12/18 Football Notebook

Rich Rodriguez met with the media to discuss Jacob Alsadek's honor, the 2008 Fiesta Bowl, and more. Read on for the latest.

  • Earlier in the week, offensive lineman Jacob Alsadek was named to the USA Today Freshman All-American team.

    "Jacob made himself a player coming out of high school just because of his work ethic," Rich Rodriguez said. "He is a guy that would train above and beyond and I think that’s what he’s done.

    "He’s obviously learned our system, he’s a smart guy, but football is so important to him that all of the fundamental stuff that he did got him ready."

  • You can make an easy argument that Boise State running back Jay Ajayi will be one of the better players the Arizona defense has seen all season.

    "He’s a great player, one of the best in the country," Rodriguez said. "He runs hard, he’s fast, he’s physical. He has a lot of skill, one of the best there is.

    "He is comparable to Ka’Deem. I think he’s faster and also some of the guys in our league, some of the more physical guys in our league, he reminds me of those guys."

  • Steven Gurrola will have to miss the first half of the Fiesta Bowl due to suspension and Rodriguez gave some insight as to who could back up Carter Wood.

    "We give a lot of guys snaps at center," he said. "Zach Hemmila, Cayman Bundage, T.D. Gross, and I think even Lene Maiava has snapped at times. We rep a lot of guys there."

  • Tra'Mayne Bondurant has been through a lot this season and Rodriguez believes he may be playing better now than he has all year.

    "Tra’Mayne has a knack to make plays and I think that has been him throughout his whole career," Rodriguez said. "I think he is in better shape now than he was at the beginning of the season.

    "Football is really important to him and he's played like it. I think he is playing his best football right now. From a maturity and focus standpoint, this season it has been on an upward trend the whole year."

  • The only other Rodriguez coached team to make the Fiesta Bowl was West Virginia in 2008. However, Rodriguez took the Michigan job and never got to coach in the bowl game.

    "I remember I was in a hotel room in Ann Arbor in really cold weather," he said. "They played really, really well. I was compelled to watch, but it was hard to watch."

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