Rodriguez sees big challenge at Utah

Rich Rodriguez met with the media on Monday to discuss the Utah game among other topics. Read on for his thoughts on the UA defense, challenges Utah brings, and much more.

Arizona became bowl eligible with a win over Colorado this past weekend and the Wildcats will have a much more difficult challenge this week when it travels to Utah.

"We have a big challenge this week," Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez said. "I told the team yesterday (Sunday) that this will be one of the most physical and biggest teams we've played this year. It'll be a tough environment and we will be tested both mentally and physically on Saturday night. We need to play a lot tougher and be more physical than the last several weeks."

Rodriguez says that the mental aspect of Saturday's game will revolve largely around the fact that Utah will have many advantages going for it.

"They have a great home environment and the crowd will be into it," Rodriguez said. "It will be a little cooler than what we are accustomed to. It's a veteran team on both sides of the ball, especially up front, and we already know our issues with being undersized. We didn't play very physical at all the last game, and if that happens Saturday, then we will be in trouble."

There was no real status update on Matt Scott, as Rodriguez says the decision will be made by the trainers during the week. Whether he plays or not, the general belief is that Ka'Deem Carey will be relied on as much as he was against Colorado.

"On Saturday, Ka'Deem was really good with his eyes," Rodriguez said. "There were times where he may have missed a cut or two but for the most part, his vision was really good with regards to how the play was unfolding. I think he can get better at that part, and he's only a sophomore."

However, Saturday's game against Utah may be Carey's biggest challenge of the season as he goes up against a player many consider to be a first round draft pick in Utah's Star Lotulelei.

"We don't have any players that are similar to his size, strength and speed to emulate it in practice," Rodriguez said. "He has been a dominant player in this league for a couple of years and he will be a first round draft pick. They will move him around as well and he won't be lined up on the same person each time. Our guys up front have to watch the film and play with great leverage and intensity.

"We really just need to play well up front. We have not gotten a lot of push at the line of scrimmage this year, so I wouldn't expect to do it against Star and their front. They are bigger and stronger than our previous opponents. The key for us is to have great leverage."

Utah has been inconsistent this season with a recent blowout loss to Washington being a good example. Rodriguez believes that Arizona will be seeing Utah's best football on Saturday, as the Utes have picked it up as of late.

"I remember early in the year that they were projected to be the team to win the Pac-12," he said. "They are a veteran team. They're a big, physical team with a lot of playmakers. I see that same team. They're playing their best football in the last couple of weeks.

"It's going to be their last game at home, so it's going to be a really, really tough environment. We try to prepare our players for that. They'll watch film and see the guys and remember them from last year. The guys from last year will remember. I think our guys know the challenge."

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