8/14 Football Notebook

Rich Rodriguez met with the media after Thursday's practice. Read on to see what he has to say about the hardest position to play, quarterback competition, and more.

  • Arizona did not practice well on Wednesday and Rich Rodriguez let his team know.

    "Normally when I’m really mad like yesterday’s practice, by the next day, I feel better about it, but today I was still ticked,” Rodriguez said. “It wasn’t the whole practice, it was just a couple of parts of it.

    "But they have to work through it. I wanted today to be hard with hot weather and see who will push through it and who would fold under a little bit of pressure. I think they’ll respond.”

  • Rich Rodriguez continues to test the quarterback in different ways and Thursday included situational play.

    "We’re putting the quarterbacks in a lot of different situations," Rodriguez said. "End of game, end if half, down by three, down by two, just to make them think. So much of the game is situational stuff that I want them to be able to handle all that and then run the play."

  • The quarterback competition continues to be close, but Rodriguez will likely narrow it down soon.

    "I thought B.J. (Denker) was clearly ahead, but he had not really done enough to prove that he could be the guy," Rodriguez said. "Right now it is truly tighter. One day you think one guy is going to separate or two guys will separate, and then it does not happen that way.

    "As long as they are getting better, making steps. We have another week of work to see who we feel we can win with. It’s down to four guys.

    "We can’t rep four guys game week, but we can rep four if there are limited packages for a couple guys. In other words, he just runs those eight different plays, then we can give him those eight plays and move on."

  • Steven Gurrola has emerged as one of Arizona's best players and a lot of that has to do with his attitude.

    "He’s one that loves football and likes the physical part of it," Rodriguez said. "I hope he can rub off on the other guys because he loves to play and it’s contagious. He is a good guy and fun to be around.

    "He is the kind of guy that comes in the office when he doesn’t have to just to pop in and say hello. I wish we had him more than two years, but he has made the most out of those two years."

  • They might not be involved in the current quarterback race, but Rodriguez has been pleased with his two freshmen signal callers.

    “I like Brandon," Rodriguez said. "I like Zach Werlinger, too. The two freshmen we have are really smart, really conscientious; they’re both going to be really good players.

    "I like what I’ve seen so far. We’re still giving rookies 10-15 minutes of team-work every day. Those two have shown a good bit to me so far.”

  • When asked what the toughest positions for a freshman are, Rodriguez was quick to answer.

    "Quarterback and offensive line and it isn’t even close," he said. "The o-line both physically and mentally, quarterback mentally. We’re probably going to have a couple freshmen be on our two deep on the o-line, but that’s where we are at."

    One lineman that has a chance to play early is Layth Friekh.

    "Layth has a chance to do that," Rodriguez said. "It’s a little bit scary, but I think our schemes are pretty simple and Coach M will do a good job of coaching them up."
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