Rodriguez turns attention to UCLA

Rodriguez turns attention to UCLA

Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez met with the media on Monday. Read on for his thoughts on the USC game, challenges UCLA poses, and much more.

Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez met with the media on Monday, just two days after the biggest win of his young career at Arizona.

"Watching the film, we were obviously pleased with the victory," Rodriguez said. "I didn't think we played particularly well in all three phases at times. (USC) certainly helped us out because they had some mistakes. It wasn't our cleanest performance and there are a lot of things we can get better at.

"Some of them were obvious and some of it we saw when we watched the film. Our guys were resilient. We made just enough plays to win it. Again, we got a couple of breaks from them. It was a good win. It gave us a little confidence, but I think our guys focus and understand we have to turn the page and after 24 hours that's pretty well understood now."

Now focus will turn to a UCLA team that should pose another major test due in large part to its dynamic offense, led by quarterback Brett Hundley.

"I remember when he (Hundley) came out of high school," Rodriguez said. "He is an Arizona native and people know about him. I knew this guy was going to have great success no matter where he went. They have a system that suits him well.

"They have a great running back, another athletic tight end and some skill players. They play with confidence. They've always been good athletes and players but now they're playing in a system they feel comfortable with and they're also playing with a lot of confidence."

In order for Arizona to come out of the Rose Bowl with a win on Saturday, Rodriguez knows that the defense will have to step up.

"Their offensive coordinator, I know pretty well, Noel Mazzone, he does a terrific job and always has been," Rodriguez said. "They'll spread you out and if you have weaknesses, they'll try to expose that. We have to be really sound defensively. We have to hope to get a couple breaks. On the flip side, we have to get first downs on the offense. We have to maintain as much control as we can with our offense."

Much of that defensive effectiveness will be based on whether or not Arizona can stop UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin.

"I think you need to get more than one person there," Rodriguez said. "That's the key for us. We've done okay at times with tackling and other times we haven't. We're not fast enough to not have multiple people there. We have to get guys down the blocks to get more than one person. Part of the design of their offense is to get open guys down the field, so that's a concern. We have to get them on the ground."

While Rodriguez can't predict how Saturday's game will go, he does know that the Wildcats have been resilient.

"I first saw it sometime in the spring," Rodriguez said of its resiliency. "We had a new coaching staff and were teaching a new system and just tested them a little bit mentally to see whether they would respond or go in a shell. We were hard on them about all the things you're supposed to teach and develop and to see how they react.

"I saw that early in the spring that these guys do want to get better and they're trying to take to the coaching and system. I saw that in the spring and see that now in the fall. You don't truly know what your guys are going to do until you start playing the game."

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