11/27 Football Notebook

Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez met with the media on Wednesday. Read on to see what he says about the rivalry, success on the road, and more.

  • Rich Rodriguez has no complaints about Arizona's focus this week and attributes it to two factors.

    "The focus has been good," Rodriguez said. "It really has been good all year, but you can tell it is a rivalry game and there will be a lot of intensity.

    "It is also Thanksgiving, so a lot of guys will see some family this week. We're going to have a nice meal for them. We will have a light Thursday practice earlier and then have a nice meal around 3 o'clock."

  • The road team has won the last four games in the rivalry, but Rodriguez does not think there are any main factors at hand.

    "I think it is strange," Rodriguez said. "It seems like the road team has had some success, but I think that is an anomaly. I don't think there is a reason for that except two equal teams coming down to the last play or two."

  • Rodriguez says he looked into the rivalry before taking the Arizona job and believes that the perception of it is not as strong as it should be.

    "I actually probably looked at it a little bit before I even took the job here," he said. "The national perception is probably you don't realize it is this intense until you are in the middle of it, but that is probably true for every rivalry. The intensity of it, having gone through it and with our fans and their fans, you can sense that year round."

  • With Marion Grice likely out for Arizona State, Rodriguez believes D.J. Foster is capable of filling the void.

    "He can play at wideout, he can play at running back and he is a really talented young man," Rodriguez said. "He has great ball skills and he's tough too. We tried to recruit him. He's a great player."

  • Emotions can often pose problems in rivalry games, thus Rodriguez believes you have to channel that into something positive.

    "When it leads to silly penalties or mental mistakes," Rodriguez said. "You want to use emotion in a positive way and some guys can, some guys go overboard. I think you can have too much in a way and almost be counterproductive, but there is a difference between emotion and intensity. I just want the intensity."

  • Defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel is a finalist for the Broyles award and it is no surprise to Rodriguez.

    "He's probably been a finalist before, but I have an excellent staff," he said. "Of course I am biased, but I think I have some of the best teachers in the country. It will not change Jeff Casteel one way or another. He will still go about doing his business, but we're lucky to have him."


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