Arizona Wildcats football travels to Phoenix for spring scrimmage
Rodriguez looks for more effort
Head football coach Rich Rodriguez has preached focus all spring long. Arizona’s second-year coach hasn’t been too satisfied with his team’s execution so far, though, but he puts a good amount of the blame on himself.
Friday the Wildcats will get a chance to work on what Rodriguez has been searching for in a game scenario as the team heads to Phoenix, Ariz., for its second full pad scrimmage of the spring at 7 p.m. at Phoenix College’s Hogan Field.
“The scrimmages are fun for the guys,” Rodriguez said. “We had 91 plays [in the first scrimmage]. We’ll probably go closer to 60 on Friday and hopefully have a little fun with the fans.”
Spring football is made up of 15 practices, three of which are days in shorts and three are full pad open scrimmages. The final practice is the spring game held Saturday, April 13 at Kindall Field in Sancet Stadium.
It’s a short amount of time for Rodriguez to get all he wants out of his team, but he said he expects the most out his guys, as that’s how he is trying to build the program.
“Execution, physicality, attention to detail, improvement and all of the above, “ Rodriguez said with a chuckle when asked what he wants to see out of his team Friday. “I’ve been too nice; I have no one to blame but myself. I’ve made it too easy to play football at Arizona and that’s not how we’re going to build a program.”
The Wildcats will be missing a number of key players in Friday’s scrimmage, which will be open to the public. Arizona has suffered countless injuries during the off-season, including quarterback Jesse Scroggins, linebacker Marquis Flowers and cornerbacks Shaquille Richardson and Jonathan McKnight.
The injured player will miss Friday’s scrimmage and not participate in what safety Tra’Mayne Bondurant said is the best part of spring football.
“We always look forward to [the scrimmages],” Bondurant said. “The scrimmages are full fledge hit each other. I mean we don’t get to do that a lot so when we get the chance do it we like to have fun with it.”
Players tend to dislike spring practice for all the conditioning and non-hitting it brings. The scrimmages, though, have a different atmosphere to what is considered a practice, especially when played in front of the public.
While Arizona can’t afford any more injuries, Rodriguez said he is hoping to see his team hit hard and play fast, treating the scrimmage like an actual game. The more realistic the Wildcats can make the scrimmage, the more excited Arizona and their fans will be for 2013 season.
Though the coaches can’t talk to recruits, the practice is also an opportunity for the Wildcats to sell their product to possible future recruits, especially with its location in Phoenix.
Following the scrimmage, Arizona will have four more practices over the next two weeks to prepare for the 2013 season.
“We have a bunch of guys out and we have had to yell at some of the stuff we shouldn’t have to,” Rodriguez said. “I know some coaches say that you shouldn’t coach effort and that it should be a given. But, until it’s engrained in our program, we will still continue to do that.”