10/14 Football Notebook

Rich Rodriguez met with the media on Tuesday to discuss the loss to USC, Casey Skowron, and more. Read on for the latest.

  • Looking back on the USC game, Rich Rodriguez pointed to the red zone struggles as one of the main reasons for the loss.

    "We didn't execute certainly in the red zone at times," Rodriguez said. "We got beat on a few things up front on both sides of the ball, but I thought our guys competed well and had opportunities.

    "They’re pretty talented and when you mess up some scoring opportunities and don’t put points on it, you are always trying to chase to get caught up and by the time we did it put a lot of pressure to make plays at the end and we didn't make them."

  • One of the more overlooked aspects of the loss is that Arizona was without offensive lineman Cayman Bundage, who may be Arizona's best run blocker.

    "Cayman has been one of our most consistent linemen and is probably the most aggressive guy we have," Rodriguez said. "When you have a starter out it’s not the ideal situation, but Lene and Jacob have played a lot and are considered starters anyway.

    "What it did was take away some depth. We played 111 snaps on offense. That might be an all-time high, but that’s a lot of snaps for the same five guys the entire game."

  • It seems that Anu Solomon has struggled with his accuracy, but a big part of that is the number of challenging throws the coaching staff has him make.

    "Our quarterback has to make a lot of awkward throws, so he is not in perfect balance with his feet underneath him and a typical quarterback stance," Rodriguez said. "He is throwing on the run, off his back foot, his front foot, but that is what we do.

    "It’s not uncommon for us to work on that, but sometimes it is harder to be accurate. At times he has been a little inaccurate, but for the most part he has been really accurate even on the tougher throws.

    "There were three or four instances where maybe to the person that didn't know the plays or the system would look back and say he is holding on to the ball when it was a complete bust by somebody else, a wide receiver or something like that, that makes the quarterback maybe not look good."

  • Arizona has a bye this week and it seems that Rodriguez and company would rather have a game this weekend.

    "I don’t like the bye week, because it makes it a long two weeks," Rodriguez said. "More than anything I wish we had a bye week two or three weeks from now before the last stretch of the season. Now we are going to play six straight, which is not the ideal situation."

  • With injuries to Terris Jones-Grigsby and Nick Wilson, Jared Baker found himself as the top running back on Saturday.

    "That was another lesson," Rodriguez said. "I told the team that yesterday. A week ago Jared Baker was number three and because of injuries all of a sudden he becomes number one. If you’re a second team guy, you’re one snap away and if you’re third team you’re two snaps away. Jared showed that and he made the most of his opportunity and played pretty well."

  • Casey Skowron missed would what have been the game-winning field goal against USC and took a ton of heat on social media after the game.

    "That’s disappointing," Rodriguez said. "Casey is our kicker, he has kicked well all year. This game wasn't his best certainly and the last one wasn’t his best kick. It’s never down to one thing. It’s crazy for somebody to take it overboard.

    "I’m glad people care, it’s better than apathy I guess. These are guys trying as hard as they can. Don’t be ridiculous about it. If you think you can do better and have college eligibility left and a good enough student to be at the U of A, please come out and we will try you out."


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