This isn’t Rich Rodriguez’s offense any more.
Former Arizona Wildcats center Kyle Quinn began the next stage of his football career Monday, practicing with the West squad in preparation for the Casino Del Sol College All-Star Game, which will be held Friday at Kino Stadium at 7 p.m.
“Now we get to huddle and snap under center,” he said after practice.
He did none of the former in his senior season in Rodriguez’s hurry-up scheme and only twice delivered the ball directly to the quarterback — in the victory formation at the end of games.
Quinn is working with the West team, getting offensive-line instruction from former Utah and Weber State head coach Ron McBride, also an ex-Arizona assistant coach under Dick Tomey. Tomey is the head coach of the West squad.
Quinn, a two-year starter at Arizona (although he missed four games this season because of an ankle injury), might be considered a late-round possibility, or at least a free-agent to bring into camp. Scouts have interest: He also is mulling a recent invitation to play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, which will be held Jan. 19 in Los Angeles.
Here is a post-practice Q&A with Quinn:
On what he hopes to show scouts this week: “The biggest things I want to show to the scouts is just my coachability and how well I take things in from listening. Coach McBride is one of the best offensive line coaches in the country. He’s a legend around the state of Utah and around the country. Everyone is saying it’s a once-in-lifetime opportunity. So, I want to show my coachability, my toughness, my versatility and I also want to show my football IQ — making adjustments and being able to show I can pick up things really quick.”
On what the past few weeks were like after the comeback win in the New Mexico Bowl: “That was kind of crazy. I still don’t know how the heck it happened. I was trying to process that over break. Everywhere I went back home, everyone was like, ‘That was amazing.’ And even guys here are like, ‘Oh, yeah, you were in that game.’ Guys are just blown away about how we were able to pull that one out of our hats. I saw Coach Rod and most of the coaching staff last week and they were just all smiles and so proud of our effort. That wasn’t our best game as far as execution, both offense and defense, but we kept fighting until there were all zeros on the scoreboard, and it came out our way.”
On Arizona offensive line coach Robert Anae leaving last week to return to BYU as offensive coordinator: “I’m definitely sad, but it’s a great opportunity for Coach Anae. He graduated from there; he won a national championship there. His heart is always going to be for BYU. I got two years with him and he grew me into the player I am. … I’m forever grateful to him and the time and effort he put into me. He told me, ‘Kyle, talk to me whenever you need me.’ He’s keeping that line of communication open, which I greatly appreciate. He has a big heart. He’s a very down-to-earth guy. You can go into his office and talk to him about anything. His presence as a coach and his football IQ is second-to-none.”
On playing with guys who have been your rivals: “We have nose guard from Oregon State (Andrew Seumalo). We went head-to-head right before I got hurt, and he’s asking, ‘How is the ankle feeling now?’ We respect each other. There’s not much hostility toward one another because we are on the same team, representing the West. But there is a sense of competition. We want to make each other better players and put on a good show for the fans and the scouts who are in attendance this week.”
On how much he had been able to talk to scouts so far: “Very little. We did some stuff this morning … They had us fill out some questionnaires and we did kind of a Wonderlic test. We did one of those mental tests — looking at pictures and images and finding patterns and stuff.”
NOTES: Andre Reed, who ranks 10th in NFL career receptions, is working with the West team as receivers coach. … Dave Sitton and former Arizona and NFL offensive tackle John Fina will have the call of the game on ESPN3. Dana Cooper will be the sideline reporter. … The game can be heard on 1490-AM, an ESPN radio affiliate. Sports talk host Jody Oehler will have the radio call, with the Arizona Daily Star’s Patrick Finley serving as analyst. … More than 70 NFL scouts/personnel men were in Tucson on Monday, including Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson.