The 2011 Arizona Wildcats had a season to truly forget. They started the season 1-5, which led to then head coach Mike Stoops dismissal.
They went 3-3 under interim head coach Tim Kish, which led the way for new head coach Rich Rodriguez and his staff to move in and effect some change.
Rodriguez got to see his players in pads for the first time on Wednesday in Tucson, Ariz., then packed the kids and the gear in buses and headed to Glendale Community College for an open practice session on Saturday.
With change comes a new air of excitement, and Wildcat fans need to get prepared for the Rodriguez spread-option offense, which he was successful with in his career with quarterbacks named Shaun King (Tulane), Woodrow Dantzler (Clemson) and Pat White (West Virginia).
To employ this offense in Tucson, he will enlist the services of senior quarterback Matt Scott, who redshirted last season, but would seem like a good fit for the offense, with his ability to run and throw the ball.
Rodriguez likes what he sees so far from Scott in the early going.
“Matt’s been pretty good,” Rodriguez said. “We’ve really tried to keep it simple, and Matt’s got a lot of skills he’s shown.”
Junior Richard Morrison switched from wide receiver to quarterback, primarily because of depth issues at the position.
Morrison has already come out and publicly stated that he will beat out Scott for the starting job.
Rodriguez is also happy with what Morrison brings to the table, along with Scott.
“Their heads are still swimming a little bit,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez has set aside 15 practices to get his players acclimated to the new offense and the 3-3-5 defense he’ll roll out this year.
“I think we still have a long way to go,” Rodriguez said. “I think our guys are starting to understand what we want.”
Only time will tell if the players truly buy into what Rodriguez is cooking up. September 1 seems like a ways away, when they open the season hosting Toledo, but really isn’t that far away.