9/29 Football Notebook

Rich Rodriguez met with the media on Monday to discuss facing Oregon, Anu Solomon going on the road, and more.

  • Surprisingly, Oregon has not had a 100-yard rusher this season. However, it is still one of the best rushing teams in the country because of a three-headed attack.

    "I think you are preparing for the system," Rich Rodriguez said. "All three are pretty similar. It’s not like they put one guy in when they are going to throw it or one guy in when they are going to run it, they are going to do all the stuff they do with all three of them. All three of them are really, really good and the only reason they haven’t gotten 100 yards is because they keep a constant rotation."

  • Rodriguez remembers Autzen being loud in his first visit, but the reason for Arizona's loss was because of much more than that.

    "When it is loud, I don’t really enjoy it unless it is home," Rodriguez said. "When they are loud on the road, it makes it more miserable. I think from a competitive standpoint it probably is fun to be in that environment. Everybody wants to play in a loud and intense environment and it will be that way.

    "It was loud. It was a couple years ago, so I watched a little bit of tape, not much of it, but I remember it was a lot of lost opportunities in the first half. We were in the red zone and didn't score and I knew at the time it was going to hurt us in the end and it just blew up in the second half for us. I thought we competed well, we just didn't execute at all in the first half and it cost us."

  • As far as the revenge angle goes, Rodriguez feels Oregon's motivation will go beyond that.

    "I think they will be that way just because there is so much at stake," he said. "It is a home game, Thursday night. I don’t think last year will be any extra motivation. I think sometimes that’s overplayed a little bit. It may be a little extra motivation in preparation, but I think once the ball is kicked off whatever happened last year is in the past."

  • Anu Solomon will be playing in the most hostile environment he has seen so far and Arizona is helping him to prepare for it.

    "How do you prepare for it?" Rodriguez said. "You just do the best you can as far as having him focused on the offense, execution, and what’s going on on the field. Communication is the biggest thing you have to prepare for, the noise. It was loud at San Antonio. It wasn’t a big crowd, but it was in a dome.

    "It will be louder and I think our veterans know that and Anu will know that too. We just have to make sure we do a great job of communicating. We can’t get caught up as coaches trying to change every play and trying to do a lot of verbalization because that will be hard to do."

  • Arizona's defense has not played well this season, but there is still a positive spot on that side of the ball.

    "They keep playing hard," Rodriguez said. "We’re not making a lot of big plays with turnovers and I think we need to get more pressure on the quarterback and we’re not getting as many three and outs, but they keep competing. That’s the one thing. Even if they give up a play, there are guys that are chasing the ball and playing hard, but we have to play hard and play well.

    "We have to be better in both phases and on special teams of course in executing certain techniques. It’s not that we’re unathletic, because we’re athletic enough to overcome some mistakes, but we’re not so athletic where we can be poor technique wise and be good. We have to be good technique wise as well."

  • The Wildcats' receivers are finally all healthy and it allows the coaching staff to be creative with its personnel.

    "The good part about our guys is that Coach Dews has done a good job of playing guys at multiple positions at receiver that we have enough flexibility that we can go big, we can go small, we can go mixed," Rodriguez said.

    "Most of those receivers, not all, but most, can play every position, so whether it is a matchup thing or a sequence of plays we want to call, we can move our receivers inside or outside and have a lot of flexibility with them."

  • Oregon's defense is a bit different from what Arizona will see most of the season and a good part of that is the ability that its corners have.

    "Like us, they are a little unique in how they approach things defensively with their front and secondary, but when you have corners like they do, especially a first-team All-American, they can be more aggressive," Rodriguez said.

    "They are going to put 14 (Ifo Ekpre-Olomu) on a guy to kind of just lock him down. That ties into what they do. They want to play fast, they are very similar to us philosophically even though there are some differences."

    What makes Ekpre-Olomu so special?

    "His ability to play the ball," Rodriguez said. "There are a lot of corners that can play man, but they don’t play the ball particularly well. He has a lot of interceptions because he plays the ball in the air well.

    "If you see all the games now a days in college, there are a lot of people just throwing it up and waiting for a receiver to make a play or for the flag to come out and those good corners are the ones that when the ball goes up they are making a play too."

  • Although Rodriguez may not be sure how Thursday will go, he does know that Solomon will learn from it.

    "I think in games like this one there will be a lot of learning experiences in there and in some of the games going forward," he said. "I don’t think he will get flustered, I would hope not, but I think he is going to learn a lot. Particularly in this environment when you are on the road and everything is loud and hostile, he is going to learn an awful lot."

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