UA FOOTBALL

Arizona at Pac-12 Media Day: Questions Cats must answer

Legal issues, defense, offseason changes, QB choice are top topics
2013-07-26T00:00:00Z 2013-07-26T09:08:22Z Arizona at Pac-12 Media Day: Questions Cats must answerDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
July 26, 2013 12:00 am  • 

LOS ANGELES - Rich Rodriguez traveled to the ESPN studios Thursday and, for few hours, turned it into RRSPN.

The Arizona Wildcats' second-year coach appeared on nine different programs and participated in an ESPN.com chat. The second-year boss was asked about player safety, recruiting, his All-America running back and different rules and regulations he'd like to see changed.

Today, Rodriguez will head to Los Angeles and presumably do it all over again.

Rodriguez, linebacker Jake Fischer and wide receiver Terrence Miller will represent the UA at Pac-12 media day. The three UA representatives will address the press at 11:30 a.m.

Here are five topics that Rodriguez is sure to be asked about today:

1. The lawsuit. Fischer and kicker Jake Smith made headlines last week when they joined Ed O'Bannon's antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA, EA Sports and Collegiate Licensing Co.

The suit, originally filed in 2009 by O'Bannon, a former UCLA basketball star, accuses the NCAA of using the players' names, likeness and images without compensating the players.

Fischer and Smith have been credited with leading the charge after the two did an interview with ESPN's Outside the Lines. Rodriguez and Fischer will certainly be asked about the lawsuit and the potential distractions it could bring upon the UA this season.

2. Offseason roster changes. Fifteen players who were on the roster before spring drills began are no longer with the team. Some were walk-ons, who decided to quit. Others are bigger losses.

Wide receiver Tyler Slavin, who caught the winning touchdown in the New Mexico Bowl, left the program in June. Safety Patrick Onwuasor was dismissed from the program this week after being arrested and charged with four felony drug and gun crimes.

Defensive end Dame Ndiaye, wide receiver Jarrell Bennett and running back J.T. Washington all chose to transfer. Safety Vince Miles, a walk-on who played in 12 of the team's 13 games last season, also left the program.

Rodriguez hasn't addressed any of their absences with the exception of a short statement regarding Onwuasor.

3. Ka'Deem Carey. This one is obvious for a couple of reasons.

First, Carey is the team's best player. He led the nation in rushing year and set the UA's single-season record for rushing yards in a season. The consensus All-American is back this year with higher expectations.

Carey, however, comes with baggage. Carey was facing misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct charges from an altercation with his then-pregnant ex-girlfriend. Those charges were later dropped.

Carey was also kicked out of a UA-UCLA basketball game at McKale Center following a verbal altercation with a security guard.

4. The quarterback competition. Rodriguez will replace Matt Scott with one of three quarterbacks. B.J.Denker seems to have the early advantage because he's the most familiar with the UA's offense after serving as Scott's backup last season. Denker worked with the first team in spring drills and seems to be the furthest along.

But he'll have some competition.

Transfer Jesse Scroggins missed most of spring as he recovered from foot surgery but is healthy now and will get a chance to impress coaches in fall camp. Incoming freshman Anu Solomon will also try to get in the mix.

Uncertainty at the team's most important position will certainly bring questions Rodriguez's way.

5. Defense. When your team gives up 499 yards and more than 35 points per game, it becomes a hot topic.

The UA returns several starters from last year's team, which, Rodriguez recently pointed out, is both a good thing and a bad thing. The players gained experience in defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel's system last year, but they must improve individually this season for the unit to be better.

Rodriguez has seemingly talked about his defense in almost every offseason interview he has done. He can expect more today.

Daniel Berk's Poll

Star UA football reporter Daniel Berk filed his preseason poll in advance of today's Pac-12 media day, where it will be announced.

Pac-12 North

1. Oregon

2. Stanford

3. Oregon State

4. Washington

5. Cal

6. Washington State

Pac-12 South

1. USC

2. UCLA

3. Arizona State

4. Arizona

5. Utah

6. Colorado

Pac-12 Championship Game

Oregon over USC

Live coverage today on StarNet

Arizona Daily Star reporters Daniel Berk and Zack Rosenblatt are in Los Angeles and will deliver updates throughout Pac-12 Media Day. Follow them via:

• Tweets, pictures and more in a live blog at live.azstarnet.com

• The official Arizona Daily Star mobile app (iPhone and Android) and iPad app

• News stories on azstarnet.com

• On Twitter @DSBerk and @ZackBlatt

• And if you just can't get enough, visit the Pac-12's site for live video of the news conferences at pac-12.com

Also on StarNet: Keep up with all the football team's happenings on Berk's blog at azstarnet.com/berk

Catch the latest news and analysis on the Pac-12 with Patrick Finley at azstarnet.com/pac12pundit

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at dberk@azstarnet.com or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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