After Arizona’s 49-24 loss to Colorado on Saturday night, Rich Rodriguez was quick to criticize his team for the several uncharacteristic mistakes that occurred on both sides of the ball.
“It was the same silly mistakes,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve coached for a long time and I don’t think I’ve ever had 13 penalties for 143 yards. Some of them were good calls and some I have to watch the film.
“Those are killers. It’s hard for us to stop somebody, and we finally stop them to give them a first down on a penalty with some poor technique. You can’t do those things. You’re not a good football team when you do those things and you don’t give yourself a chance to beat anybody.”
Arizona continues to exemplify struggles on defense. The unit as a whole surrendered 213 passing yards and three touchdowns on the night as Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau had his best performance in five weeks.
Regardless of the unit’s performance on the field, Rodriguez feels the defense has progressed significantly and is confident that exceptions will be met over time.
“I always have to remind myself that everyone is learning it for the first time,” he said. “Even the seniors, so I have to be a little more patient. As the season went along, there were some bumps and bruises.
“Certainly we haven’t played great defense, but we’re trying hard and the coaches are working hard, so we’ll be fine there. When we get healthy and get recruits in, I feel confident in our staff.”
Brandon Dawkins struggled early on and was highly inconsistent throughout the night and that will likely result in a change at quarterback moving forward.
“It’s been a Brandon has run the ball well but he’s struggled,” Rodriguez said. “I think Anu went in there and did some good stuff. I may start him this week, but it’s better to watch the film first so I can truly judge his performance.”
Samajie Grant continues to be a pleasant surprise since making the switch to running. The senior finished with 113 yards and two touchdowns on the night and it couldn’t be more evident that he’s one of the few players still battling.
“He has really played well,” Rodriguez said. “There were a couple times when he bounced something and didn’t quite press a certain play. But for the most part, he’s a competitive guy and we need him right now
“He’s playing really hard. It’s a good thing. He’s the one tailback we have with a little bit of burst. He’s doing good things for us.”