Sept. 8, 2012; Tucson, AZ, USA; Arizona Wildcats running back Ka'Deem Carey (25) is tackled by Oklahoma State Cowboys linebacker Joe Mitchell (29) and linebacker Alex Elkins (37) during the second half at Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats beat the Cowboys 59-38. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE
Rich Rodriguez and Co. held their usual Monday presser and discussed were everything from Austin Hill's knowledge of every receiving position to John Bonano's recovery from an ugly first game against Toledo. Here's the entire transcript, and below are our thoughts on the best quotes from the press conference.
One of the main problems Rodriguez is having despite the upset win deals with the run game. We saw it a bit in the Toledo game -- take away Ka'Deem Carey's 73-yard touchdown dash and the numbers are not skimpy, but so-so. Carey would have 19 rushes for 74 yards, still not too bad at an average of 3.9 yards per carry. Take away his long run of 36 yards on Saturday against the Cowboys, and he rushed 25 yards for 90 yards, a 3.6 average.
While at times big holes have appeared thanks to the offensive line, there were many more where the UA backs would get stopped in their tracks for no gain. Here, I'll call it a problem with consistency. The offensive line looks much improved, but if it can produce big-time holes a little more frequently, watch out.
Chris Putton on Rodriguez's challenge to the offensive line after Week 1:
"We've got to be able to run the football better; I've been disappointed in some of our run game. We've got some really talented backs, particularly with Ka'Deem (Carey), but we've got to be able to run the football better. There's another level we can get to offensively.
"Besides blocking, we have to do a better job at opening up some holes. Some teams are doing a good job but they're not wowing us to run. Oklahoma State was a big pressure team that brought a lot of blitzes. You don't want to just pound your head against a wall, you want to throw when the numbers are right and run it when the numbers are right to run it."
"I definitely think we ran better than the first week, and it's always empowering to win against a good team. But we focused on improving all week in practice and it showed on Saturday."
Meanwhile, Matt Scott have proved that he's more than a Denard Robinson-like dual-threat quarterback. While he cannot outrun Usain Bolt as can Denard, Scott has gotten twisted into the unfortunate tale of dual-threat quarterbacks that are revered more for their legs than smarts. Well, Scott is reminding us that he's closer to a poor man's Robert Griffin III than a track star on the turf.
So we give you linebacker Sir Thomas Jackson on playing against Matt Scott in practice, and Scott's willingness and consciousness of being a pass-first quarterback:
"His eyes are always moving, he's always looking around. When you are in coverage, you don't know if he is going to throw it or run it. He is good in the pocket, and when you try to get him, he can make you miss."
Receiver Austin Hill backed up Jackson's analysis, saying Scott doesn't get the rep of other athletic quarterbacks, who are often more willing to take off at the first sign of trouble than stick with their eyes downfield, looking for receivers.
"I like his mobility. He can always get out and throw you the ball. He is always looking to throw you the ball, and run last, which is a thing receivers love because you never want to run a route and have the quarterback just run and not look to throw the ball."
Let's get to Hill himself, the guy who is tied with Marqise Lee for second in the NCAA with 263 receiving yards and on 12 catches to Lee's 21. Remember, Lee is, oh, only Kirk Herbstreit's favorite wideout in the land and a Heisman candidate.
Hill apparently has been moved around a bit by Rodriguez's offensive staff. On Monday, he talked about knowing all four wide receiver positions and his favorite.
"At first, I didn't really like it because I expected to be an outside receiver, but it gave me the opportunity to learn every single position. So no matter who goes down or no matter what happens during the game, I can go out and play any position.
"Going against the linebackers (gives him an advantage). Every receiver is taught to read triangles. I feel like playing linebacker to safety is a lot easier than going against a corner who can have more freedom to move around and do what they want to do, whereas a linebacker has to play the pass and run, and at the same time defend you or get a hit on you, trying to free up the line."
Finally we get to John Bonano. Just two weeks ago, some fans (not us, mind you) were talking about the Arizona kicking game as if Zendejas were still around. While Arizona's kicker did struggle, saying UA was cursed would be assuming that Bonano would mentally crumble for the rest of the season afterward.
Well, Saturday showed he's not that easy to break, as Bonano won the Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week award. Perhaps the game against the Rockets was just one of those days. Said Bonano:
"It was a great comeback game. I put the week one game behind me as soon as we started practice Sunday night. Just focused on being positive, so I could come out there and contribute 15 (points).
"I tried not to think about the Toledo game at all. Just focus on the next game, focus on the next kick, and just thinking positively overall really helped me get back on track."
What do you think?