When Rich Rodriguez took the podium for Monday’s press conference, he wasn’t in any position to make excuses.
“There’s no excuse for that poor performance,” Rodriguez said. “You have to look at it and learn from it. There’s a lot of young guys that are playing that need to learn from it, and this coaching staff – we need to learn from it ourselves.”
When asked how the team will respond to the losses moving forward, Rodriguez is hopeful that it takes them personally.
“I don’t want them to take it well,” he said. “You’d hope that the competitors in them will be tired of getting their tail kicked. We’ll work that much harder in the weight room. It has to motivate them.
“It motivates the coaching staff, it motivates me, and it motivates everybody in the program. We need to recruit well, get some guys in here for depth and competition, and maybe even start. That’ll get the guys who are returning to play at a higher level.”
As the head coach, Rodriguez also needs to make sure that Arizona continues to believe in itself.
“I think so, whether they want to admit it or not,” Rodriguez said. “When you are playing all of those young freshman and sophomores in the secondary, I think you just have to teach them to battle and come back.
“We played against a veteran group that executed very well, and we didn’t. As a coaching staff, it’s our job to get them to play with confidence and put them in a position to make some plays. I don’t think we’re going to make wholesale changes scheme-wise and personnel-wise, but we are trying to evaluate what we’re doing.”
With Arizona unlikely to make a bowl game, there is still plenty of motivation for the Wildcats to do well.
“Just being a competitor, and enjoying the game,” Rodriguez said. “We have to try to get that good feeling back. Now we have to try to make someone else’s season bad, or at least put a dent in their season.
“That’s all you have to do. If you’re a competitor, you’ll play. You work hard all year for these opportunities. We’re going home Saturday night, hopefully we’ll get a good crowd, and we have to go play. We’ll have a chance to play a highly-ranked team, and maybe we can have a good night.”