Bye week gave Rodriguez time to reflect

Rich Rodriguez met with the media on Monday to discuss numerous topics. Read on for his thoughts on Arizona's performance so far, what it needs to improve on, his thoughts on the future, and more.

Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez met with the media on Monday after having a bye week and now looking to Washington this weekend.

"We probably needed more time," Rodriguez said. "We had around 13 starters that were out last week and six or seven of them didn't play in the last game. With one more week, I'm hoping we can get a couple of them back. They should be hungry to play a game. Our guys' focus has been good all year but, like I said, we needed this probably a couple of weeks ago. We'll take it when we can get it."

While Rodriguez says that he does not want to forget the first half of the season, he does admit that the team will not look back.

"It's not a clean slate as much as it is the second half," he said. "The first half is over. There were some good and some bad and now we're in the second half. Every conference game is really important. Our guys understand that."

Rodriguez believes that he learned plenty about the Wildcats in the first half of the season and will be able to apply that to the upcoming schedule.

"Particularly in the first year, every week we learn something new about our guys," Rodriguez said. "In particular when you have guys that are injured and have in guys playing that weren't in the starting role earlier and you're not exactly sure how they're going to play or what their strengths or weaknesses are. You have to adjust accordingly.

"Our jobs as coaches are to try to adjust to the strengths of what guys are playing and play those strengths. It's a challenge because this is still our first season. As a coaching staff, I took a little bit of time to evaluate the first half of the season and to try to think about what we can do better for the second half."

In addition, Rodriguez has been able to reflect on how the first part of the season went and if there were any surprises.

"Most of the things that we struggled with or had problems with were not surprising," he said. "It wasn't anything that was really surprising, positive or negative, particularly negative. Some issues we had, we knew we had coming in. Then, you get a few guys banged up or hurt, it kind of magnifies that. You're always going to have some bad luck.

"You have to come in and think this can happen or that can happen and know it can be kind of tough. We plan for it, but we don't want to deal with it but we've dealt with it, and our guys have been okay with that."

Although Arizona has had some tough games and is clearly lacking talent at certain spots, Rodriguez is quick to say that he has no regrets about being the head coach at Arizona.

"I think you always find out things, both good and bad, when you come into a new job," Rodriguez said. "That's been the case every place I've been. Is there a lot more work to do? Probably. I doubt every coach comes in highly optimistic and thinks to themselves it's not going to be too hard and after a few weeks or months or a year in you realize it is.

"There is nothing I have seen that discourages me or anybody on our staff that we can't build the best program in America. I'm as optimistic today as I was when I took this job nine or ten months ago that we are going to make it happen. In fact, I'm even more excited about it now."


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