It took two weeks for Rich Rodriguez to have his Arizona Wildcats ranked and he made sure to downplay the fact when asked about it on Monday.
“It’s kind of nice I guess,” Rodriguez said. “We didn’t talk much about us being ranked, but just staying glued to the process. Doing what we like to call keeping ‘the main thing the main thing’.”
Although Arizona defeated Oklahoma State and now has that top 25 rankings, Rodriguez believes that there is plenty of room for improvement.
“I thought we played pretty hard,” he said. “Offensively we were more aggressive, I think. We finished drives, which was good. Matt (Scott) was sharp most of the night but there were probably 10 to 12 plays that he’d like to have back and we’d like to have back.
“Defensively, we played pretty hard but we gave up a lot of points and a lot of yards, and we can play a lot better. We’re going to have to play a lot better. A couple guys played really well, and made some big defensive plays when we had to have them, but there are a couple guys who’ve got to play better going forward.”
The offense is among the top ten in the nation and Rodriguez says that he believed it would be successful as soon as he saw what Scott was capable of.
“When you have a quarterback that can throw as well as Matt (Scott), and has the skill-set that Matt has, it’ll always gives you a chance,” Rodriguez said. “I knew that after our first practices in the spring. Matt can make all the throws. I wish he had more than one year, because he’s still learning on the job, but he can make all the throws. He runs well, and he’s a competitive guy.”
Although the running game has put up decent numbers, it is often led to big runs instead of steady gains. So far, Rodriguez would like to see an improvement over what the running game has been so far.
“We’ve got to be able to run the football better,” he said. “I’ve been disappointed in some of our run game. We’ve got some really talented backs, particularly with Ka’Deem (Carey), but we’ve got to be able to run the football better. There’s another level we can get to offensively.”
In order to run the ball better, the offensive line must improve in opening up holes for the running backs.
“Besides blocking, we have to do a better job at opening up some holes,” Rodriguez said. “Some teams are doing a good job but they’re not wowing us to run. Oklahoma State was a big pressure team that brought a lot of blitzes.
“You don’t want to just pound your head against a wall, you want to throw when the numbers are right and run it when the numbers are right to run it. We don’t go in there thinking we have to have 200 yards passing, 300 yards running, we just go in there thinking what we have to do to win.”