Arizona Wildcats football notes: Morrison to see time at QB during spring
With the departure of Nick Foles, the cupboard is close to bare for Arizona at the quarterback position. For the first time in his career, Rich Rodriguez is entering spring practices with just one scholarship quarterback in redshirt senior Matt Scott.
The limited depth at the position has led Rodriguez to be a little bit more cautious about letting Scott get tackled and hit in practice.
“Normally the first spring practice with quarterbacks I’ll let them get banged around a little bit because you learn how to throw the ball quicker when it’s live,” Rodriguez said. “He’s going to be more limited.”
Rodriguez said that Richard Morrison, a 6-foot-1 junior wide receiver, is going to take reps at the quarterback position to reduce the load on Scott. Last year, Morrison hauled in 22 receptions, 201 yards and two touchdowns. The Royce City, Texas native played quarterback in high school and threw 77 touchdowns.
Rich Rodriguez speaks during the press conference to officially announce his appointment to the head coach of UA football, on 22 Nov. 2011. Keith Hickman-Perfetti/ Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tyler D’Amore and Alex Cappellini, both walk-ons, will also get reps.
The Wildcats injury woes, especially on defense, were well-documented last season and a large factor in their 4-8 final record. Rodriguez gave an update on some of the players plagued by injury:
Linebacker Jake Fischer: “Jake Fischer is a full go. He’s worked so hard, without question (he) is going to be one of our leaders defensively and I can see why the coaching staff missed him so much last year. He’s a tough guy.”
Cornerback Jonathan McKnight: “(He) is on schedule, will be limited this spring. He’s doing most of the workouts though.”
Safety Adam Hall: “Adam is doing everything now, he had a foot issue but he’s doing everything.”
Offensive Linemen Mickey and Jack Baucus: “(They) are limited. Mickey had an issue with his back.”
Defensive Tackle Willie Mobley: “He’s limping around but he should be doing everything this spring.”
Rodriguez, Bonano like new kickoff rule
A few days ago, the NCAA announced that it is going to move the kickoff from the 30-yard-line to the 35 yard-line in order to keep players safer. Rodriguez approves of the decision, and not entirely for football reasons.
“Without question, the most dangerous play in football is the kickoff, and kickoff return,” Rodriguez said.
After having a few conversations with John Bonano, who will likely be Arizona’s kicker this season, Rodriguez learned that the strong-legged senior was pretty happy about the new rule.
“I told John (the rule) was coming down the pipe, then it passed last week I saw him and I said ‘John, the rule came in for the 35-yard line’ and he had a big smile on his face,” Rodriguez said. “I said, ‘So that means you’re going to kick every one through the end zone?’ and he said ‘I should be able to coach.’ I’ll take that every time.”