April 10 Football Notebook

Rich Rodriguez met with the media on Wednesday. Read on for his thoughts on the spring game, linebackers, and more.

  • Rich Rodriguez is looking forward to the spring game, as he feels it is a good opportunity for the fans.

    "I think it is fun and neat for the players to have a little crowd there," Rodriguez said. "The fans get a little opportunity to get a football fix in the spring.

    "Our season is so concentrated and there is such a long time before the bowl game and first game that it is good to have a little excitement and talk about football for a couple hours on Saturday."

  • Arizona continues to have a competition at linebacker and DeAndre Miller and Jake Matthews have been impressive.

    "They have been getting a lot of reps in the spring, both with the ones and the twos," Rodriguez said. "They are both tall, athletic guys that got a little bit of an edge about them.

    "That freshmen linebacker class is pretty good, but those are two guys that are playing on the outside that are going to be really good players for us."

  • As far as the linebacker position as a whole goes, Arizona has increased depth from last season.

    "Deeper than we were," Rodriguez said. "We will probably have a couple of freshmen come in and still compete for it. We obviously lose two really good seniors in Marquis and Jake and those guys made a lot of plays.

    "You aren't going to replace them with experience so quickly. What you have to do is hopefully replace them with some young guys that are athletic and learn what they do pretty quickly."

  • There are some questions about leadership this season, but Rodriguez has a unique perspective on it.

    "Austin Hill is a veteran and all three of the senior linemen have leadership qualities about them, but with the quarterbacks it is assumed with the position," Rodriguez said.

    "I don't worry about leadership in practice because that's what the coaches are there for. But during the summer, in the locker room, workouts, that is where we need it and all the quarterbacks will be charged with stepping it up."

  • This spring has been more successful than last season due in large part to the better overall health.

    "We had more people practicing," Rodriguez said. "We didn't have two groups a lot of times last spring and this spring we did the whole spring. I think we got a lot more done and have a lot more bodies and we stayed healthier, which is a good thing."

  • The defensive line has some depth questions, but Rodriguez is hoping that it gets them solved.

    "We're trying to get depth there," he said. "We still don't have a real deep team up front, but we have a couple veterans in Pettinato and Reggie and those guys are going to be the anchors.

    "Dwight Melvin has had a pretty good spring, Luca Bruno has had a pretty good spring, the new guys Jerod Cody and Jeff Worthy have contributed pretty well, Parker Zellers is a walk-on that looks like he might be able to help us.

    "We're getting a little deeper there, but we would like Kirifi back. He can be a guy that helps us, but we have to wait and see what his injury situation is. There will be some young guys that will probably compete there too."


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