11/17 Football Notebook

In Monday's presser, Rich Rodriguez discussed Utah, playing in the cold and much more. Read on for that and all of the latest.

  • When watching the film of the Washington game, Rich Rodriguez felt that he once again saw the Wildcats pressing too much.

    "We didn't execute at times and there were mistakes that we made offensively that we hadn’t made all year," Rodriguez said. "A little bit because, similar to a few weeks ago at UCLA, our guys were pressing a little bit.

    "When things don’t go well sometimes you have a tendency to say I have to go make a play and you get out of the framework of the offense and I think that was the case at times. Defensively I think sometimes a guy tried to make a play and tried to stop their momentum and they got outside the framework of the defense."

  • In addition, Rodriguez felt the need to call a meeting with Anu Solomon and his wide receivers.

    "We had a really stern quarterback, receiver meeting I did yesterday where it wasn’t really enjoyable for them or for me," he said. "I told them my expectations are so much higher for them than anybody else’s for them anyway, that we owe it to each other to be as sound, as efficient, and as clean as far as doing your assignments as possible. We didn’t have a whole lot of busts, but we had enough at key times that it could have cost us the game."

  • For the second week in a row, Arizona will be going up against one of the best defensive fronts in the country.

    "They’re probably getting a lot of pressure from a lot of different guys and they roll a lot of players in there," Rodriguez said. "They are very athletic, particularly at end. They are able to get pressure with just a four man rush and they are a big, physical team.

    "They have really held their own against everybody defensively. They do a great job, their coaching staff does a great job, and with the elements and everything else we’re coming into, it may be the biggest challenge we’ve had all year."

  • Rodriguez did not have many unique suggestions when asked how the Wildcats could prepare for Saturday's weather.

    "You tell me, I’m all ears," he said. "Even for rain. If you look at the ten day forecast in Tucson, it is zero percent chance of rain.

    "We’ll put wet balls out there and have buckets of balls, but you still can’t simulate rain and combining the cold with it, we’re just going to tell our players. I’m not going to hide it from them, they know anyway. They have to be tough mentally and physically and that includes as soon as we get off the bus."

  • Arizona did not play well on Washington and Rodriguez has consistently said that the Wildcats are not good enough to play poorly and win. However, Rodriguez feels Arizona was still able to come out with a victory because of its lack of mistakes.

    "We didn't play well at times, but we played clean," he said. "I can remember in the first half we had zero penalties and zero turnovers.

    "We were losing the game, but were still in it because we played cleanly. If we had a bunch of penalties, turnovers, negative yard plays, we would have been so far down we probably couldn’t have come back."

  • Rodriguez has had mixed results with transfers this season and it appears that the overall approach is not changing any time soon.

    "I think our philosophy stays the same," Rodriguez said. "If it's a guy that is not only going to help your program, but is the right fit personality wise. Sometimes you don’t know their true personality until they get into your program, but as I have said before, they have to adapt to us, not us to them.

    "We tell them that. When you come in, whatever personality you have is fine, but you’re going to have to adapt to the way we do things, the way we coach, the way our players interact, and all the guys we have had have been able to do that."

  • Davonte' Neal has struggled at times this season, but Rodriguez is quick to remind people that this is his first true year in the system.

    "He’s a first year player in the system like Cayleb Jones," Rodriguez said. "Even though they are transfers and a little bit older, they are still a freshmen in our system. I think he has done pretty well and he has learned multiple positions.

    "He has made some big plays for us and he is going to continue to make them, so I am proud of the way he and Cayleb integrated themselves last year when they were sitting out and who they played as first year players in the system. The exciting part is that I think he will continue to keep getting better."

  • Utah's special teams are considered to be one of the best units in the country and will likely play a big factor on Saturday.

    "They have two of the best in the country in their punter and kicker," Rodriguez said. "You add who might be the best return guy in the country as well, that has been a big difference for them.

    "They have been good in all three phases, but their special teams have been maybe the most explosive in the country. It is going to be a big factor. Particularly, the worse the weather is, the more important special teams play come into effect."

  • Much has been made about Chris Peterson's chart that he used at the end of the Arizona game and Rodriguez says he has something similar.

    "We have a chart that defines how many seconds you can run off if a team has one timeout, two timeout, or three timeouts left or if he just got the first down after a change of possession or what have you," Rodriguez said.

    "I have been doing this long enough where I pretty much have it memorized anyway, but with the situation where the clock was with one timeout, if we would have been able to stop them, we would have still been able to get the ball back with limited time left on the clock. We had to make a play in a hurry and that is why the strip and recovering the ball was so important."

  • Anu Solomon has been battling an injured ankle, although it has not been getting much attention.

    "It’s probably been hurting him more than he has let on," Rodriguez said. "He’s been getting treatment and hasn’t missed a practice and has been running around okay, but probably wasn’t 100 percent and probably hurt a little more than he let us know.

    "In fact, I asked him and he told me during the game when we ran a quarterback draw. He said ‘Coach, my ankle is bothering me a little bit’ and I’m like ‘Well, are you okay?’ He didn’t want to come out, but I don’t think he was 100 percent. That being said, every week unless he gets banged up, he will be a little healthier this week.

    "We’re not going to call a lot of designed quarterback runs with him anyway, but a lot of our stuff involves him throwing on the run and throwing on the move. Sometimes when you are getting chased by big, mean guys you can run a little bit faster and so he was running pretty fast when he was getting chased, so he will be alright."

  • Devontae Booker is one of the best running backs in the conference and Arizona is well aware of what he can do.

    "Fast, explosive guy," Rodriguez said. "He gives them a little bit of an extra dimension as far as a guy that can break a long run and we’ve given up some long runs, which is a concern for us.

    "We have to make sure we are filling the right gaps because the scheme they run and speed that Booker has, you give him a little crease like we have given last week or the last couple of weeks, it’s going to be trouble."

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