9/9 Football Notebook

Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez met with the media on Monday. Read on to see what he said about the passing game, Ka'Deem Carey, and more.

Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez met with the media on Monday and are are some notes on what he had to say.

  • With the win over UNLV on Saturday, attention has now turned to the next opponent, UTSA.

    "We had a pretty good practice last night," Rodriguez said. "The guys are focused, and they've stayed focused since the beginning of camp. They will all see film throughout the week and understand the challenge that they've got.

    "I've been really impressed with UTSA. Offensively, they scored 35 points against Oklahoma State, and Mississippi State only scored three points against Oklahoma State. They've got a good quarterback, great skill players, fast guys on the perimeter and good running backs. It's going to be a challenge, and our guys will see that on film."

  • Ka'Deem Carey saw his first action of the season on Saturday and Rodriguez is happy with what he saw out of the back.

    "He played pretty well," he said. "He was our offensive player of the week. He always runs hard, runs hungry, and that's one of his great attributes. He made the right cuts, made the right reads, and in a little bit of protection he was good too. Daniel Jenkins is a bit banged up, but we have two starting tailbacks going forward and it's a pretty good situation to have now."

  • After the season opener against NAU, Rodriguez said he believed that the offensive line could play better. Now that another game has passed, his opinion has not changed.

    "About the same as last week," Rodriguez said of the line. "They were okay. We're not grading out extremely high. Fundamentally, we can do a lot better job. Those guys are a very conscientious group. It's not like we tell them that their footwork is wrong, or something like that and they look at you like you got three heads.

    "They understand it, but fundamentally, Coach Michalczik is still working like crazy to get those guys to do the right thing. It was okay, but it wasn't a great performance by any stretch of the imagination."

  • Rodriguez continues to be open with how he thinks of the passing game and it seems that much of the disappointment surrounding the UNLV game is based on the long passing game.

    "There were two or three big play opportunities that we didn't connect on, whether it was an overthrow or the route was a little bit wrong or something like that," Rodriguez said. "Those were the things that we were the most frustrated with as was B.J. (Denker) and the other guys. Just an execution thing and so we ran some of those same plays last night and we hit them in practice, which was good, but we have to keep working on them.

    "We didn't throw a lot particularly in the second half, but in that first half we had some of those touchdown or big play opportunities. We just have to connect on them going forward and our guys know that. We are going to work extremely hard in practice because the last two teams have basically played what we call cover zero and load the box up and put them all down in there and give us one-on-one pass opportunities and when that happens you have to be able to execute."

  • Rodriguez attributed the lack of big play success to timing, which he had hoped would not be an issue.

    "It's still getting the timing down," he said. "You hope a lot of that stuff when you start practice in August, it's already there. We were behind and that's why I was so upset at the beginning of camp, because I wanted our execution to be sharp the first week and it wasn't sharp the first three weeks, but we've gotten better.

    "Last night in practice, B.J., Javelle and Jesse have all threw the ball about as well as they have thrown it since camp started. I think that's going to keep coming and we have to keep working on it."

  • The defense is off to a fast start and much of that has to do with the increased depth from last season.

    "We have some freshmen playing," Rodriguez said. "Scooby (Wright) is playing, (Derrick) Turituri is playing, DeAndre Miller is playing. (Devin) Holiday and (Derek) Babaish are playing in the secondary. We have more of our younger guys playing.

    "But our depth has to show up more as we get going. We have an open date after this one and then a semi-open date and then we play seven in a row, so our depth is going to be tested down the road."

  • It does seem as if Jesse Scroggins has improved, but it will still be difficult for him to get into a game and see some real time.

    "Right now he is the third guy, but he has gotten better," Rodriguez said. "The system is new for him, so he's still learning as are all of the guys. It's Jesse's second semester in it and Javelle's and B.J's second year, so they're all kinda growing up in the system.

    "As we go forward, our entire offense is basically in. There will be tweaks, but our entire offense is in, so hopefully as our season goes along, they'll get comfortable with it."

  • Denker has taken some criticism from fans and has even criticized himself, but Rodriguez was quick to answer when discussing why he is ahead of the other quarterbacks.

    "Probably just his knowledge of what we're doing," he said. "He's a good athlete, but his decision making is what has helped him the most and really the last three weeks he understands our system and more as we go forward, you don't just want guys to understand what we're doing, but why we're doing it and the reason behind it and I think B.J. has the best grasp of that, but I think the other guys will learn that at some point."

  • In addition, Denker is a legitimate threat in the running game, which adds another positive element to the offense.

    "He is a threat running," Rodriguez said. "I don't know if you timed him in the 40, he'd be that fast, but he seems—like a lot of guys—that he's faster when someone is chasing him. He has an extra gear when someone is chasing him. He does run well as do the other guys, so that's a weapon.

    "He throws well on the run, so we want to use part of our offense to use that. He's also getting more and more comfortable dropping back and throwing some of the quick gain and some of that stuff and that's where our execution needs to get better."

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