Wildcats fighting through adversity

Rich Rodriguez believes the coaching staff and players will continue to fight through adversity.

Rich Rodriguez is hoping that there is a little extra motivation when Arizona heads to Los Angeles this weekend to face USC.

“I think it is a team with a brand name and playing in the Coliseum, it is a nationally televised game,” Rodriguez said.

“I haven’t looked it over, but probably 100 percent or close to that weren't recruited by them. Hopefully they have a little edge because of that. I would be disappointed severely if we didn’t give our best effort.”

If Arizona is going to beat USC, it is going to need a better performance from quarterback Anu Solomon.

“The last game was a little surprising,” Rodriguez said. “Sometimes athletes will press a little bit and try to do too much. We talked about some things about how to get in to a rhythm and making him more decisive. 

“Sometimes you can think too much and maybe we as coaches give him too many decisions to make and he can’t go out and execute well with that. 

“We’re going to work all week to get a package and run some of the plays that he doesn’t have to think as much and be decisive with.”

Defensively, Arizona will have to play considerably better than it did last week in a 49-3 loss at Washington.

“The biggest thing for us is recognizing things quickly, reacting to the play, and then making the play itself,” Rodriguez said. “Some of it is inexperience, some of it is just eyes in the wrong place. It has been a revolving door. 

“This is not to make an excuse. It starts with us as a staff to put them in a position to make plays, but when you have 24 or 25 different combinations and it changes week to week based on who is healthy and the scheme you are playing against, it’s a challenge.”

Unfortunately, there aren’t any signs of a healthier Arizona this weekend.

“Scooby and Turituri’s injuries are lingering,” he said. “Neither one of them look like they are going to be playing this week. We have three games left in the regular season and we will see where they are at this point next week.”

That will make it much more difficult to stop a USC team that has been making more of an effort to run the ball.

“I think they have done that more because they could,” Rodriguez said. “They are so big up front that they just swallow people up and do whatever they want offensively. 

“We struggle in the open field tackling and we have to do a better job of that and getting them down in a hurry.

“We’re not good enough to win a game without getting some turnovers. Sometimes turnovers are luck, sometimes by great plays. Either way we have to get them for a chance to win this game.”

Arizona has seen its fair share of adversity this season and Rodriguez challenged his team to respond.

“When adversity strikes, you fight, you flight, or you freeze,” he said. “The coaching staff is going to fight and I think our players are going to fight. 

“I don’t think anybody is going to flee from the problem and I hope nobody else freezes. That’s the tendency for a lot of people, to just sit there and do nothing.”

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