11/4 Football Notebook

On Monday, Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez met with the media. Read on to see what he says about UCLA, the offensive line, and more.

  • Arizona has a major challenge on its hands when it schemes to contain UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley on Saturday.

    "You're talking about a guy that is 240 something pounds, has great size, and I think he is an intelligent runner too," Rich Rodriguez said. "What I mean by that is whether they call a quarterback draw or he scrambles on his own, he does a good job of taking it when it's there and getting first downs and getting down before he takes a whole lot of shots.

    "There's no question the unscheduled play, the play that breaks down or something that is not right there, he is very dangerous when he moves around because he can still throw it down the field as well."

  • In addition, Arizona will have to find a way to keep Bruin linebacker Anthony Barr away from B.J. Denker.

    "He made the transition last year, so now I am sure he is very comfortable in it," Rodriguez said. "When you are as good of an athlete as he is, I am sure in a week he could move back to offense.

    "When you are that talented of an athlete, you are talking about a first rounder here, you can put him on either side of the ball and it is just a matter of teaching him the plays you want or the schemes you want to go by."

  • Denker had some struggles earlier in the year and the coaching staff chose to stay with him despite fans calling for the opposite. According to Rodriguez, the reasoning behind the decision was simple.

    "He was the best one we had," Rodriguez said. "I say that even though he had maybe a few moments in some of the games, we still saw maybe a lot of things the general public wouldn't know about how he was progressing.

    "You can see him week by week getting more comfortable with what we are doing. He's a competitive guy, but I saw it more probably in practice."

  • Rodriguez says that Denker's improvement can be attributed to numerous factors.

    "Trusting some of the route packages; he's trusting the timing a whole lot better," he said. "He has been throwing the ball pretty accurately. He missed a few reads in the run game last week, but he has been pretty sharp all season on his reads.

    "He has been smart with the ball, he's taken care of it and not just thrown it into the crowd or anything like that the last couple weeks."

  • Trevor Ermisch went down with an injury during Saturday's kickoff and Rodriguez confirmed the injury on Monday.

    "He's going to need to have surgery on his ACL, so he will be out," Rodriguez said. "Trevor is probably our most productive special teams player. It was a non-contact injury.

    "He was literally just running down the field and making the cut across a guy's face and just planted it wrong or something on the turf."

  • Denker has shown a little more ability to throw vertical as of late and a lot of that has to do with how opponents are choosing to defend Arizona.

    "He's thrown well the last couple of weeks down the field and it really depends on how people play us," Rodriguez said. "There are times when they bring everybody up and bring the safeties in the box in press coverage and you have to take shots down the field and you have to try and win some of those battles.

    "We have enough speed. We're not nearly as fast as we would like to be and as we're going to be, but we still have some guys that can run a little bit. We have to take some shots down field, if not they will keep them down in the box and they can outnumber you in the run game."

  • Devin Fuller will get significant playing time at wide receiver for the Bruins and he is a familiar name to Arizona fans because the UA wanted him as a quarterback.

    "We recruited him," Rodriguez said. "Remember making a visit to him, great young man, great talent. We thought he could play quarterback in this system and we knew he could play somewhere else.

    "I don't know whether they told him quarterback or not, but it doesn't surprise me that he's doing well at wide out and returning kicks because he is just a phenomenal athlete. Besides the obvious speed and agility and all that, it seems like he has a great football sense about him as well."

  • Although some coaches would downplay the significance of Saturday's game, Rodriguez does not necessarily want to go that route.

    "I can give you standard coach speak that they are all important, they are all big, they all count as one," he said. "That's the case, particularly in your league. When it is a ranked team and you are at home and there is more at stake the next four games, it adds more to it, it's a big game.

    "We're not doing anything differently in our approach. We practice the same way, have the same meeting schedule and I will tell you the same thing I told the team, I have never been one to talk about ramifications and talk about winning the game. We talk about winning the play, whether that is the process or a mindset."

  • There were numerous instances in which Rodriguez expressed some disappointment with the offensive line and he clarified his position on Monday.

    "I don't know if I would say struggling as much as I didn't think we performed as well as maybe we could have," Rodriguez said of the Cal game. "Some of it is just technique. It is not that they are not trying hard, even though I think we can do a little better job at finishing blocks.

    "Technique wise we are how many weeks into the season and I think our plays are pretty simple and we still have some technique issues. Coach Michalczik is doing a great job and we have gotten better every week, but there is another level we can get to fundamentally up front as far as some of the techniques go."

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