Jason Scheer

10/12 Football Notebook: No margin for error

Rich Rodriguez discusses how there is no margin for error, defensive progress, and more.

* When Rich Rodriguez looks at the big picture defensively, he is happy with the way that side of the ball has progressed.

"If I look at it in totality, I think the progress is pretty good," Rodriguez said. "I keep forgetting it is the first year with them. In every game there’s been things we could do better and there are still a lot of things we could get better at.

"The effort is good, the intensity is good. I think the coaches have a good plan. I just think it is frustrating we haven’t gotten more turnovers or three and outs."

* Defensively, Rodriguez believes that there will be improvement.

"It wasn’t just in the defensive scheme, it was in recruiting, philosophical changes, and there was a lot involved," Rodriguez said of the coaching changes.

"You want immediate results and we’ve gotten them to some degree, it’s just that I know we’re going to be a whole lot better in the future too. Not just this year, but in the next couple years."

* Even when the defense plays well, Rodriguez acknowledges Arizona isn't good enough to play poorly.

"There’s not a lot of margin for error right now," he said. "I don’t know if there ever will be, but I think we will be able to sustain some of the bumps we’re getting right now.

"I think things even out unless you are so good like Alabama where you can overcome anything. That’s where we want to get to."

* Jace Whittaker played the best game of his career against Utah and Rodriguez is excited about his future.

"He is a real competitive guy," Rodriguez said. "He is playing well and he plays with confidence. He is really going to keep getting better once he gets another year in the weight room and all that. I really like what I’m saying."

* Khalil Tate won't come close to knowing the entire playbook this season, but he has enough to win with.

"I would say he is as ready as you would hope for a 17-year old true freshman," Rodriguez said. "Our goal is to get him ready every week. Now that we know he is going to play every week and be a factor the rest of the season, we have to be careful not to forget he is a freshman."

* It's never easy to deal with losing and it tends to greatly impact Rodriguez.

"It just grates at you," he said. "You don’t eat well, you don’t sleep well. You say as the years come on you handle the losses better. I would like to say yeah, but you know. This eats away at you. It’s like tiny bites.

"You can lose confidence in a hurry, but you have to believe in what you’re doing. It’s harder right after the game because a losing locker room is the worst thing. After you watch the film, a lot of time after a loss it is frustrating but you don’t feel as bad because you see things you are closer to and can get turned around."

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