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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Rodriguez already hard at work for football team

Colin Darland
Colin Darland / Daily Wildcat

Rich Rodriguez is enjoying his first couple of days in Tucson. He’s also preparing for the laundry list of things that need to be done before spring practice starts in March.

“I know we got work to be done,” Rodriguez said during halftime of Saturday’s game against Louisiana-Lafayette. “But I’m enjoying it, at least the last couple days.”

The process will start with filling out the rest of the coaching staff, and Rodriguez said the focus will be on the defensive side of the ball to start. Rodriguez is hands-on with the offense and calls plays, so he said he wants to have a defensive coordinator and at least one other defensive assistant in place as soon as possible.

“I don’t micro-manage everything, but I want to know what we’re doing,” Rodriguez said. “They’re paying me to have input on everything.”

He said nobody will be hired this week, but he hopes to have half of the staff filled by the end of next week.

Rodriguez also said he’s open to keeping a few coaches that are currently on Arizona’s staff, even though “a couple dozen” coaches have contacted him directly, and he expects between 150 and 200 have made calls to the secretaries in the football offices.

“It has to be the right fit and it has to be a guy who can fit in what we want to do offensively and defensively,” Rodriguez said. “But there are a couple spots that I’m open to.”

Rodriguez said that the budget for assistant coaches will be slightly higher than what it was for ex-head coach Mike Stoops.
He’ll also start making phone calls to recruits while he’s trying to fill out the coaching staff, though Rodriguez said he won’t make any visits in the next week because he doesn’t want to burn the one visit allowed by the NCAA.

All existing scholarship offers will still be honored, but Rodriguez said he’s going to be honest when talking about whether or not a player fits in his system.

“The thing that happens sometimes in recruiting when you create bad feelings is when you’re not honest,” Rodriguez said. “If a guys calls and says, ‘Do I really fit what you want to do?’ and he doesn’t but I say yes, I’m not being fair to him.”

Geographically, Rodriguez said that his main recruiting grounds will be Arizona, California and Texas — like they’ve traditionally been at Arizona. But he’s had success in the past recruiting in the Southeast and said he’d like to get more players from the Midwest.

“Bring a kid down here in November, December, January and he looks outside, he’ll think, ‘This isn’t a bad place to get my education,’” Rodriguez said.

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