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Arizona football: Rodriguez switches practices to 6 p.m.

2012-07-20T00:00:00Z 2013-11-13T19:32:51Z Arizona football: Rodriguez switches practices to 6 p.m.Ryan Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
July 20, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Rich Rodriguez will change the Arizona Wildcats' practice routine in his first year as head coach, even if it means occasionally tussling with Mother Nature.

The UA will open training camp Aug. 2 with an evening practice on campus. Rodriguez said Thursday that he plans to hold 6 p.m. workouts all month long leading up to the team's Sept. 1 opener against Toledo, though he could switch if weather forecasts call for monsoon rains.

Southern Arizona's summer storms typically hit in the late afternoons and early evenings. Former coach Mike Stoops held early-morning practices to avoid rainouts; Rodriguez will take a wait-and-see approach.

"I want our guys to be ready to play at 6 p.m., because most of our games are at night," Rodriguez said. "Now, I can see us getting frustrated with some monsoons and having to move some things around and adjust that. We'll see how that goes."

A new head coach and massive construction project has forced the Wildcats to change their practice plans this summer.

Arizona will hold most of its training camp at Kindall/Sancet Stadium, the former home of the UA's baseball team. Grounds crews sodded over the dirt infield and leveled the pitcher's mound three weeks ago, giving the team nearly two full football fields on which to practice.

Arizona will use the Jimenez Practice Facility sparingly until school starts in late August. After that, Jimenez - the recently renovated fields just south of McKale Center - will serve as an intramural hub for the UA's campus recreation department.

The practice field shuffle began once construction crews broke ground on the $72 million Lowell-Stevens Football Facility in January. The north end zone construction has made nearby Bear Down Field, home of on-campus intramurals, unusable for at least the next year.

The UA athletic department vowed to find a suitable replacement.

"We felt a responsibility to do it," athletic director Greg Byrne said, "since we were taking over their field."

Rodriguez will have more options once construction is finished. The team is expected to hold many of its practices inside Arizona Stadium starting in 2013, especially if - as expected - the Wildcats replace the existing grass with FieldTurf. Kindall/Sancet and Jimenez would be available, too, for a change of pace.

"It's going to be a good situation for us in (future) camps," Rodriguez said, "to use all three."

Grandon, Ebbele officially back

Offensive tackle Fabbians Ebbele and defensive back Jourdon Grandon have officially rejoined the team, two months after Tucson City Court judges dismissed the assault charges facing them.

Grandon, Ebbele and three other Wildcats were arrested and charged following a pair of fights at a campus-area party March 2. The other three players - offensive lineman Eric Bender-Ramsay, defensive tackle Justin Washington and safety Jared Tevis - were arrested on suspicion of trespassing.

Ebbele and Grandon were suspended for all of spring drills, though they remained close to the program.

Rodriguez said the two "paid a price" for their decisions.

"You don't have to be a top-five team in the country to know that there are going to be eyes on you, and your actions are going to be seen by everybody," Rodriguez said. "You better be able to handle yourself the right way."

Hall, Baucus still out

Safety Adam Hall and offensive lineman Jack Baucus will miss the start of training camp as they recover from offseason knee injuries, Rodriguez said.

While Baucus is expected back, Hall - a Palo Verde High School product and the team's projected starter at safety - will likely miss the entire season. Hall has been rehabbing his injury "a lot on his own," Rodriguez said, but will join the team for the start of training camp. He'll work with trainers but won't count toward the roster limit of 105 players, Rodriguez said.

Hall tore the ACL in his right knee during the Wildcats' April 14 spring game at Kino Stadium. The injury was his second in a year.

KEY DATES

• Tuesday: Pac-12 Media Day in Universal City, Calif.

• Aug. 1: Players report to camp

• Aug. 2: First practice at Kindall/Sancet Stadium

• Aug. 8: Team leaves for Fort Huachuca

• Aug. 9-11: Workouts at Fort Huachuca, times TBA

• Aug. 19: Meet-the-team function inside McKale Center (no scrimmage), time TBA

• Sept. 1: Season opener against Toledo at Arizona Stadium

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


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