Stories