Arizona will take on a familiar foe on Saturday when it heads to Reno to play Nevada.
"They're a really talented team and played hard,” Rich Rodriguez said. “Their coaches do a great job. We know their staff really well, in fact we partnered with them in some satellite summer camps this summer.
“We have a lot of similar philosophies and their kids play extremely hard. We've had a few tough games with them, last year and a few years ago in the bowl game, so we have a lot of respect for them.”
This Arizona team will look significantly different, as Haden Gregory will fill the spot that Scooby Wright has vacated due to a knee injury that will keep him out for a month.
"He's a big kid, pretty athletic,” Rodriguez said of Gregory. “It's hard to compare a guy with Scooby because he's one of the best defensive players in the country in my opinion.
“Haden came in, filled in, made some plays, and was pretty active, but again it was his first extended action. I think he'll get better from there and he's going to have to as well as the rest of the linebackers with Scooby and Cody out and some other guys banged up there is some opportunity for some other guys.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Anthony Fotu will also see his first action as a Wildcat after having to sit out the opener because of a suspension.
“He'll give us another guy who we can throw in there,” Rodriguez said. “He's not a starter, but he a guy that has some ability. We've done so much situational stuff anyway that we need more guys who can play in certain situations, gives us the right guys on the field.
“With Nevada and what they do, some of their stuff is similar to what we saw last week, which we struggled with and struggled with last year. We've got to get some things cleaned up defensively.”
It’s the same situation on offense, as Samajie Grant will be back from suspension as well.
"He's an experienced player,” Rodriguez said. “He's like Nate Phillips in that he can play all four positions. He can play inside, outside and he's an explosive guy. Samajie brings a certain energy too.
“He's so competitive that you know it was hurting him to sit out. That was the idea. I know having him come back and being able to have another guy that play all four positions -- thankfully Johnny Jackson filled in and played pretty well.
Johnny will continue to play more, but Samajie is a veteran like Nate, like Cayleb and like David. They can play all four and give us another play-maker out there.”
Offensive lineman Freddie Tagaloa is expected to be back after missing last game due to an injury, but Rodriguez is generally happy with how Lath Friekh was able to fill that role.
"I thought he played pretty well for his first time playing,” he said. “He competed, got beat a few times, but they all will on occasion. He battled in there.
“He's really worked hard, he's gotten bigger and he's a tough competitive guy and he got thrown in. We didn't know until kickoff whether Freddie could go or not. Layth stepped in there and held his own.
"It helped Layth with being able to do that. T.D. Gross has been banged up so hopefully he's healthy and can give us another guy in there.”