Smith happy with offensive progress

Rod Smith is happy with the offense so far, although he believes there is room for improvement. Read on to see what areas can get better, his thoughts on Matt Scott, and more.

As good as Arizona's offense has been, Co-Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks coach Rod Smith believes that there is improvement. In fact, he says that there was already a great improvement from the opening game against Toledo to last week's game against Oklahoma State.

"I think we have done a pretty decent job particularly for how early we are in the season," Smith said. "The first game we had a lot of mistakes and a lot of penalties, self-inflicted type of deals and it really hurt us and left a lot of points on the board. We also missed a couple throws, so I thought we left a lot of plays on the field.

"This game I thought was better and a lot cleaner from a penalty and self-infliction standpoint. Once again though we still are making some mistakes that need to be cleaned up. We still have another level we can get to I think."

Rich Rodriguez has been consistent in saying that the run game is not where he would like it to be. Against Oklahoma State, it started out slow, but picked up as the game went on. For Smith, that success can be attributed to two things.

"They were a very good defensive front and they were tough to move," he said. "One thing we thought we saw was to exploit some matchups with their linebackers. We did so much no back and tried to isolate their linebackers in space, so we threw quite a bit early on.

"I think when you start doing that and add the tempo, which we did, I think by the second half or fourth quarter those guys got a little fatigued. We started creating running some running lanes because our conditioning was better."

Much of the success of the offense has been due to quarterback Matt Scott. Scott ran 19 times against Oklahoma State and Smith does not have a problem with that number.

"We probably called two quarterback runs out of those 19," he said. "One was a touchdown and the other was on third down in a no back. The other ones were pulls off of reads and that is going to happen.

"That is our offense, so it is just the nature of how they decided to defend us and what they gave us. We got Matt on the perimeter and he is not taking shots, so we are comfortable with that."

One major reason for the high number of runs is that Arizona is using a lot of reads in its offense. Smith believes that Scott has improved in that area and continues to do so.

"He is getting better," Smith said. "He is a lot cleaner this time and it is a work in progress, but he is getting better. He is a fifth year senior, so he is better than the rest of them, but it is still his first time in this system.

"There are going to be some growing pains, but the good part is that he has covered up a lot of those with his arm because he is such a good thrower. He has done some things offensively that has covered some of the mishaps up and he is a smart kid that does not make the same mistake twice, which is what I want."

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