Notes and takeaways from the Arizona Wildcats’ media availability after their 11th practice of training camp Friday morning.
* Arizona practiced in full pads and UA coach Rich Rodriguez said he "wasn't pleased" with the intensity but understood because of how hot it was outside. (Confirmed: it was humid.)
* It seems senior receiver Tyrell Johnson — who also has competed for Arizona's track and field program — is still considered the Wildcats' fastest player, though Rodriguez said "a couple of the young bucks" are among the team's speediest guys, and specifically cited freshman receiver D.J. Hinton, the former Tucson High standout.
* Rodriguez — famously animated on the sidelines during games — was asked about a new NCAA rule giving officials the power to issue an instant 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct — without warning — when a coach comes ont o the field to protest or "otherwise demonstrate disagreement with an officiating decision." Rodriguez's reaction: Why does that matter?
"Is it an issue? I’ve been doing this a long time and one, they can’t hear you. Two, they’re not listening anyway. I don’t know if that’s a major issue. It seems like we’re emphasizing that for what reason?"
* Asked if there's any rule he'd like to change, Rodriguez mentioned he thinks games are too long. He suggested a length three hours should be doable.
"It seems like there’s a lot of dead time, and that’s why the games last so long," Rodriguez said.
* In the battle for the starting right tackle position, Cody Creason seems to be the favorite —he's "had a solid camp," Rodriguez said — over senior Gerhard de Beer, though that's in part a result of de Beer missing spring drills and much of the summer recovering from a knee injury. De Beer, Rodriguez said, has come a long way from the days where he didn't know how to properly put on pads as a true freshman playing football for the first time.
"He didn't know what a thigh pad was or where to put it," Rodriguez said. "Now he’s reading multiple defenses and maybe even a little coverage wise."
* Redshirt sophomore center Nathan Eldridge seems to be emerging as one of Arizona's best offensive lineman. O-line coach Jim Michalczik said it's "night and day" for Eldridge now compared to when he was entering last season, his first as a starter.
Last year "everything was going 800 miles an hour," Michalczik said. "Now he understands it, puts his body in the right place and things have really slowed down for him."
* On Wednesday, de Beer mentioned how impressed he was with Arizona's newcomers, particularly freshman Edgar Burrola. Michalczik credited that progress to offensive graduate assistant Kyle Quinn, the former UA center who's been spending time working with the younger players.