March 31 Football Notebook

Arizona spring ball is only days away from finishing. Read on for Rich Rodriguez's thoughts on a recent scrimmage, walk-ons, and more.

  • Arizona held a scrimmage on Saturday and it was one of the few days that Rodriguez felt the offense performed better than the defense.

    "The scrimmage was better offensively, not as good defensively," Rodriguez said. "I think we have made some progress. We only have five practices left, but we could use five more.

    "I am sure every coach would say that because there are a lot of young guys that are making some steps and I don't know if we have enough time this spring to know if they will be ready, so it will be a big summer for a lot of them."

  • Arizona cancelled the scrimmage in Phoenix on Friday in order to maximize its time.

    "It's all my decision," Rodriguez said. "The meetings are so critical right now that we need that meeting time and the things we have set up here with the two practice fields and all that, which we're not going to get if we go on the road. That's all on me and hopefully the fans will come down to the spring game on the 12th."

  • With only five practices left, Arizona's focus will be simple.

    "Just getting better," Rodriguez said. "I think that guys understand our practice tempo now, but as I have told them, we have to make some hard decisions in the next five practices."

  • Those decisions are likely to involved making cuts to current walk-ons.

    "Not so much with the depth chart, but simply getting an idea of which young guys are going to be ready to play or not," Rodriguez said. "This will be the first time I may have to cut some walk-ons that didn't make the roster."

  • There are no guarantees that the walk-ons that were given scholarships last season will have the same this season.

    "It is a one year deal, but those guys have done pretty well," Rodriguez said. "I have a great group of walk-ons. The thing we have gotten to now as opposed to two years ago, we had a lot of room on the roster and now it has gotten really competitive from a walk-on standpoint.

    "It's a good thing because we have some really good ones coming in and we've got some really good ones on the team now."

  • Jonathan Haden continues to wait to be cleared and the frustration is clear.

    "It's really frustrating because the information is in and has been into the NCAA for a week and a half now," Rodriguez said.

    "Very frustrating, everything is in and he has done everything he has to do. Now we are down to five practices and hopefully he will be cleared by Wednesday, but who knows."

  • The quarterback competition remains wide open and Rodriguez does not seem to have any issues with it.

    "Competition I think brings the best out of everybody, particularly when it is an intense, multi-player type of competition," he said. "I wish he had that kind of competition at all of the positions."

  • When comparing this spring to his previous two at Arizona, Rodriguez believes the team is where he expected it to be.

    "The pace as much as I yell about it not being what I want, is still a whole lot better than it was the first year, which is to be expected," he said.

    "The guys have been here a couple years and know how we want to practice. I think they have learned how to practice for the most part. I think we are getting a lot done, more done than we did in the first spring."

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