LINKS FROM DAY TWELVE (THURSDAY):
— Arizona senior Richard Morrison might be adding slash to his career (Anthony Gimino, TucsonCitizen.com)
— Arizona notes: Morrison back at receiver? (Steve Rivera, FoxSportsArizona.com)
— Arizona Wildcats football: News and notes from day 12 of fall camp (Daniel Berk, Arizona Daily Star)
— FoxSports.com writer Greg Couch was in Tucson recently to work on a piece about Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez. The article rehashed Rodriguez’s Michigan background, but it also mentioned that a Texas assistant traveled to Tucson during spring practice to learn about the UA’s spread offense. Peculiar given that two Texas players — quarterback Connor Brewer and receiver Cayleb Jones — have since transferred to the UA.
QUOTE TO NOTE:
“(Two weeks from the season opener is) too close for us. The thing is and I’ve said this for years is not having a preseason game and not really judging where you’re at is kinda difficult. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. The games mean so much and this is the only level that doesn’t have a scrimmage or a practice against someone else. It’s the only level of football that doesn’t have that. It seems kinda silly not to change that rule.” — Rodriguez, responding to a question from Rivera after today’s practice.
CONCERN: Rodriguez does not seem as loose as last year in his first season perhaps because more of his recruits are under his control (he is more apt to be critical). The quarterback position also is not taking shape judging from Rodriguez’s comments during fall camp. Matt Scott was a bridge for Rodriguez to get through fine in his first season. Rodriguez does not have that luxury this season. Redshirt freshman quarterback Javelle Allen, who was not mentioned much heading into fall camp, reportedly took snaps with the first-team unit today. Rodriguez was impressed with Louisiana Tech transfer Nick Isham last week. Leading candidates (supposedly) — B.J. Denker and Jesse Scroggins — seemingly have not distinguished themselves from the others. What about freshman Anu Solomon? Not much has been written about the standout freshman from Las Vegas. That’s because Solomon is off-limits to the media because he is a true freshman and Rodriguez must be careful with any praise or criticism of the youngster at this stage.
LOOKING GOOD: One of Arizona’s weaknesses on its defense last year — its linebacker crew because of its lack of depth — apparently is one of its strengths this time around. Rodriguez told the media today that he is impressed with the linebackers, including the younger players, such as Philip “Scooby” Wright, a freshman from Windsor, Calif. Rodriguez has liked Wright (6-1 and 225) for quite a while. The story goes that when Wright unofficially visited the UA’s campus last summer, he was greeted by the entire UA coaching staff at McKale Center. One of the 12 coaches yelled “Hey Scooby!” when the young linebacker got out of his car. “I thought our young group of linebackers were going to be able to help us and had to help us some this year but Scooby has some natural instincts,” Rodriguez said today. “I like all our young linebackers. Scooby has stood out in every practice.”
— Junior quarterback Jesse Scroggins (concussion) has practiced in most sessions but he’s missed a couple too.
— Sophomore defensive lineman Dan Pettinato (knee) will be out for a “few weeks”, according to Rodriguez.
— Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Beau Boyster (unspecified injury) could be out with a season-ending injury, according to Berk.
ANALYSIS: Rodriguez’s comment following Rivera’s question about the season being only two weeks away was very telling. The coach is concerned the UA will not be ready on Aug. 30 for the season-opener against NAU at Arizona Stadium. The NCAA should consider having scrimmages between two teams for five days of fall camp similar to what they do in the NFL. (Based in Las Vegas, I’d love to see UNLV and Arizona practice against each other either here or in Tucson). The NCAA could allow non-conference matchups from the same region to practice each other. The BCS schools should not be matched, but a BCS team scrimmaging against a mid-major (i.e. Arizona vs. UNLV, UTEP or New Mexico) would work. Why not? The NCAA can’t contend that it takes away from their school time because most schools are not in session during fall camp. A controlled scrimmage between two schools is a valid evaluation tool. Arizona needs that this season because of the uncertainty at a few positions, quarterback, wide receiver and safety chief among them.
WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes blogs for Lindy’s College Sports, TucsonCitizen.com and Sports Illustrated-sponsored site ZonaZealots.com.