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Football Notes: Rich Rod wants to see improvement

Tyler+Baker+%2F+The+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0AArizona+beat+Nevada+35-28+September+13th%2C+2014%2C+at+The+University+of+Arizona+Football+Stadium
Tyler Baker
Tyler Baker / The Daily Wildcat Arizona beat Nevada 35-28 September 13th, 2014, at The University of Arizona Football Stadium

Arizona football is off to its third straight 3-0 start, but Arizona football head coach Rich Rodriguez is concerned.

Rodriguez said he was disappointed with the Wildcats’ kick returns, pass rush and lack of interceptions and forced fumbles.

“Two turnovers in three games, no fumbles caused,” Rodriguez said, “We can’t win games with those kind of numbers.”

Junior safety William Parks had an interception against UNLV and senior safety Jared Tevis had one at UTSA.

“We definitely got to get way better,” Parks said.

The secondary could get a boost as senior safety Tra’Mayne Bondurant plays more. He started training camp late after getting kicked off the team and having to work his way back onto it.

Rodriguez said Bondurant will probably play more this week, and that he also had to get in shape.

“Tra’Mayne’s worked hard in practice to get back into it,” Rodriguez said.

Bondurant had four interceptions last year and has made 36 starts in his Arizona career.

“He just knows where the ball is going to be at — at that specific time,” Parks said. “I’m glad he’s back, he’s coming back, starting to get into the rotation as well.”

Rodriguez joked that Arizona’s kick return has been the worst in college football history.

“I’m wondering if teams will even kick in the end zone,” Rodriguez said. “They might just kick it to like the 10 and pin us inside the 15, so we gotta get better at that.”

The Wildcats have fielded eight kick returns for 128 yards.

“I think it’s just a couple things we got to fix, it’s nothing major,” sophomore receiver Nate Phillips said. “I think it’s more we just got to clean up our blocking, and sooner or later, we’ll spring one.”

Running of the ‘Cats

After three weeks, the Wildcats are atop the Pac-12 Conference in rushing, despite losing their most productive runners from last season in Ka’Deem Carey and B.J. Denker.

True freshman running back Nick Wilson is second in the Pac-12 in rushing with 149.7 yards per game after three games of over 100-yards rushing each.

The Wildcats are second in the Pac-12 in rushing yards per game with 268.3.

“I think the competition we have at running back is keeping everybody on their toes,” Rodriguez said. “He’s done well as a freshman, but we have other guys, too.”

Senior Terris Jones-Grigsby rushed for over 100 yards in the season opener. Jones-Grigsby, who has missed the last two games after getting injured, is still listed atop the depth chart.

Parks said Wilson ran for a 40-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage in training camp.

“I call him Little Ka’Deem when I see him run out there,” Parks said. “It’s pretty awesome.”

Arizona is also No. 1 in the Pac-12 in total offense with 582.7 yards a game.

White Out

On Saturday, Arizona will adopt the look of “Star Wars” Stormtroopers.

The Wildcats will wear white helmets, white jerseys and white pants for the “white out.”

Denker, who is currently a student assistant coach, served as the model for the white out promotional materials.

The UofA Bookstore is selling white out T-shirts for $10, but ZonaZoo members will get them free at the game.

—Follow James Kelley @jameskelley520

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