When Rich Rodriguez first arrived at Arizona, he was a man looking for redemption.
Still upset with how things ended at Michigan — and even West Virginia — Rodriguez came to Tucson looking to win and to reset a career that had gotten off the rails after a rocky three-year stay with the Wolverines, where his teams went 15-22.
But during his first two seasons with the Wildcats, the word “Michigan” was rarely said by the head coach. It was often replaced with “that school from the Big Ten” or “the place I was at before.”
Maybe it’s back-to-back eight-win seasons, or the fact that current Michigan coach Brady Hoke is taking his turn on the hot seat, or maybe Rodriguez has just changed his outlook. But the coach had no problem talking about — or saying — Michigan this week.
At a Pac-12 media day on Wednesday, Rodriguez not only talked Michigan, he also talked Rose Bowl.
When talking about having a chip on his shoulder throughout his career, Rodriguez brought up his time in Ann Arbor.
“Everybody asks if I’d like to play Michigan in a Rose Bowl; I’d like to be there, I don’t want them to be there,” Rodriguez told the Star. “That’s just me. Let’s play Ohio State or somebody and beat them.”
Showing it wasn’t an aberration, Rodriguez brought up the Wolverines again Friday when visiting ESPN with the rest of the Pac-12 coaches. The coach appeared on the radio show “The Herd” with guest host Jorge Sedano, who asked Rodriguez if he had any regrets in his career.
He first talked about West Virginia: “When I left West Virginia, I have a few regrets that I didn’t have a press conference to explain why.”
When he shifted to Michigan, he spoke with the same fire he did on Wednesday.
“There were regrets at Michigan, but not as many as you think,” Rodriguez said. “I just didn’t have the opportunity to finish the deal there. But I really haven’t had many regrets in how I’ve coached and how I’ve interacted with the kids.”
The coach will likely go back to his non-talking ways about Michigan once the UA’s fall camp opens Saturday.
Cody Creason knew he wanted to commit to a college before his senior year of high school.
He surveyed the calendar a few weeks ago and settled on early August as an ideal time-frame to pledge to a school.
And then he visited Tucson.
After spending the day at Arizona on Friday, Creason, a three-star offensive lineman from Folsom, California, committed to the Wildcats Sunday morning.
Listed at 6 feet 4 inches and 285 pounds, Creason is an interior lineman, who chose Arizona over ASU, Cal and Utah.
He also had offers from Oregon, Oregon State, Washington State and others.
“Some other recruits had told me how good it was when they went there and sometimes that’s true and sometimes it’s not,” Creason said. “With Arizona, it was true. I saw it for myself and knew that’s where I wanted to play.”
He’s rated as a four-star prospect by 247sports.com, who also ranked Creason as the ninth-best offensive guard in the country.
In their composite rankings (factoring in all recruiting services), he’s ranked 24th.
Creason is the third offensive lineman in the 2015 class and second guard, joining Alex Kosinski.
All total, Arizona now has 19 known commitments for 2015. Creason is the eighth player from California to commit to the UA.
Creason visited Arizona State on Saturday, before returning to California. He made his decision after meeting with his family.
Former BYU center moving to tight end
Rodriguez and the Wildcats have gotten creative with their newest tight end.
Former BYU center Blair Tushaus is on Arizona’s roster as a tight end, and will help provide some depth at a thin position.
Tushaus, an invited walk-on, spent four seasons at BYU and received his degree. As a result, he can play this season for Arizona and doesn’t have to sit out.
Tushaus played 15 games over the 2011 and 2012 seasons at center for the Cougars. He was listed on BYU’s roster at 6-2, 270, but has trimmed down to 239 pounds.
“He’s a pretty good football player,” Rodriguez said. “He’s a tough guy. He can probably help us at least on special teams.”
Tushaus is originally from Scottsdale and played at Notre Dame Prep.
Arizona now has five tight ends on their roster in Tushaus, Josh Kern, Aaron Lacombe, Hunter Layton and Trevor Wood. Only Kern — a converted quarterback — and Wood are on scholarship.
Kicking game update
Also on Arizona’s updated roster is kicker/punter Josh Pollack.
Pollack committed to the UA last summer, and was going to go on scholarship, but didn’t sign with the Wildcats in February. Instead, Pollack walked on this season and will likely go on scholarship after the season.
Pollack will compete with Casey Skowron in camp for place-kicker duties. Pollack is from Highland Park, Illinois, and is listed at 5-10, 182.
Jack Flatau, a redshirt last season, will also vie for the job. Skowron, a former manager for the UA women’s soccer team, and Pollack appear to be the front-runners.