Rodriguez: 'ASU is very explosive on both sides'
So when his No. 24 Wildcats welcome cross-state rival Arizona State to Tucson for the annual matchup this Friday, Rodriguez said he knows from experience that psyching up his players won't be problem. He just needs to make sure they stay focused.
"As far as getting them excited and emotionally ready, it should be easier than any game because of the rivalry, because of the intensity and because we hear about it all year," Rodriguez told Arizona Sports 620's Doug and Wolf. "What you have to do is make sure your execution is there. When you start getting too emotional or forgetting about how to execute and just run your play then I think you're going to hurt your team."
As for his opponents, who are coming off a 46-7 dismantling of Washington State this past Saturday, Rodriguez said he expects Arizona State to bring a well-balanced attack from both sides of the ball, but is confident his team will be prepared.
Rodriguez went on to say his team will have to maintain its composure if it hopes to slow down a Sun Devil offense led by sophomore quarterback Taylor Kelly, who's coming of a four touchdown performance against the Cougars.
"I just think you have to be sound defensively because if you don't, when you run that type of offense where [Kelly's] got multiple reads and you lack discipline, all of a sudden the guy is going to be wide open and Taylor Kelly has been really impressive with finding that guy all year," said Rodriguez.
Besides a very formidable pass offense, the Sun Devils boast the No. 1 pass defense in the Pac-12 and have accumulated the most sacks in the nation. Rodriguez said the Arizona State defense will bring a type play his team hasn't seen all year, specifically pointing to junior defensive tackle Will Sutton and senior linebacker Brandon Magee.
"They are aggressive and they bring a lot of pressure. They've got one of the first guys you want on your team in Will Sutton and the way he plays defense is phenomenal. He's a tremendous player and Magee is a great linebacker," said Rodriguez. "They're athletic, they play hard and they bring a lot of pressure. So you've got to be ready for all their looks. Our guys have done a good with that all year but at the same time we're going to see some different looks we haven't seen so we've got to work hard this week to be ready for it."
- Bearing Down with Adam and Jarrett - 3/29 - Friday March 29The season has come to an end in the most excruciating of ways. Adam and Jarrett break down the loss
- Bearing Down with Adam and Jarrett - 3/26 - Tuesday March 26The Wildcats are in the Sweet 16 for the second time in four years. Should we be impressed? Are we w
- Bearing Down with Adam and Jarrett - 3/19 - Tuesday March 19Tournaments for everyone! Adam and Jarrett talk about the Pac-12 Tournament result and then Arizona'
- Mike DeCourcy, Sporting News CBB Insider - Monday March 18Doug and Wolf ask DeCourcy what he thinks about this year's NCAA Tournament bracket.
- Bearing Down with Adam and Jarrett - 3/12 - Tuesday March 12A nice win over Arizona State is followed by the Pac-12 Tournament. How do the Wildcats look? Adam a