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8/31 Football Notebook

Rich Rodriguez discusses depth, playing indoors, and more.

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* Each season, Rich Rodriguez tries to get a general feel for the type of team he has before it plays its first game.

“I have been off many times, but my feeling for this team is they love to play and come to work,” Rodriguez said. “That’s not wavered. Now we’re close to the game and their enthusiasm is pretty high. Whether we’re ready to execute well, I would hope so., but I know they are ready to play a game.”

* Saturday’s game will be indoors, which presents a few unique challenges.

“The lighting is going to be different anytime you are indoors,” Rodriguez said. “That is going to be a little bit of an adjustment, particularly for the punt returners. It is going to be louder with the sound inside the stadium.”

* Arizona will honor Zach Hemmila in a few ways on Saturday.

“We’re going to have stickers on the helmets and patches on the coaches’ hats,” Rodriguez said. “There will be something for this game and maybe the first home game as well.”

* There still has not been a starting quarterback named, but Rodriguez is confident in both Anu Solomon and Brandon Dawkins.

“I like the way they competed,” he said, “They’re getting a lot of reps and running the whole offense. They have gotten better. That’s the biggest thing, they have gotten better. The true test is the game, but they’re better than they were three and a half weeks ago.

“I would rather two than none and I would rather have two than one. I’ve had two in the past. I’ve always had one. Maybe he didn’t play real well, but I’ve always had one. Most of the time I have had at least two I felt pretty good about.”

* Depth still remains a concern, but the general feeling is that Arizona will have to put in an effort to get more guys playing time.

“The tendency of course is that you’re going to play your top guys and play them all the time,” Rodriguez said. “We have to force ourselves to get guys ready to play not just because of injuries, but because of their development.

“We’ve been able to do that on special teams. Most of our special teams aren’t starters, they’re backups. We’ve got to get to where we are playing 20-22 guys on both sides.”

* Being the head coach, Rodriguez has input in all three phases. However, he also has confidence in his defensive coaching staff.

“I have 100 percent influence if I wanted,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t have to ask. I don’t make suggestions. I make decisions and sometimes there is a difference.

“That being said, I completely trust our defense and I won’t interfere too much with the normal rotation. Those guys know better than I do who they want in the rotation, but we will talk about it in the next couple days.”

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