8/25 Football Notebook

Rich Rodriguez had his weekly press conference on Monday. Read on to see what he says about Anu Solomon, injuries, and much more.

  • Many thought that Rich Rodriguez would wait a few days before naming a starter, but he got it over with early on in Monday's press conference.

    Anu Solomon will be the starter Friday night," Rodriguez said. "That doesn’t mean that he plays the whole game and that he will be the starter the rest of the season, but I also don’t want any quarterback to ever go in thinking as soon as I make a mistake I’m coming out.

    "That’s not going to be the case either, but I thought he deserved the right to start the first game. I’m confident that Anu will play well and he will be the starter as long as he plays well and we win.

    "The coaches, and myself particularly, felt that he was playing the best out of all four quarterbacks. I think he’s got a good feel for the game and I want to make it clear it’s not like he did this thing and these other guys didn’t. I think he did more things better on a consistent basis for him to start.”

  • Throughout camp, Solomon did a good job of not letting the pressure get to him.

    "I just think it is his personal makeup," Rodriguez said. "He started high school four years, won four state championships. He was probably mature beyond his years then and I think he has a passion for the game.

    "He loves football and I think he sees the opportunities in front of him now. I’m glad he doesn't get rattled. Maybe I could and he didn’t let on, but we put pressure on all those guys. I think Coach Smith did a good job of getting these guys a lot of reps and having a good rotation.

    "Now with a few days left before we’re playing, 12 will take all the reps with the first group for the rest of the week and the other guys we are going to continue repping because I think they can continue to play as well."

  • Despite Solomon being named the starter, there is a possibility other quarterbacks will see reps as well.

    "Each one of them has certain skill sets and they are more similar than they are different, but there are certain plays that some of the guys are either more comfortable with or run better than others," Rodriguez said.

    "For all four of those guys, we will have certain plays kind of earmarked or know in our mind that this is a play that he runs really well and we have enough in our offense to be able to do that."

  • Austin Hill is expected to be at full strength for Friday's game.

    "It’s good to have Austin back simply because he is a veteran guy and I think he’s hungry to be back," Rodriguez said. "He could play all four receiver positions, has great hands, got a feel for the game, and I think he is even better in game time. He’s one of those guys that is pretty good in practice, but he is better when the lights go on."

  • One player that has come a long way from last season is offensive lineman Jacob Alsadek, who will start against UNLV.

    “We like to call him a self-made man," Rodriguez said. "From a football player’s stand point, I can remember when we were recruiting him he wasn’t a highly recruited guy.

    "We watched his film of course, but then he sent us workout film of him going through ropes and bags and individual workouts and you could just tell this guy loves football. The reason he is listed as the starter is because he has worked so hard.

    "He is one of those guys that will do a little extra in the summer, be in the weight room a little bit longer. Football is really, really important to Jacob Alsadek and I think that is why he will be starting."

  • Casey Skowron has a strong hold on the starting kicker spot and Rodriguez says it is because of how he has performed as of late.

    "He’s been the most consistent," Rodriguez said. "I think all of them were a little off at the beginning of camp and that’s to be expected because it had a live rush and a snap and hold and getting that all down.

    "Casey the last week and a half has kicked really, really well, as good as we could have possibly hoped. He has a strong leg and he is a tough competitor."

  • Arizona should be relatively healthy for the season opener and Rodriguez gave a brief update on the overall health of the Wildcats.

    "We didn’t hit nearly as much like everybody else in the country," he said. "We had a few days where we went live and when we had our full padded practices there were brief moments where it was intense, but not nearly what it used to be just because you can’t afford to get anybody hurt.

    "Reggie Gilbert has missed a lot of camp and hasn’t practiced a whole lot. We are hoping he will practice this week and a couple other guys, but so far we are pretty healthy."

  • Some teams choose to have the same captains for the entire season, but Rodriguez likes to go in a different direction.

    "I have always had it that way because if you have 19 seniors, I would rather have 19 leaders instead of two or four," he said. "One way I have done it in the past is I have had two permanent captains and then two game captains added onto it, but I kind of like having the game captains.

    "What if you pick a captain before the season starts and he turns out not to be a good leader? What do you do then? I would anther those guys think about good leadership throughout the entire season and frankly if every senior does what they are supposed to do, they can put on their resume they were a captain at the University of Arizona and I think that is pretty neat."

  • When discussing UNLV, Rodriguez is quick to mention the players it has added.

    "I remember looking at them in warmups last year and saying ‘Holy cow, these guys are huge,' he said. "They got quite a few transfers and one of them is Josh Shirley. e was one of the better pass rushers in the Pac-12 when he was at Washington.

    "They’ve gotten some help and I think they played well at the end of the year. They got their confidence up and we are going to get a pretty good effort from UNLV Friday night."


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