No college football team may have appreciated their bye week this season more than the University of Arizona.
The Wildcats are 2-5, 0-4 in Pac-12 play and riding an ugly four-game losing streak into Saturday’s Homecoming matchup against Stanford in Tucson. The 2016 season to this point has seen Rich Rodriguez’s team lose a pair of heartbreakers: BYU in Glendale to open the season and Washington, who many consider one of the best teams in the country. The ‘Cats also had to come back from a halftime deficit to Grambling State.
The only real consistent has been an ugly stream of injuries at key positions. Quarterbacks Anu Solomon, Brandon Dawkins and Khalil Tate have all missed time at some point. Returning leading rusher Nick Wilson is out for an extended period time and fellow back J.J. Taylor is gone for the season.
“We’re moving some different guys back there,” Rodriguez said to Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat in a phone interview earlier this week. “[wide receiver] Samajie Grant is taking some reps back there. [wide receiver] Tyrell Johnson is taking some reps. So that position, like the quarterback position, has taken some hits this year.”
The week off has helped get some of the afore-mentioned players back as Dawkins is expected to play and Solomon could be available, as well.
— Arizona Football (@ArizonaFBall) October 25, 2016
Rodriguez feels, despite unbeaten Washington getting most of the national attention, there is parity from the top to the bottom of the league. He knows he and his staff have plenty of work ahead to try to flip the script in the second half of the season.
“We just have to get better, he told Cesmat. “We have to coach better. I like the guys attitude. They’re coming to work. Everybody’s hanging together. It’s been a tough stretch but now we have the second half of the season. We’re going to go out there and have some fun.”
The ‘Cats and their fans are hoping the fun starts Saturday at 8:00 against the Cardinal.