11/24 Football Notebook

Rich Rodriguez met with the media on Monday. Read on for his thoughts on Arizona State, the team's overall focus, and more.

  • Rich Rodriguez may have some concerns about Arizona State, but his team's focus is not one of them.

    "I have been proud of the way our guys have been focused," Rodriguez said. "This is an easy week to get our guys focused and excited to play because it is a rivalry game, there’s a lot of stake, it is at home and it’s 19 seniors’ last home game. I would be shocked if preparation isn’t at an all-time high.

    "From a coaching standpoint it is easy to get your guys focused and excited to play because it is a rivalry game and there is so much more at stake. I don’t worry about that as much.

    "We’re feeling a little rushed and I am sure they do too because it is an earlier game, but I’m fired up that it is Friday at 1:30 and we don’t have to wait until seven or eight at night to play. It’s going to be a great crowd and great atmosphere."

  • Rodriguez would not give much insight into Anu Solomon's injury, but does say that the offense will not change if Jesse Scroggins gets the call.

    "Our policy on injuries has always been the same and constant," Rodriguez said. "Anu has been banged up for several weeks now. He has tried to fight through it and if he can’t go, we’ll go with Jesse and Jerrard and Connor and the rest of the guys and try to get a couple of first downs.

    "Most teams will prepare for the system and the plays regardless of who the quarterback is. We’re certainly going to do the same thing. We’ll run our stuff, the same stuff we always have all year."

  • When looking at ASU, Rodriguez believes that the Sun Devils have numerous strengths.

    "Very athletic," he said of ASU. "Offensively they have most of their guys back, some real explosive players. They put a lot of pressure on you from a mental and physical standpoint.

    "You have to make sure you are very disciplined with your eyes and techniques. Defensively, they are extremely aggressive, probably the most aggressive team we have played all year from a blitz standpoint. You have to be sound assignment wise and make sure you recognize what they are doing."

  • Rodriguez has heard plenty from fans about the rivalry and understands the importance of defeating Arizona State.

    "I think it is kind of common and natural," he said. "It’s good that we have a rivalry, just about every team has a rival depending on where you are at and what the intensity is. This is a really good one because it is in state, in conference, in the same division.

    "I don’t mind our fans asking about it. Those that say if you only win one game and that you if you beat ASU it will be a good year, I don’t believe that at all either. Is it the most important game on our schedule? Sure, because it is the rivalry game and the rivalry games are always going to be the most important games when you see it with no records.

    "Now the fact that we both have had pretty good years and have even more at stake makes it have an added importance."

  • Arizona will honor 19 seniors on Friday and they have a special meaning to Rodriguez because of what they have gone through.

    "It’s a special group because it is 19 seniors playing in their last home game, but it is also a group that has been through a coaching transition from position coaches to head coaches to strength coaches," Rodriguez said.

    "There has been a lot of change in their careers here and they have handled it really well. I thought from day one when we first got here that one of the reasons we have been able to transition our program the way we have been able to the last couple of years has been because of the senior classes."

  • There will be some added drama with the significance of the Stanford-UCLA game going on at the same time as the Arizona game, but Rodriguez does not want any updates.

    "There will be no updates in Arizona Stadium other than U of A and ASU," he said. "You can get it on your iPad and computer and phone, but there will be no updates on our scoreboard and our ticker. Our focus better be all on ASU and I think it will be."

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