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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Football focus shifting from spring to summer

Rebecca Noble

Arizona football coach Rich Rodriguez instructs his team during football practice at Jerry Kindall Field at Frank Sancet Stadium on March 23. Rodriguez said the focus is beginning to shift from spring practices to summer football.

Spring practice is more than halfway over for Arizona football, and the transition to summer football practice has begun. The Wildcats have just five practices left before April 10’s Spring Game.

“We’re still evaluating a lot of guys,” Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said. “The end of this week and Saturday’s practice and probably a practice next week, we are going to talk about what we want them to work on in the summer when the coaches aren’t around. I think we have enough conscientious guys, and I think they’ll take it to heart.”

Rodriguez said the team’s attitude this year has been similar to the attitude at the same time last year.

“I think this group likes to work,” Rodriguez said. “But, I think all the groups we’ve had in the spring have been really good. I go back to the first spring; the guys really probably struggled with the tempo, and everything was new. I think the tone was set, because their effort and their attitude [was] so good. That first spring we were here really set the tone, because now we don’t have to get the tempo to where we want to because it’s built in already.”

Despite a couple of key players out of spring practice due to injury, the Wildcats should be considered on the up-and-up as summer is right around the corner.

Future series’ announced

Arizona football announced future series with Texas Tech and Hawaii on Tuesday. The Wildcats will face the Red Raiders in 2019 and 2020 in a home-and-home series. Arizona was already scheduled to face the Rainbow Warriors in 2019 and 2020 but extended the series to included 2016 and 2025 in a home-and-home.

“We’re excited to add more quality opponents in Texas Tech and Hawaii to our future schedules,” Arizona athletics director Greg Byrne said in a UA press release. “Playing opponents of this caliber is a great opportunity and our future schedules are developing nicely for our program and our fans.”

Arizona has played Texas Tech 31 times previously, with the Red Raiders dominating the series record 25-4-2. The last matchup between the two teams came in 1988 and resulted in a 35-19 win for Arizona.

The all-time series with Hawaii is much less frequent than the Texas Tech series, as the Wildcats have played the Rainbow Warriors just four times, winning all four matchups. The most recent matchup came in 1998 and resulted in a 27-6 Arizona win.

On a separate note, Byrne tweeted out that Mississippi State was added to future schedules as well, but Arizona Athletics has not sent out a confirmation yet.

“With the additions of @TTU_WreckEm, @HailStateFB & @BYUCougars to our schedules we feel we have the right balance moving forward. #BearDown,” Byrne tweeted out on Tuesday.

Regardless, it’s a good thing the Wildcats have beefed up their schedule a bit. Even better if the Mississippi State news is true.

The progression of Anu Solomon

Anu Solomon shocked the college football world as a redshirt freshman by not just winning Arizona’s starting quarterback job but thriving in the role. Solomon ended the season by breaking countless program records with 4,084 all-purpose yards and 30 total touchdowns.

Solomon came into spring practice as the No. 1 guy and has been working to improve upon his standout season. Earlier in spring practices, Solomon said he wanted to be a better all-around quarterback next season.

Rodriguez said he expects Solomon to reduce his negative plays, amongst other things, next season.

“We have to limit any negative yardage plays, and we don’t want to take sacks or negative yard plays,” Rodriguez said. “Also, seeing the field better and understanding where the weaknesses are of every particular defense. He’s gotten better. I think he feels more comfortable now, but there’s still a lot of work left to be done there.”


Follow Roberto Payne on Twitter.

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