Arizona Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez said last week he didn’t necessarily see the Pac-12 as a more flag-happy league than others.
But he did concede that the game against USC on Oct. 27 was “called a little tighter” and he found “three or four or five” penalties last week at UCLA that he would send into the league office for review.
It doesn’t seem a coincidence that seven of the nation’s 16 most-penalized teams come from the Pac-12. Arizona is one of them, ranking 108th with 7.89 penalties for 67.6 yards per game.
But Rodriguez can’t blame refs for all of his team’s penalty problems in the past two games.
The Cats committed 14 penalties for 129 yards vs. USC and followed up with 15 for 124 yards at UCLA. Five of the penalties against the Bruins were personal fouls.
“That was probably one of the most frustrating things I had deal with the team (Sunday) in our team meeting,” Rodriguez said. “In fact, we watched them all as a team, all 15 penalties.”
He said some were aggressive penalties, some came as a result of poor technique and then were those that he questioned were penalties at all.
And then …
“There were a couple that were just silly — out of character and something that we are not going to allow to happen,” he said. “I will be really surprised if the silly penalties happen again.”
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Linebacker Hank Hobson, who collapsed on the field Saturday at UCLA and was taken to a local hospital, was “walking around and in good spirits” upon his return to Tucson on Sunday, athletic director Greg Byrne said.
Byrne accompanied Hobson’s parents, who were at the game, to see the sophomore after he was taken from the field.
Hobson’s status will be updated Thursday.
Rodriguez said he thought it was a similar injury to what he had in preseason camp — a nerve problem in his shoulder.
“Hank will be fine,” Rodriguez said. “We just don’t know how long it will be.”
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Rodriguez is likely to consider other options at punt returner this week.
Junior slot receiver Richard Morrison, who has been shaky on catching punts this season, made a bad decision in the UCLA game, running up and diving to try to catch a punt early in the second quarter. He muffed the catch; UCLA recovered the ball and quickly converted that into points and a 28-0 lead.
Morrison also will have more on his plate this week as he practices more at quarterback behind B.J. Denker, who seems likely to start with Matt Scott battling concussion problems.
Options at punt returner include cornerback Jonathan McKnight (who was in line to be the punt returner in 2011 before suffering a torn ACL late in fall camp), slot receiver Johnny Jackson and, perhaps, receiver Austin Hill.
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Senior center Kyle Quinn had missed three full games because of an ankle injury before playing in a reserve role against UCLA on Saturday.
“It’s been killing me,” Quinn said of having to sit out.
“It’s the first serious injury I’ve ever had in my career. Sitting on the sideline in games and in practice was absolutely killing me. I’ve done everything I can from the mental aspect of it, preparing my fellow O-lineman and helping out whenever I can, but being out their physically involved in the game, hitting someone as hard as I can, is what I love to do.
“I’m just glad to be back.”