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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Football Notes: Rich Rodriguez says team ready to move on

Rebecca Marie Sansett

Arizona sophomore linebacker Scooby Wright III (33) tackles UCLA redshirt junior quarterback Brett Hundley (17) during Arizona’s 17-7 loss to UCLA at the Rose Bowl. Wright III was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week for the second consecutive week.

Arizona football head coach Rich Rodriguez generally says he needs to watch the film after games to give assessments, but on Monday, he said the same thing he did on Saturday.

After No. 21 Arizona (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12 Conference) lost 17-7 to then-No. 25 UCLA on Saturday, Rodriguez said their execution was poor. On Monday, after watching the film, he said it again.

“It wasn’t a lot of fun for anybody to watch the film, but we watched it, identified our mistakes, had a good walk through last night and [will] move on to Colorado,” Rodriguez said. “I think our guys are very conscientious, and we’ll have a very good week of practice.”

Redshirt freshman quarterback Anu Solomon was 18-for-48 for 175 yards, a career low, through the air, with a touchdown and an interception.

“We didn’t take advantage of the opportunities we had when Anu was able to get the ball to us; we dropped a lot of passes as a receiving corps,” UA sophomore receiver Samajie Grant said.

Arizona averaged 40.6 points per game going into the matchup.

When asked if he wanted to see Solomon run more, Rodriguez said he scrambled pretty well on Saturday.

“I think he is elusive enough,” Rodriguez said. “He’s not going to win any foot races and outrun people, but he’s athletic enough to get some positive things, and I thought he picked his moments well.”

Arizona averaged 3.2 yards per play, its lowest average since the Wildcats averaged 2.1 per play in the 33-0 loss to Nebraska in the 2009 Holiday Bowl.

“We’re not good enough to play poorly and win, and we could play well and still not win,” Rodriguez said. “I think that’s life in the Pac-12. Eventually, I want to get to [the] point where we’re so good that we can have moments like we did Saturday and still pull out the win.”

Scooby snacks on more awards

Another week, another collection of accolades for sophomore linebacker Scooby Wright III.

On Monday, the Pac-12 announced that Wright III won Pac-12 Conference Defensive Player of the Week for the second week in a row.

“He’s been our most consistent player, period,” Rodriguez said.

Against UCLA, he had a career-high 19 tackles, 11 of which were solo, a career-high 4.5 tackles for loss and a career-high three sacks. The 19 tackles are the most for a Wildcat this century.

Wright III is one of 20 semifinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award for the most outstanding defensive player.

He is also one of 12 semifinalists for the Rotary Lombardi Award. Two other Pac-12 players are semifinalists.

The Rotary Lombardi Award is for down linemen and linebackers who line up within five yards of the line of scrimmage.

Wright III is the only FBS player in the top 20 in tackles, tackles for loss, sacks and forced fumbles. He is No. 1 in the nation in forced fumbles, with five.

On offense, sophomore receiver Cayleb Jones, for the week of Sept. 22, is the only other Wildcat to win Pac-12 Player of the Week this year.

Rich Rod: targeting calls on point

While UA fans were upset about the Pac-12 officials’ targeting calls on Saturday night, Rodriguez was not.

At UCLA, a Bruin knocked UA senior receiver Austin Hill out of the game, but Rodriguez said it was a clean hit.

“It didn’t look like helmet to helmet,” Rodriguez said. “It didn’t look like he launched into him, too. It looked like a clean hit, and Austin was bobbling the ball at the time, so I didn’t have any problem with it.”

When asked how Hill was doing, Rodriguez said the injury report will be released on Thursday as usual.

“Austin was feeling pretty good [Sunday], so that’s all I’ll say about that,” Rodriguez said.

While senior safety Jared Tevis called the targeting call on senior safety Jourdon Grandon “ridiculous,” Rodriguez didn’t dispute Grandon’s ejection.

“I don’t think it was a vicious intent or anything of that nature, but if you look at the letter of the law … the crown of the helmet [was] used in a tackle,” Rodriguez said.

Daytime football returns

Arizona will close the season with two 1:30 p.m. starts, after five straight night games at home.

On Monday, the Pac-12 announced that the Wildcats’ game versus Washington next week will be at 1:30 p.m. on Fox, the same time and network as their regular season finale against ASU on Nov. 28.

The only unknown kickoff time now is at Utah on Nov. 22. Arizona has played seven night games this year, and Saturday’s kickoff is set for 6 p.m.


Follow James Kelley on Twitter.

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