USA Today

Football Notebook: Rodriguez staying positive

Rich Rodriguez discusses his optimism, special teams, and more.

* Even though Arizona is struggling this season, Rich Rodriguez is remaining positive for a few reasons

“Their attentiveness and promptness,” Rodriguez said. “We have meetings and things scheduled and everybody is always early. 

“That’s what you would expect, but this team especially is really cognizant of not wasting time. This team works. That’s why we are pretty confident we will get better.”

* The offense has struggled at times this season and much of that has to of with consistency.

“There are times we really execute well and our eyes are in the right spot, we’re making the right decisions and running the right routes,” Rodriguez said.

“On offense if you have one guy screw up it could mess the whole play up. That’s what’s been happening several times, it’s been one or two guys. Being more consistent and having 11 guys do their job.”

* Rodriguez does not believe the players have struggled with difference quarterbacks, but does agree that the offense is varied based on who the signal caller is.

“The continuity of what we’re doing offensively has been affected because you don’t call the same plays with a veteran quarterback vs. a guy that’s not a veteran or a guy that’s more mobile than someone else, so you do affect some of your play calling,” he said.

“Then at running back the same thing is true. If the guy doesn’t have a lot of experience you’re probably not going to involve him in a lot of pass protection.”

* Trey Griffey has had success with 50/50 balls and has made his ability to go up and get it one of his strengths. 

“He’s an athlete, but I think his biggest attribute is he is a very competitive guy,” Rodriguez said. “He doesn’t talk a lot and all that, but in a game he competes. 

“Particularly in one on one situations, he relishes those challenges. He’s going to get challenged by a couple of the best ones in the country this weekend.”

* Adoree Jackson is one of the best returners in the nation and Arizona will have to be careful when kicking or punting.

“You don’t want to have him get too many opportunities,” Rodriguez said. “Sometimes it is inevitable, but hopefully it is far and few between. 

“He is a guy that you give him a little space or a low line drive kick to him with not a lot of hang time, he can hurt you. We have to make sure we get a lot of hang time if we’re going to kick it deep.”

* Josh Pollack has struggled with his punting as of late, but Arizona will certainly need his on Saturday.

“If we’re going to kick it deep and high, we have to kick it deep and high,” Rodriguez said. “If we’re going to roll punt it, then we need to get it on the ground. 

“Josh knows that and it’s not an easy thing to do, but we can’t kick line drives. That’s one thing we have done a little bit of, but we’re working on it.”

* Injuries can often shuffle a depth chart and it’s also possible for an injured player to lose his job.

“People say you don’t lose your job when you get injured, but it depends on how well the guy played when he got in there,” Rodriguez said. “When you come back, evaluations aren’t just on game day. 

“We tell our guys they have to compete every day, particularly on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursdays and Fridays don’t really count. If guys get hurt and they come back and are playing better than the other guys, they will start.”

Wildcat Authority Top Stories