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Rich Rodriguez Presser Notes

Rich Rodriguez met with the media for a press conference on Monday and had plenty to say.

* Arizona missed too many tackles against Grambling State on Thursday, but Rich Rodriguez does not want his defense to become hesitant now.

"You have a tendency if you miss a tackle to become more tentative and not be as aggressive," Rodriguez said. "You kind of play passively and we don’t want to do that at all. I hate playing passively. You have to see the ball, get the ball.

"More than anything else, you have to play with confidence. Once your confidence gets shaken, sometimes it is hard to get back. We try to get our guys to play with confidence and trust their eyes."

* After watching the film, Rodriguez believes Brandon Dawkins' first start was an inconsistent one.

"It was uneven," he said. "I thought he competed very well and made some plays with his feet, created some things. He probably missed some things he would like to have back, there were a couple throws. More than anything we have to get his eyes right.

"A lot of times it was good, his decisions were good, and other times his eyes were not in the right spot and his decisions were not as good. Typically for a quarterback without a lot of experience, that could be an issue. He has been in the program long enough and he understands what we have to do to get better.

"I think he calmed down a little bit and became more accurate. Brandon has a lot of skills and he’s got some experience in the offense. The more he plays the better he will get. We will find out more about Anu later in the week, but we have two guys that have experience now and I think both will learn from the first two games."

* Rodriguez will call the Pac-12 offices this week for clarification on Cody Ippolito's ejection and the penalties for calling out the offensive cadence.

"I’m going to call and at least see the interpretation," he said. "We got two penalties and they were bang bang. I understand the safety of the players, but my personal feelings is that there was no intent to launch or injure or anything like that. I know what the rule says, targeting is targeting and you’re out of the game and the first half of the next game. That’s a pretty severe penalty for something you’re not sure about. I’m not overly optimistic we will get anything changed.

"I understand the rule is the offense has the right to say a cadence. On defense you can’t simulate that. We have some calls on defense that makes our guys move into position. The interpretation I got was that it was making them jump offside. When they re already to snap the ball, you have to let them say go.

"My question was simply, well how do you know when they are going to snap the ball? If they are sitting over the ball for 15 or 20 seconds or no huddle, do you have to sit there and ask when are you going to snap it, because I would like to make my call? What is the time you’re allowed to make your defensive call?"

* There were numerous instant replays on Saturday and Rodriguez does not have an issue with them for the most part.

"I feel more for the people that are watching the game," he said. "You want to get the call right, which is why I think instant replay is terrific. It seemed like there were a couple that were abnormally long. To me, if a call is made a certain way and it is taking 5,6, or 7 minutes to review it, it’s not indisputable, so you keep the call as it is. I get frustrated by that only because I know our players want to play and our fans want to watch the game."

* One of the more frustrating aspects of Arizona's performance was the lack of execution on fourth down.

"I would have liked to have better calls and better execution," Rodriguez said. "It was really bad. You should be 80 percent. Fourth and ones you should be 90 percent. That was really disappointing all the way around. If you go under center and don’t execute, you still get stopped."

* On Monday, Rodriguez revealed he has a friendship with former Arizona coach Dick Tomey.

"Dick is back in Tucson," Rodriguez said. "He was just at practice the other day and we talk about every week. He is the winningest coach in school history at both Hawaii and Arizona. He’s a great coach and even better person. He has won a lot of games and been in this profession a really long time. He’s a really, really good friend, so it is good to have him here close by."

* For the second game in a row, Arizona struggled with a slow start and it has left the coaching staff looking for answers.

"We have to try to do something to get us in a rhythm offensively where we get some first downs and get some confidence," Rodriguez said. "Once you get in a rhythm offensively and some momentum, it is easy to take off from there.

"We haven’t done that in the first two halves in a row in the game. We have to try to do that and come up with some play calls we think are easy, which we thought we had in the last game, and simply execute better."


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