Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Head Coach Rich Rodriguez
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Weekly Press Conference Transcript
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: August 25, 2014

TUCSON, Ariz.Arizona Wildcat football head coach Rich Rodriguez and select players met with media members at a weekly press conference on Monday. Below is a brief transcript.

Head Coach Rich Rodriguez

Opening statement:

“I know the players are excited about playing the game. It’s a little bit different schedule for us because it’s a Friday game. So we practiced yesterday and we actually had our Tuesday full pads practice yesterday. Today’s a lighter practice for an hour and 15 minutes. It was a good training camp I thought we got better I thought the guys improved in a lot of areas and this is game week so everybody’s got a little extra bounce in their step.”

On freshman quarterback Anu Solomon:

“Anu Solomon will be the starter Friday night. That doesn’t mean that he plays the whole game and that he will be the starter the rest of the season but I also don’t want any quarterback to ever go in thinking as soon as I make a mistake I’m coming out. That’s not going to be the case either but thought he deserved the right to start the first game. I’m confident that Anu will play well and he will be the starter as long as he plays well and we win. The coaches, and myself particularly, felt that he was playing the best out of all four quarterbacks. I think he’s got a good feel for the game and I want to make it clear it’s not like he did this thing and these other guys didn’t. I think he did more things better on a consistent basis for him to start.”

On senior receiver Austin Hill:

“It’s good to have Austin back simply because he’s a veteran guy. I think he’s hungry to be back; in fact I’m pretty sure of that. You know he can play all four receiver positions and he’s got great hands. He has a feel for the game and I think he’s even better at game time. He’s one of those guys that are pretty good in practice but he’s better when the lights came on.”

On freshman offensive lineman Jacob Alsadek:

“We like to call him a self-made man. From a football stand point, I can remember he wasn’t a highly recruited guy. A lot of people weren’t looking at him but we would watch his film of course. He sent his workout film with him going through ropes and bags and individual workouts and you can just tell that this guy loves football. He’s worked so hard. I mean he’s one of the guys that’ll do a little extra in the summer, be in the weight room a little bit longer. Football is really important to Jacob Alsadek and I think that is the reason why he is starting.”

Senior Defensive Lineman Dan Pettinato

On where he can improve:

“I want to play to my full potential. I’m really looking forward to this week. It’s been a while since I got injured last year, so I’m really looking forward to this game.”

On what people can’t see on field:

“Since we run a 3-3-5, we take on a lot of rough teams. We have to clear up the linebackers, and a lot of times we’ll be taking on two guys just so the linebackers can come clean to the ball. And for the pass rush, most of the time a quarterback throws an interception since the defensive line is rushing the passer.”

On the evolution of the defense in the last three years:

“The transition wasn’t very easy coming in because it was a new defense to everyone. One of the biggest changes now is that (safety) Jared Tevis and I are seniors and we’re able to help the younger guys. We can correct ourselves a lot easier watching film.”

Senior Safety Jared Tevis

On the change in attitude and intensity in preparation for game time:

“The energy has definitely picked up. You could see that at practice yesterday because everyone clicked. It’s finally game week and camp is over, and you finally get to hit someone in a different jersey. Once game week comes and fall camp is over, the energy definitely picks up.”

On comparison to past teams:

“I think we have the potential to have the best year we’ve had since I’ve been here. I’m excited about it and we’re still going to have to do the things we need to do, and that includes consistency and being focused every week.”

On the growth, maturity and evolution of the defense in Coach Rodriguez’s third season:

“There’s a little bit of a learning curve the first year when a new coach comes in. We weren’t used to a 3-3-5 and we weren’t used to the coaches. We had to really hone in on exactly what they wanted from us and I think last year we made huge strides in that. This year we’re looking to build off of that and continue to play with that physicality and the right mindset they want us to play with.”

On redshirt freshman quarterback Anu Solomon as a team leader:

“Anu is a kid that has a lot of capability. He can hurt you with his arms or his legs. Most importantly, he is consistent in having good reads, and the best attribute he carries is his composure. That will be big come game time. I think it’s in his personality and his character. He’s a pretty relaxed guy and I think that’s where it comes from.”

Senior Center Steven Gurrola

On freshman quarterback Anu Solomon’s biggest strengths:

“He does really well at taking control of the offensive line, telling us the plays, being clear and being loud.”

On the changes to the offensive line with a new quarterback:

“Because it is going to be his first game, he’s going to be excited and a little nervous. Before the game I’m going to go up to him and tell him what’s going to happen.”

On junior offensive lineman Cayman Bundage:

“He’s quiet off the field but he’s funny. He’s a clown on the field. He and I have so many good times on the field. Cayman is really humble and he knows how to work.”

The Wildcats will take to Arizona Stadium on Fri., Aug. 29 to host Northern Arizona. The 7:30 p.m. contest will air on ESPN.

Tickets for the 2014 football season are on sale and start at $99 for seven home games. Tickets can be purchased at or by contacting the McKale Center Ticket Office (520-621-CATS).

For continued coverage of Arizona football, follow the team on Facebook at and on Twitter @ArizonaFBall.
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