by Adam Gonzales
When head coach Rich Rodriguez came to the University of Arizona, his main goal was to “change the culture.” If you were to take a walk in the new Lowell-Stevens Football Facility, you can see the change right before your eyes.
“I love it,” senior wide receiver Terrence Miller said. “It goes along with Coach Rodriguez trying to change the culture, and now we are changing the way we look as a program. We tell people that we are an elite program and it is starting to look like that.”
“It is great for the program,” senior linebacker Marquis Flowers said. “The fans are going to love it and I think that it will make Arizona Stadium one of the toughest places to play.”
With the beginning of fall camp just one day away, the players are itching to get back on the practice field as a team for the first time since spring practice.
“I’m feeling great,” Flowers said. “Offseason training went well and I’m just ready to play some football.”
Last August, most of the players did not know what to expect because of the coaching change. Now the program is in its second year in the Rodriguez era, so things have been going a lot smoother.
“Last offseason was different,” senior offensive lineman Chris Putton said. “This year we know what to expect, and I think that camp will be smoother.”
The Wildcats ended the 2012 season on a high note after pulling off arguably one of the most miraculous comebacks in any college football game by scoring two touchdowns in the final two minutes of the New Mexico Bowl to beat Nevada. However, they are still looking to improve with the Rose Bowl being the ultimate goal. Since we are still about a month away from the first game, goals have not been officially set, but the players know what they are striving for.
“We always have the main goal of winning the Rose Bowl,” Miller said.
Even though this is Rodriguez’s second year as head coach, it is still a transition year. With the departure of Matt Scott, Rodriguez is looking for a new starting quarterback. The good news is that he has plenty of choices though. B.J. Denker, who started and lead the Wildcats to a win against Colorado, Jesse Scroggins, a transfer from a junior college and former USC Trojan, and highly touted freshman quarterback Anu Soloman, who led his high school to four-straight state championships. Whoever earns the starting job is going to have some big shoes to fill after the year Scott had, but Rodriguez has been known to always get the most out of his quarterbacks.
The Wildcats also took a big hit with the loss of wide receiver Austin Hill, but Miller is ready to step up and continue to take a leadership role not only with the receivers, but with the whole team.
“The loss of a receiver like Austin (Hill) will hurt any team,” Miller said. “We are all going to have to step up. I’m also trying to take a bigger leadership role with the team, not just vocally, but to continue to do the right things on the field.”
With the departure of offensive lineman Kyle Quinn, Putton is looking to take over the role of being the leader of the offensive line.
“I’m ready to be a leader,” Putton said. “For the whole team, I want to step in to more of a leadership role as well as the offensive line.
The Wildcats open their season on August 30 against NAU at Arizona Stadium and will look to start off a special season.
Tickets for the 2013 football season including in the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility, are available and can be purchased by visiting the McKale Center Ticket Office, calling 520-621-CATS or by visiting ArizonaWildcats.com. Fans can also make appointments via the McKale Center Ticket Office to tour the seating areas during normal business hours.
For continued coverage of Arizona football, follow the team on Facebook at facebook.com/arizonafootball and on Twitter @ArizonaFBall.