The Pac-12 held a post-spring teleconference for its football coaches on Tuesday morning, with Arizona Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez making his league-wide media debut.
Rodriguez touched upon some of his familiar themes from UA’s 15 spring practices — namely, there is much progress to be made in terms of strength and conditioning — and spoke about the importance of senior quarterback Matt Scott as a leader.
That leadership role fell in recent seasons to starting quarterback Nick Foles, who became a third-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles last month. Scott has never had take on this kind of responsibility.
“More than anything, I think he can be the kind of the leader we need,” Rodriguez said.
“He has not had to be that in the past. Now, he does. What I mean by leadership is not necessarily when coaches are around in practice, but when we’re not around, in the summer months and times when he has to organize the guys himself.
“We need Matt take the next step, and I think he’s ready to do that.”
Scott progressed nicely on the field in the spring, with Rodriguez able to put in more of his read-option offense than he had planned because of Scott’s grasp of the new Arizona scheme. Now comes a long summer of team-organized workouts and throwing sessions.
“I think Matt is doing a great job in his progression as a senior and as a leader,” running back Daniel Jenkins said after the spring game.
“I enjoy working with Matt because he’s serious every day about what he does. Everyone on the team respects him a lot. He demands that kind of presence as a leader.”
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Rodriguez said he’s in favor of a four-team playoff, which is where college football is headed for the 2014 season.
How to choose those four teams — polls, selections committee, top-rated conference champions? — is still an issue. Playing that four-team playoff in existing BCS bowl games is one possibility.
“The four-team deal, I think that will be fine, because you will be able to include the bowl system pretty much as it is and include a little wrinkle at the end,” Rodriguez said.
“I think the game is in a great place right now, but a little four-team playoff — as long as you can keep the bowl structure as it is — will be great.”
This is one (of many?) areas in which Rodriguez and new Arizona State coach Todd Graham disagree. Graham said he is in favor of an eight-team playoff, using six conference champs and two at-large teams.
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Rodriguez said the tentative plan is to install FieldTurf at Arizona Stadium for the 2013 season, when construction in the north end zone is complete.
“I think the biggest advantage is we can use it every day,” Rodriguez said of the surface. “We can use it for practice; guys can use it for workouts.”