9/29 Football Notebook

Rich Rodriguez meets with the media for the last time before facing UCLA.

* Dane Cruikshank has put together a solid season so far and Rich Rodriguez spoke highly of his play.

“He is a big athlete, physical,” Rodriguez said. “Sometimes we forget that because he is an older guy that he does not have a lot of experience yet. He has been battling through a little bit of injury, but he is healthy now so we feel good about it.

“I think he is really comfortable. We challenge him a little bit to be more aggressive and I think he has been able to do that.”

* There has not been a more impressive player in Arizona’s secondary than Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles.

“I think he is more comfortable playing at this level,” Rodriguez said. “He does a great job in the weight room and is going to be bigger and stronger. He’s got a great future. We said that last year, but he is continuing to get better every day.”

* Rich Rodriguez has yet to beat Jim Mora, but both coaches believe there isn’t a lot to read into that.

“Anything they did last year is not going to get you a first down or stop them this year,” Rodriguez said. “Certainly from a confidence standpoint, you sometimes say you can beat them, but every team is a new team.

“Our guys know we have to play well to beat them. They are a very talented team and played better than us the last few years, but what happened last year is irrelevant.”

* Arizona’s third down defense is the worst in the Pac-12 and the Wildcats are desperate to fix it.

“That’s a concern,” Rodriguez said. “Part of the reason is that we need to get them into third and long situations. We definitely have to get off the field quicker because we are letting teams control the tempo too much.”

* Even though it is already the fourth game of the season, Arizona is continuing to learn on the defensive side of the ball.

“The biggest difference when you change scheme is that even though you have a little bit of time in spring practice and August camp, the game time is when you make game adjustments,” Rodriguez said.

“Guys that grow up in the system, it’s easier to do that with. Our guys are still learning, so it is a little harder to make adjustments.”

* As is seemingly always the case when Arizona heads to Los Angeles, recruiting once again came up on Wednesday.

“There are players everywhere, but from a recruiting standpoint I feel really good about where we are at,” Rodriguez said. “I am pretty excited what the next few years are going to look for us.

“Everybody has to be good recruiters, including me, and our coordinators have to be scheme guys as well. The other six guys have to be recruiting their tails off in order for our program to have success and I think they are doing that now.”


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