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August 17, 2013
For those who went out to Fort Huachuca last week for Arizona's open practice that was originally supposed to be a scrimmage, expect more of the same on Saturday night.
The Wildcats will host a meet the team function, which will include a 6 p.m. practice followed by an autograph signing. Gate 2 at Arizona Stadium will open at 4:30 p.m.
While there will be a few "live tackling" periods - roughly 30 minutes worth - and some situational action, the practice will not mirror anything like, say, the spring game.
"It's more of what we're doing [at practice] than a true scrimmage. You won't be able to tell (the difference)," UA head coach Rich Rodriguez said. "We need more like a regular practice than a true scrimmage. We're just not ready for that, and that's kind of scary because we're two weeks away from a game."
In search of intangibles
When GOAZCATS.com caught up with Pac-12 Networks analyst and former UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel earlier in the week, he mentioned looking for anything and everything that helped create separation in a wide-open quarterback battle. There is more to it than just the on-field results in practice.
"You want a guy to do all the right stuff off the field, too," Rodriguez said. "In how he prepares for practice, how he prepares for the games, how they prepare for their offseason workouts.
"I think every quarterback at this level should be a gym rat. That means, a guy that just doesn't learn the game because you tell him to learn the game. He learns the game because he wants to know all the ins and outs and what everybody does. And I've talked to them about that.
"I want guys to be inquisitive and ask questions, and know not just what to do but why we're doing it."
Hunley visits team
It may have been 30 years since Ricky Hunley last wore a Wildcats uniform but his presence is still around the program.
His giant image cannot be missed in the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility weight room, and the players just have to look out to the newly painted centerfield wall at Kindall/Sancet Stadium to see the linebacker front and center on the mural of consensus All-Americans that have played for the school.
"I think if [the players] don't know who he is, they haven't been in the weight room enough," Rodriguez said.
Hunley spoke to the team after Friday afternoon's practice.
Rodriguez may preach "hard edge," but it is more than just a catchphrase. Players like Hunley demonstrated it from 1980-83 and parlayed it into a seven-year NFL career, Rodriguez said.
"Like I told him, this program was built on a lot of tough, hard-nosed football players for many, many years. That 'hard edge?' That's not something we invented; that's been the culture here for many years," Rodriguez said.