10/27 Football Notebook

Rich Rodriguez held his weekly press conference on Monday. Read on for his thoughts on UCLA, having more depth moving forward, and more.

  • When discussing the win over Washington State, Rich Rodriguez was quick to point to how happy he was with the overall mentality going into the game.

    "I thought we got contributions from all three phases at different times during the Washington State game and I thought our focus was pretty good," Rodriguez said. "I don’t think anybody really relaxed until the last minute or two in the game, but the way we came out in the first quarter and the way we came out in the third quarter I thought showed our guys were mentally into it and focused"

  • Attention now turns to UCLA and Rodriguez believes that Arizona needs to have a strong week of practice if it is going to be able to win.

    "UCLA is a team that many people picked to win the league and many people thought would be in the final four," he said. "They are having a good year.

    "They’ve lost a couple close ones, but to be able to beat them on a Saturday night in that arena against talented players, we’re going to have to play really well and have a great week of preparation. We can’t wake up Saturday and say we’re going to beat UCLA today."

  • Under Rodriguez, the Wildcats have been able to have consistent success on the road.

    "I think it usually stems from our guys wanting to embrace adversity and loving playing the game," Rodriguez said. "Obviously at home you get a little boost from your crowd and adrenaline gets pumped up there, but I think a lot of times when you are on the road and it is just your guys and there’s not anybody else around, they can take a little pride in themselves that they can handle anything that’s thrown at them

    "Last couple of years there’s been a couple of road games where we haven’t played really well, but I really think our guys have taken a business like approach and that has really helped.

    "We talk about how any time you get booed or say stuff to you, you should get a smile on your face instead of worrying, because at least they think you are important enough to boo you."

  • It was a bit of a surprise last season when the Bruins used Myles Jack as a running back and Arizona will have to prepare for something similar this week.

    "You have to be aware that they can throw out some wrinkles you haven’t seen," Rodriguez said. "That’s the hard part. You have to be fundamentally sound and if they do, like last year they had us on the fake punt, you have to be prepared for just about any scenario.

    "Sometimes that is difficult to do, particularly when you’re having new guys on special teams or inexperienced guys on special teams, but we have been able to handle some of that pretty well."

  • Anu Solomon played his best game of the season on Saturday and his success sometimes even surprises his head coach.

    "We call plays and approach it like he is a veteran," Rodriguez said. "We really have since we started in the first game. Sometimes I sit back and remember that this is the first time this has happened to him in a game or this is the first situation he has seen like this in a game.

    "You try to cover everything in August and hope that he is prepared for it, but inevitably there are going to be times in a game when a coverage or a defense or a situation that is a little bit new. His demeanor and his ability to understand a moment has been really good."

  • UCLA's two conference losses may come as a surprise to some, but it shouldn't change any motivation for this Saturday.

    "I think regardless of what happened before the season they are going to play really hard against us," Rodriguez said. "I think the expectations were probably so high that it’s hard to meet those expectations unless you blow everybody out and I don’t think anybody is going to do that in college football this year.

    "There’s too much parity, too many good teams, too many good quarterbacks to expect somebody to run the table and win by 20 or 25 every game."

  • Anthony Lopez was one player that played more than usual because of injuries and Rodriguez addressed the current depth overall.

    "Lopez knows what we’re doing and I thought he did a nice job," Rodriguez said. "We try to rep our ones and twos equally for a situation just like that and I thought he went in there and made a couple of big plays as far as understanding.

    "We did miss Tra’Mayne and our depth was a concern going into the game and then when Jarvis McCall got out, Tra’Mayne Bondurant got hurt, and a couple of guys were banged up, it really got tested. That’s why we couldn’t relax until the end, because we knew those guys were going to be playing a lot of plays and spreading it out all over the field."

  • Antonio Smothers and Trevor Wood played more than they had all season and will likely see more playing time as the season progresses.

    "They gave us a little boost and we had to get them in there because we were rushing the passer so hard every play and that’s hard to do when you’re a 270-pound defensive lineman," Rodriguez said. "Trevor, we moved him back and forth, but for the rest of the season he is going to stay on the defensive line.

    "Smothers is a guy kind of Scooby and Turituri as a linebacker that we thought is a pretty good pass rusher, so he got a little burst there. Going against the teams we are going up against the next few weeks, we have to rep those guys."

  • Not only will Southern California be a focus this week because of the UCLA game, but the coaching staff will likely do some recruiting as well.

    "All of California is a primary area for us, particularly Southern California," Rodriguez said. "We may not get all the best players, but we have to get our fair share of them.

    "In order for us to win a championship, we’ve got to have contributions from guys in Southern California and all the different areas of L.A., the Inland Empire and everywhere else.

    "Our coaches have that area covered, but we also have to rely on some high school coaches and other people in the area to let us know who to recruit because it is critical we get some of those guys here to visit us."

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