Rodriguez focusing on USC

Rich Rodriguez met with the media on Monday to discuss USC among a variety of topics. Read on for his thoughts on the Trojans, challenges posed, and more.

Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez met with the media on Monday to briefly review the big Washington win and look ahead to one of Arizona's biggest challenges in USC.

"After reviewing film, I thought there were some really good moments and some other moments where we certainly could have played better," Rodriguez said. "I thought our guys were more reenergized after the open date. They played hungry and it was a nice win.

"With that being said, we refocused in last night's (Sunday) short walk through on USC and our guys know what a challenge it is. It should be a great atmosphere and hopefully we have a sellout and our fans can give us a boost. It's a great challenge for our guys. Hopefully we can come out and play well for four quarters."

One of the biggest challenges for Arizona will be containing USC's offense. Rodriguez says that the offense can be dangerous when it gets going and it starts with one of the best quarterbacks in the country.

"I think he's everything that is right about college athletics and college football," Rodriguez said of Matt Barkley. "To me, he should be one of the leading contenders for the Heisman. He's one of the best players in the history of the Pac-12.

"He looks like a tremendous leader. From what I hear about him, he's everything you'd want all your players to emulate. I think he's an example for our league and for their program to show future guys what college football is about."

A lot of Barkley's success if owed to the fact that he has plenty of weapons. Once again, Arizona will be facing a team that has two legitimate tight ends.

"Isn't it amazing in our league the quality of the tight ends,?" Rodriguez said. "I don't think there's another league that is close to having the type of tight ends, the athletes, and the skilled position players that the Pac-12 has.

"Our guys have tried. Sometimes we're there to make the plays and sometimes we're not. It helps if you can get pressure on the quarterback. That's been our issue at times. In the last game, we did a better job of that. I don't think one guy can do it because they're so big. If you put a couple of guys on him there is one less guy putting pressure on the quarterback.

"I think you have to mix it up. The biggest key is putting pressure on the quarterback without exploding yourself, so one-on-one coverages can come with a lot of blitzes."

There is no question that USC has more talent than Arizona and Rodriguez says the hope is that Arizona will one day be able to recruit at that level.

"They have some of the top recruiting classes in the country," he said. "If you look at the NFL drafts in the last 10 years, they are phenomenally talented. We want to catch them in recruiting. I don't know if we will but that is our goal."

Coming off the win over Washington, Rodriguez does believe that the Wildcats have some momentum going into Saturday's game.

"Any win gives us momentum. A win is a win and the momentum is good. The players seemed like they were in a good mood last night. I think they understand how important it is to be focused on this one."


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