Arizona football Spring Notebook: 3/13

Arizona held its last practice before the team takes time off for Spring Break. Read on to find out how Rodriguez thinks the practice went, how he feels about depth at wide receiver, and more.

Arizona has been doing spring drills for two weeks and the Wildcats' Head Coach Rich Rodriguez has had good days and bad days. Here are a few notes on how practice went on Wednesday:

  • Rodriguez wasn't too pleased with his team earlier in the week. On Wednesday, Rodriguez still wasn't pleased, but admitted that he saw a little progress.

    "It was better today," Rodriguez said. "That was our last practice until they get back from the break so I'm sure we'll have to get on them when they get back to get back in the mode. We got some work done in five days, got a little bit of evaluation done."

  • The coach hopes that his players understand the importance of each of the spring drills. Although position battles aren't won in the spring, any little thing players can do to stand out will help them in the fall.

    "We have to do our jobs as coaches to explain it to them," he said. "I think they understand the importance of spring practice because they know, especially the guys that have been here, that in August you compete the first couple of weeks, but really you've got to prove yourself in every opportunity especially in the spring because we don't go live very much when August gets here."

  • Arizona isn't anywhere close to naming a starting quarterback, but whoever the signal caller is this season will be the benefactor of simplified offensive line schemes.

    "Whether its veteran or rookie, they benefit from a good play up front," Rodriguez said. "That's the key. I think our schemes are so simple that we shouldn't have a whole bunch of confusion up front. What we hope doesn't happen in the spring is to have a lot of mental breakdowns up front and everything looks like a cluster.

    "Our quarterbacks' heads are spinning, but we'll pair it down by the end of the spring to see who we think can play out of this group."

  • Early in the spring, there was talk of DaVonte' Neal and T.J. Johnson getting touches in the backfield. However, while speaking about the depth of the receiving corps, Rodriguez also mentioned that Samajie Grant would get some looks at running back.

    "A lot of the guys are still learning our system and learning where to go," he said. "We have a deep group. We have a lot of guys. This time last spring and the spring before, we didn't have enough bodies. Now we have plenty of bodies and I think we have really good competition.

    "We are going to have some receivers play some running back. T.J. Johnson is playing running back. Samajie Grant is going to be playing running back. DaVonte' Neal is playing some running back. The depth there allows us that luxury."

  • The Wildcats lost All-American running back Ka'Deem Carey to the NFL, but managed to avoid losing defensive back Tra'Mayne Bondurant as well. Rodriguez is keeping Bondurant focused and believes that he can have a strong finish to his Arizona career.

    "He's a guy that has been through a lot," Rodriguez said. "It's his senior year. I've been on him about staying focused on what he's here for – his degree and playing his best year of football.

    "He has great instincts. He's a really good football player. If we can get him totally focused on training his body and eliminating distractions, he can have a great year."

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