Rich Rodriguez took the main podium at Friday's Pac-12 Media Day with a smile, as usual. After all, this isn't the place where hard-hitting questions are asked, per se. That happens in individual interviews at the event.
But behind the lowkey, joking nature of his questions, Rodriguez had some serious issues to get off his chest. Alongside Jake Fischer, a leader in the Ed O'Bannon lawsuit, he answered a few football questions.
As seen in the video above, an ASU fan asked Rodriguez through the Pac-12 representation about Rodriguez's thoughts on the 2012 Duel in the Desert.
Prefaced with the context of the question, Rodriguez warned his answer would be short.
"How much doesn't last year's territorial cup weigh on your mind each day?" the Arizona contingent was asked.
"None," Rodriguez said.
"None," repeated receiver Terrence Miller.
"None," echoed Fischer.
The rivalry issue was the most innocent part of Rodriguez's grandstand press conference, a sign of just how serious coaches and players at Arizona -- and elsewhere -- are about change.
Yeah, the loss probably bothers the Wildcats. But wide-angle problems do moreso. Rodriguez hates the summer limitations on how much he can coach his own players. He's in line with basketball coach Sean Miller's complaints about NCAA recruiting limitations that came via a Twitter rant this past week. Like Fischer's place in the O'Bannon case, like Greg Byrne's stay-ahead-of-the-curve approach, and like Miller, Rodriguez is using his voice for change.
During an ESPN event this past week, Rodriguez already began to stir things up.
Rich Rod on lack of contact with players in the summer: "It's the stupidest, silliest thing out there."— Pete Thamel (@SIPeteThamel) July 24, 2013
Rodriguez on Friday was asked about the offseason limitations and how his team was looking. Jokingly, but hardly joking, he asked the media to ask his players how their workouts went, insinuating he knew just as little about it.
This past week during the ESPN event, Rodriguez was equally combative about NCAA rules. Head-hunting rules will tighten, leading some to question the legality of the biggest hit of last year, South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney's hit on a Michigan running back that popped his helmet off.
RichRod: "Someone said the Clowney hit would be illegal. Are you kidding me? I don't know how you coach D if that's not a great, legal play"— Paul Myerberg (@PaulMyerberg) July 24, 2013
The push for athletes to get from $2,000 stipends to additional incomes by way of video game and TV revenues has also been challenged by the O'Bannon lawsuit and Fischer.
Rich Rod: "They should pass the rule tomorrow that you can feed all your athletes....3 meals a day all year round."— Pete Thamel (@SIPeteThamel) July 24, 2013
There will be room to talk Xs and Os down the road. With the biggest spotlight on himself and his team this week, Rodriguez is using a podium to change college football.