After spending all last year being a college football broadcaster, Rich Rodriguez has returned to where he belongs, on the sidelines coaching. Rodriguez is one of the most brilliant offensive minds in college football and finds new ways to take the spread offense to another level. His return to coaching two weeks ago was a bit shaky. Rich Rod’s Arizona team got quite a test from Toledo before edging the Rockets in overtime. However, this past weekend, the Wildcats showed what they are capable with Rodriguez running the show. Arizona upset Oklahoma State and the win has captured the nation’s attention. The Wildcats have vaulted into the top 25, they are relevant once again and their showdown with the Oregon Ducks in two weeks all of a sudden matters a bit more than it did two weeks ago.
Rich Rodriguez joined Fox Sports Radio with the Loose Cannons to talk about the big win over Oklahoma State, on returning to college football as a coach, on the difficulty of the Pac 12, on the amount of quality coaches in the Pac 12 and how much the new TV deal will help with recruiting.
On the win over Oklahoma State:
“It was. I was happy for our kids. We have to have a lot of things go right for us and we have to make the most of our opportunities but it did. I told our guys to keep plugging away, keep plugging away and playing hard. Then if we get a few bounces our way who knows what’s going to happen.”
On his return to college football as a coach:
“It feels good to be undefeated for a year and a half. That whole year in broadcasting I never lost a game. That was pretty nice. It was fun and I think everyone in our program recognizes that we have a lot of work to do but at the same time I really appreciate the way our young men in our program have bought in. Not just for the last few weeks but really for the last nine months. We’ve had great support from everybody here in Tucson since December and we’re on our way.”
On the difficulty of playing the Pac 12:
“That was my thoughts exactly. I was like boy I guess this is kind of good news but I’d rather everybody else be crappy but that’s not the case. The worst part is its’ going to keep getting better too because of TV money coming in and the commitment to our program so yeah our league is definitely on the upswing.”
On the amount of strong coaches in the Pac 12:
“I appreciate you saying that and I hope I’m included in that, but the reality is the quality of the skill players, I think if you look at the type of quarterbacks and receivers and even running backs that we have in our league it’s second to none. I think it’s always probably been that case but even more so now with all these seven on seven passing things going on this summer and all of that and all the population in California and the West Coast, Arizona, Texas kids coming out this way to play, the quality of the skill players is second to none in our league and I think that’s why there’s so many high and explosive offenses.”
How much the TV exposure will help with recruiting and things like that:
“There’s no question the TV has changed the recruiting landscape. Kids are going all over the country and they want to go some place where they’re on TV. Well every game in the Pac 12 is going to be on TV on some network. They also want to go where it’s a great education and then facility-wise. That’s why we’re building a 72 million dollar football complex that will be done next year and we had to do that not so much for our own kids which I think is a great benefit but for recruiting in the future. Then if you combine our place with great weather you got everything you want.”
On his quarterback Matt Scott:
“I’m really proud of Matt. He’s played a little bit but not a lot and he’s a fifth year kid so he knows how to throw and we knew the first couple of days of spring practice that this kid can make all the throws and he’s a good athlete. He’s not fast fast but he’s a very athletic guy and I will tell you what he is, he’s a very competitive guy and he’s extremely hungry. He wants to prove himself, he’s been around there and when you have a hungry and talented player you have a lot that you can build with with Matt Scott.”