Rich Rodriguez is a man who likes to tell it like it is. He is a guy who is passionate about his work, he gets easily frustrated, and he gets easily excited about his team. Heading into this season Coach Rodriguez didn’t really know what he had with his team due to having roughly 50 new players.
We are getting an idea of what he has now.
He definitely has a quarterback that is making some noise the last couple of weeks. Khalil Tate has become the leader on this team and certainly the star on the Wildcats football team.
Khalil Tate exploded last week for 481 total yards of offense and he was looking to do something fairly similar this week as well. Even though it would be hard to get anywhere close to what Tate did against Colorado.
Rich Rod is a feisty type of coach. Not that all coaches are not feisty, but Rodriguez wears his emotions on his sleeve more so than others. There is never a doubt about how Coach Rodriguez is feeling about things going on at practice or during a game. Coach Rodriguez wants to his team to play with that same type of fire.
The last couple of weeks the Arizona Wildcats have shown that fire with having consecutive wins over Colorado and UCLA.
Some people were wondering if Coach Rodriguez would get the program turned around after the last couple of years of sub-par performance. People were questioning his style of offense, his recruiting misses, and just the state of the program as a whole.
I’m not saying he has turned the corner at all with the program, but he is in the middle of that turn.
What the fans and alumni want to see are wins, progress, and a team that is competitive on the field. The last couple of weeks the fans and alumni have got that in spades.
The offense is rolling through Khalil Tate in both of these wins. However, it’s not just a one man show.
In the win over UCLA on Saturday night, the defense took the ball away four times, including intercepting UCLA quarterback, Josh Rosen, three times. Creating extra possessions for the offense puts you in a position to win the game. The Wildcat defense is doing that right now and the benefits are clearly being seen.
Another aspect that came alive against UCLA was the running game with an actual running back. The running attack just wasn’t Khalil Tate, the quarterback, running all over the field.
Nick Wilson got loose on 22 carries for 135 yards. His huge contribution combined with Tate’s 230 yards takes the pressure off of the passing game.
Arizona is playing good football right now and have beaten a couple of teams that people were not expecting them to. This is how momentum for a team is built. This is how team figures out that they can win. A confident football team is something that is tough to beat.
The Arizona Wildcats are just that. A confident football team that is learning that it can compete in the Pac-12 Conference.
Bear Down Arizona, Bear Down.