As the saying goes, “hope springs eternal.”
It’s the mantra around college football camps throughout the country this time of year as coaches get an up close and personal look at their team before summer break.
In Tucson the Arizona Wildcats are looking to continue their momentum of back-to-back bowl wins as Rich Rodriguez enters his third year in the Old Pueblo.
“We’re excited, it’s been a pretty good spring session,” Rodriguez told Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat Wednesday morning in Tucson. “We went back and watched our first practice from two years ago and our first practice from this year and it’s night and day…it’s been pretty productive…as a whole we’ve gotten better and that’s the number one objective in the spring.”
The Wildcats have some glaring holes to replace, most notably at quarterback and in the backfield after record-setting running back Ka’Deem Carey opted to skip his final season of eligibility and enter the NFL draft.
B.J. Denker has graduated and the quarterback vacancy still appears wide open between former Chaparral High and Texas transfer Connor Brewer, redshirt freshman Anu Solomon and former USC Trojan Jesse Scroggins.
“Coming into Coach Rod’s offense, it’s really dynamic,” Brewer told Cesmat. “There’s so many things you can do with it and so many great receivers that we’re trying to get the ball to. I feel like coach Rod does a good job of picking plays where it’s not designed to go to one receiver. We can go to many. This spring has been big for me because finally now I’m competing.”
Rodriguez says progress has been made but he’s really no closer to picking a starter when the ‘Cats take the field for their season opener against UNLV. Coach Rod believes the situation will sort itself out.
“I’m not really that concerned about it,” he explained. “I don’t think I have to name a starter [in spring].”
As for replacing Carey, Rodriguez said it will be by committee. The coaching staff have moved some slot receivers to the backfield to provide additional depth this spring.
As a whole, Coach Rod has been pleased with his team’s effort heading into Saturday’s 11:15 Arizona Spring Game at Arizona Stadium and has even added a few fun, fan-friendly activities to this weekend’s events.
— Rich Rodriguez (@CoachRodAZ) April 9, 2014
“I’m really proud of our guys,” he explained. “I think they respond well to what we’re doing. They’re a great group.”
UofA returns 20 players who have started games in 2013 and 46 letter winners from last season. The Wildcats are coming off back-to-back 8-5 seasons.
Saturday’s scrimmage will be broadcast on Pac-12 Network starting at 11:00AM from Tucson.