PAC-12 Networks is visiting every school during fall camp, and Arizona Stadium was Monday's stop for the Wildcats' morning practice. After practice, Rick Neuheisel took some time out to talk about what he saw on both sides of the ball, and how Arizona stacks up against the rest of the conference.
When asked about Ka'Deem Carey, Neuheisel was very definitive with his thoughts on the junior RB.
"I think he's the best running back in the country."
"I love the way he runs violently, you just knock on wood that he can stay healthy because he's going to dictate what defenses do to this offense and they have to stop him. That'll give quarterbacks maybe a fraction of a second longer to make the good decisions they have to make to make this offense go."
He also talked about the QBs, and seemed to favor B.J. Denker.
"Denker looked fine. I think the job's there to be won. I think (RichRod)'s just waiting for someone to assert himself."
Neuheisel, who grew up in Tempe and went to McClintock HS also played QB at UCLA from 1980-83, so he had some interesting thoughts on what will transpire over the next couple weeks as a starter emerges.
"It's been proven time and time again that RichRod's offense can work with a first-time quarterback under center." He went on to list off Denard Robinson, Pat White, and Matt Scott as examples of that.
"One thing about quarterbacks is it's one thing to do what you're supposed to do on any particular play, but more importantly almost is to know what you're supposed to do. When (RichRod) finds that guy that knows all the right answers and then can execute it at up-tempo pace, then he's gonna have his guy."
Neuheisel's had his fair share of QB battles in his time as a head coach at Colorado, Washington and UCLA. He talked about what coaches tend to look for in those battles.
"You keep looking for things, there's no one competition. Sometime's the place where they separate themselves isn't on the field at all, it's in the meeting rooms, where they just know more. The confidence of what they know is so exhibited in the meeting room that you don't see them looking on anybody else's paper or asking questions of anybody else. They're almost teaching the class. And when you get that guy who can teach the class, as long as he has the requisite amount of athletic ability and can make the decisions and doesn't feel the heat when the lights come on, then you've got your guy."
He also said that Anu Solomon is thinking too much right now. When he stops thinking so much and everything becomes subconscious, he'll really start to show his natural athletic ability.
On the spread offense: "It is the offense of the current. Everybody can recruit speed. When you spread the field and make people defend 53 and a third yards wide, you take a lot of pressure off your front. You don't have to block as long because the ball's getting out of the quarterback's hands."
On defense: "I thought it looked pretty good. He's encourage by his defense. Basically everybody's playing a 3-3-5 because everybody's so spread out with their offense anyway."
"The hard part will be when you line up against two back teams. In this league right now the only team that does that exclusively is Stanford."
Neuheisel was very impressed with the coaching staff and kept going back to it over and over. He loved the way that the coaches get after the players, and try to make the players comfortable with being uncomfortable.
"The way they were making the tempo what they needed it to be despite the heat, that's probably going to pay great dividends. There's no question that he's got a proven scheme."
"RichRod's offense works."