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Wake-up call: Arizona changes practice schedule for rare noon game

Rich Rodriguez

Rich Rodriguez will see how his team responds in the light of day. Photo by Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

The Arizona Wildcats are setting their alarm clocks early to try to reset their body clocks.

After five consecutive night games — no kickoff earlier than 7 p.m. — Arizona will play at 18th-ranked Stanford on Saturday, beginning at noon.

Coach Rich Rodriguez set Tuesday’s practice to begin at 6 a.m, lasting under two hours.

He was not disappointed. Everybody, he said, was 15 minutes early.

“We have to get our guys adjusted to getting up a little bit earlier — getting to bed early and getting up and getting ready to play,” Rodriguez said.

“I don’t know if it’s going to make a huge difference, but I hope it makes a little bit of difference.”

The Cats had several morning practices during fall camp (although none as early as 6 a.m.), but it’s been all afternoon practices for Arizona for about the past six weeks.

“We’re trying to get our guys to learn to adapt and overcome,” Rodriguez said.

Arizona also will practice in the early morning on Wednesday. Thursday’s light practice still will be in the afternoon; the team departs for Stanford on Friday.

Rodriguez said he is looking forward to playing a game under the sun. The forecast on weather.com is for 72 degrees and afternoon sun in Stanford.

“(The team) might like the night games, but as a coach I like waking up, eating a little breakfast and playing and getting home at a reasonable hour,” Rodriguez said.

“The wife and kids probably like it, too. I don’t know. I think my wife likes watching games all day. She’s not as nervous as I am. …

“It’s going be different for us. But, shoot, if your adrenaline can’t get pumped up by playing a top-ranked team and a Pac-12 opponent with everything that is at stake, I would be extremely disappointed if our guys weren’t wide-eyed and ready to go at noon Saturday.”

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