The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

90° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Football Notes: Wildcats prep for cold weather


Arizona kicker Casey Skowron (41) scores an 18-yard touchdown in the second quarter during Arizona’s 27-26 win against Washington at Arizona Stadium on Saturday. Skowron and Arizona football are preparing to face possibly extreme weather conditions against Utah on Saturday.

Arizona football head coach Rich Rodriguez remembers the coldest game he ever coached: a West Virginia-Pitt contest in the mid-2000s where the impossible happened.

The rubber pellets in turf that were not supposed to freeze froze, as did the Gatorade drinks on the sideline.

“Thank god we won, or I wouldn’t even talk about it,” Rodriguez said.

The No. 15 Wildcats (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12 Conference) travel to No. 20 Utah (7-3, 4-3) to face a cold players from Arizona aren’t used to.

As of Monday afternoon, the weather forecast for Salt Lake City, Utah, for Saturday is a high of 38, a low of 23, 13 mph wind and a 90 percent chance of rain.

Rodriguez said he was open to any suggestions for how to deal with the snow or even rain.

“We’ll put wet balls out there and have buckets of balls, and you still can’t simulate rain,” Rodriguez said. “To combine the cold with it, we’re just going to tell our players, I’m not going to hide it from them, they know it anyway. They got to be tough mentally and physically.”

When safety Will Parks, who is from Philadelphia, was asked what he is telling teammates about dealing with the cold, he made a joke.

“I just told them, go out there with no sleeves, look real tough and everything will be fine,” Parks said.

Parks said the key to dealing with the cold is to keep running and moving.

“Just go out there and don’t think it’s cold, think it’s Arizona, you know?” Parks said. “It should be fine.”

Kicker Casey Skowron  of Phoenix said getting used to the conditions and a frozen or wet ball will be tough.

“It’s going to be tough; I’ve never played in the snow before,” Skowron said. “It’s going to be really cold. I just have to be ready to keep my feet warm and keep the rest of my body warm and get ready to go out there and perform.”

Last week, ASU, No. 6 in the College Football Playoff rankings, lost 35-27 in the cold of Oregon State.

“I was pretty in tune to the game,” Rodriguez said. “Again, we’re talking about the Pac-12, playing on the road, in a cold environment against a team that’s got some talent, and that’s what’s going to happen in our league.”

Solomon’s struggles

Quarterback Anu Solomon had arguably the worst game of his career in Saturday’s 27-26 win over Washington, going 17-for-39 for 242 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.

Solomon has been limited by an ankle injury.

“It’s probably been hurting him more than he’s let on,” Rodriguez said. “He’s been getting treatment, and he hasn’t missed a practice; he’s been running around OK, but he’s probably not 100 percent.”

Rodriguez said hopefully Solomon will get healthier this week, and other than calling less designed quarterback runs, it hasn’t affect their play calling.

“Sometimes when you’re being chased by big, mean guys, you can run a little bit faster,” Rodriguez said. “He was running pretty fast when he was getting chased at times, so he’ll be all right.”

Everybody loves Casey

On Monday, the Pac-12 named Casey Skowron Pac-12 Player of the Week.

Skowron kicked the 47-yard game-winning field goal as time expired on Saturday. Skowron scored 15 of the UA’s 27 points. He ran for an 18-yard touchdown on a fake field goal, kicked two three-pointers and made three extra points.

On his touchdown run, Skowron had the option to run.

“I was hoping we wouldn’t have to throw it,” Rodriguez said. “Casey might tell you he can throw it really well, but I’ve seen him throw a little. He’s OK, but he’s not a thrower: He’s a runner.”

When asked to assess his throwing abilities, Skowron said compared to Solomon, he’s about a two, but compared to an average kicker, about a seven.

Florida not interested in Rich Rod

ESPN reported Monday that Rodriguez and Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen will not be considered for the Florida head coaching job.

On Sunday, Florida fired head coach Will Muschamp. He had been on the hot seat for much of the season and Rodriguez, who is from the East Coast, was long considered a candidate to replace him.

Follow James Kelley on Twitter.

More to Discover
Activate Search