Rich Rodriguez walked off the practice field tonight a bit of a happier man than last night. He seemed more pleased with his team’s performance.
The Wildcats are now through four practices. The UA will practice tomorrow night and then have its first two-a-day on Thursday, with a practice at 8:30 a.m., followed by an evening session. The team will repeat that schedule on Saturday.
In the mean time, here are some notes and quotes from tonight. (It was a light night).
• Your nightly Tra’Mayne Bondurant update is this: The safety was back on the field tonight, but not in shoulder pads like the rest of his teammates. Instead he was just in a jersey, shorts and a helmet. He participated in some drills, but not all. It still seems like he has plenty to do before he’s officially back, and in the mix. But for Bondurant, it’s a good sign that he has taken the next step and doesn’t have to climb stairs at Kindall/Sancet anymore.
• Rodriguez and the Wildcats have done some juggling with their 105-man roster.
First, a little explainer on roster rules for camp and the season. The UA can have 105 players on its active roster for fall practice. Once classes start, the Wildcats can expand their roster to 120.
So, Rodriguez has removed Sir Thomas Jackson, Marquis Ware, Clive Georges and Sani Fuimaono from the 105, because of various injuries. All four will undoubtedly be added to the 120-man roster later this month and all four could still see plenty of game action this season.
They could be added back before that if they are cleared and someone else gets hurt and needs to be removed.
Fuimaono, who has been on a mission the past two years, broke his foot before practice even began, and will be out for a while.
“It’s frustrating for him, for sure,” Rodriguez said. “He’s been waiting two years to play. But the good thing about it, if there is a good thing, is that it was early enough that by time we start playing games, hopefully he’ll be back in the mix. He’ll do a lot of stuff in the pool. For a guy like that who’s like a freshman, starting all over again, he’s missing some valuable time. We’ll get him back at some point.”
• After having NCAA clearinghouse issues last year with freshmen Luca Bruno and Pierre Cormier, Rodriguez said the only freshman this year with a question mark is offensive tackle Jordan Poland.
The Wildcats are still waiting to hear back from the NCAA about him. Rodriguez said he wasn’t too worried because Poland is “likely to be redshirted anyway.”
• Rodriguez was asked about having his entire coaching staff back from last season and not having any turnover. He’s talked about it before, but I thought his thoughts on it tonight were insightful: “Having some staff continuity is good as long as there isn’t any complacency, and there is no complacency with my guys. I think the continuity is really good. The players know how to respond to these coaches. I’m really pleased with that. “
• The coach said similar things about LSU defensive end transfer Jordan Allen tonight as he did in Los Angeles at Pac-12 Media Days: “He’s an experienced guy. He’s come in and work hard. He’s learned quickly. When you’re bringing in a fifth year guy like, you expect him to play and he’ll play. With Reggie Gilbert, Dan Pettinato and Jordan Allen, we have three solid guys.”
Thanks for reading. I'll have more tomorrow.