It was at a practice at tiny Glenville State College in West Virginia that Rich Rodriguez invented the spread offense that's defined college football schematics for the past decade or so. Hey, look! Rich Rodriguez is running practice again! Wonder what he'll come up with this time?
The Arizona Wildcats begin spring ball on March 5, meaning Rodriguez is set to coach college ball for the first time since Michigan's 2011 Gator Bowl. He inherits a team with talent, a program with a blank slate and a fan base with realistic expectations -- we'll hope.
Task No. 1 for Rodriguez: get quarterback Matt Scott ready to roll. The redshirt senior seems well-suited to operating the coach's run-heavy spread style, and, well ... he'll kind of have to be, for the time being. The Arizona Daily Star runs through the QB depth chart:
Wide-receiver-turned-quarterback Richard Morrison will back Scott up during the spring, with walk-ons Tyler D'Amore and Alex Cappellini competing for the No. 3 spot.
Rodriguez said he expects incoming freshmen Javelle Allen and Josh Kern to push Scott once they enroll this summer.
Arizona Desert Swarm expects Morrison to return to receiver once the depth chart gets shored up.
And as Pac-12 blog Pacific Takes notes in its Arizona preview, Zona will also have to adjust to Jeff Casteel's 3-3-5 defense. Most of the team's talent is on that side of the ball, so for now, defense could be the relative strength, especially since Rodriguez' offenses have historically taken multiple years to ramp up to full potency:
So for the time being, defense might have to be Arizona's calling card. There are a handful of losses, including its top two tackers in senior linebackers Derek Earls and Paul Vassallo, sure, but it has some depth, especially in the secondary, which will be increasingly important under the team's new 3-3-5 scheme.
Safety Marquis Flowers, who finished with 68 total tackles and one interceptions a season ago is back. Others such as cornerback Shaquille Richardson, safety Tra'Mayne Bondurant and cornerback Jourdon Grandon round out what might prove to be the team's best overall unit.