Rich Rodriguez has always liked to play fast.
UofA is rolling out the carpet. Well, sort of.
The university has installed field turf both inside recently renovated Arizona Stadium and their nearby practice field.
“I think the biggest advantage of having field turf is you can practice on it year round,” head coach Rich Rodriguez told Pros2Preps.com.
The change from natural grass to field turf makes sense for a number of reasons. The Wildcats will be able to practice on it during late-summer monsoon season as they will no longer have to deal with flooded fields following rainstorms. The turf is also more aesthetically appealing for television and areal shots and will stay significantly cooler. The new fields have millions of pieces of cork making them softer and more comfortable for players.
Rodriguez said the ‘Cats will practice on the game field two days a week leading up to home games.
The new fields are a part of the school’s construction of the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility which features a new weight room, football staff offices, meeting rooms and much more. The $75 million construction is expected to be completed in a matter of days. It’s the first major project in the history of Arizona Stadium.
“It’s going to be very convenient for our players to go out of the weight room and get some extra workouts in,” Rodriguez explained. “Whether with the strength coaches or by themselves.”
The Cats have already seen a bump in recruiting from the new-look as Scottsdale Chaparral tight end Trevor Wood committed. Former Firebird and Texas Longhorn quarterback Connor Brewer is headed to Tucson where he’ll join ex-CHS teammate and Notre Dame transfer Devonte Neal. Brewer and Neal will each have three years of eligibility after sitting out this fall, per NCAA rules.
UofA opens the season at home against NAU. Many believe Rodriguez’s team will make a second consecutive bowl behind running back Ka’Deem Carey and an improved defense which was gashed most of last season.
Rodriguez has been mum on who will replace Matt Scott at quarterback against the Lumberjacks.