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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Football Notes: Short week changes football preparation

Tyler Baker
Tyler Baker / The Daily Wildcat Arizona redshirt senior running back Terris Jones-Grigsby (24) runs through the line of scrimage after a hand off from Arizona redshirt freshman Anu Solomon during Arizona’s season opener against UNLV at Arizona Stadium on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. Arizona won 58-13 against UNLV. Anu Solomon broke the freshman passing yards record with 425 yards.

Back-to-back weekday games is irregular and a rarity for Arizona football. The shortened week has decreased practice, film and recovery time.

Traditionally, collegiate football weeks are planned out from Saturday to Saturday, but with this week being shortened, head coach Rich Rodriguez will have to change up the pace.

The Wildcats haven’t played back-to-back games in at least a decade, and it will be a tough feat traveling on the road. After the game against UNLV, Rodriguez said the shortened week has caused him to move up his traditional Monday routine up to Saturday to prepare for Thursday’s game against the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Remember the Alamodome

After UTSA’s destruction of Houston last week, the Wildcats must prepare for a team that brings one of the most experienced rosters in the country.

“They are going to have a big crowd and maybe sell out,” Rodriguez said. “It will be a tough environment, and we are going to practice for crowd noise.”

This will be the first time that UTSA will be welcoming a Pac-12 opponent to the Alamodome. It will also be an unfamiliar trip for the Wildcats, who have not ventured into Texas since the turn of the millennium.

Several Arizona players have ties to the Lone Star State, including tight end Josh Kern, wide receiver Cayleb Jones and quarterback Connor Brewer.

Accumulating the Yards

Arizona’s nation-leading 787 yards of total offense last week is a feat more common under Rodriguez. In program history, the UA has accumulated 600 yards of total offense on nine occasions, five of those in the past two-plus seasons under Rodriguez.

“Obviously, a game like that is a pretty special week,” UA offensive lineman Mickey Baucus said. “If we go in there this week and execute and do what we are capable of doing, we should be able to get big numbers and yards all season long. If we go out there and try to play the perfect game, then big games like that should be more to come.”

Redshirt freshman quarterback Anu Solomon had a lot to do with the explosive offense, racking up 425 passing yards and four passing touchdowns.

“Anu did a great job moving the ball around this last week, and having all of these options for him will make it a lot easier for him being a first-time starter,” wide receiver Nate Phillips said.

Kickin’ it Old School

Not since the mid-2000s has Arizona had a reliable kicker in Nick Folk, currently playing for the New York Jets. Redshirt junior kicker Casey Skowron may be the answer.

In Friday’s game against UNLV, Skowron was 3-for-4 in field goal attempts, including a career-long 49-yard make. He also converted seven extra point attempts.

Skowron was also named Special Teams Player of the Week by the Arizona coaching staff.

Wood to play Defensive End

Recruited to play tight end, freshman Trevor Wood will practice receive reps at defensive end, with defensive lineman Reggie Gilbert being out. Listed at 6-foot-5, Wood brings a big presence to the defense.

“We recruited him mostly as a tight end because that was where our needs were, but now we need d-ends,” Rodriguez said. “Most of his individual work has been at tight end, but this week it will be at d-end.”

—Follow Matt Wall @mwall20

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