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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Will Parks tears up, Rich Rod emphatic on fourth down calls at latest press conference

Rebecca Noble

Arizona safety Will Parks (11) closes in on USC wide receiver and cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (2) at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Saturday, Nov. 7.

Following Arizona’s 38-30 defeat to USC over the weekend, Arizona football’s head coach was asked a couple of times during his weekly press conference whether he regrets some of the fourth-down calls he made in the loss.

Late in the third quarter, with Arizona leading 20-17, Rodriguez decided to go for it on fourth-and-short and the ball at the 50-yard line. Wildcat running back Orlando Bradford was stuffed by a line of USC players, and the UA turned the ball over on downs.

The Trojans scored on the next possession to take their first lead of the game.

“I don’t think it cost us the game,” Rodriguez said two days later. “I wish we would have made it. I like to be aggressive. Analysts can be critical. That’s what they get paid to do. And I can decide to go for it again. That’s what I get paid to do.”

Rodriguez acknowledged that he’s probably a little riskier in his play calling than most coaches, but that’s just part of his style.

“I don’t want to play passive,” Rodriguez said.

If Arizona is to hang with No. 10 Utah on Saturday, the Wildcats will surely need to convert on some of those key down plays — another point Rodriguez made clear in his press conference.

Rodriguez said that he was all-around pleased with the team’s performance at USC; the execution just wasn’t always there.

“I didn’t think we ran the ball well for a variety of reasons,” Rodriguez said. “But Anu [Solomon] made some nice throws. I don’t think it was his best game, and there’s a lot of things he can play better at, but he gave us a chance.”

Looking ahead to the Utah matchup, Rodriguez sounded pessimistic in regards to whether any injured players – namely linebacker Scooby Wright III and running back Nick Wilson — will return.

The coach said that there has been no status change since Friday for any of the guys who sat out the USC game.

One player who will certainly be suited up for Saturday is senior safety Will Parks. It’s the Philadelphia native’s final game in Tucson, a fact that is still settling in for him.

What would it mean for Parks to go out with a win over a top 10 opponent?

“I’ve been thinking about that for the past two days,” he said. “Words can’t even describe how I got to this point. To go out there and beat Utah on senior year night, with my mom coming to town — it would mean a whole lot.”

Parks nearly teared up during the press conference when talking about his four-year span in Tucson and the difficulties of leaving his family back home in Philadelphia.

“It’s been hard,” Parks said. “But I wouldn’t change it for nothing. God gave me all the strength to come over here and work hard and develop a certain attitude for this team. They have my back just like I’ve had theirs for the past four years.”

Follow Ezra Amacher on Twitter.

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