The first three games of Arizona’s football season did not reveal much, other than the fact that the Wildcats were better than some substantially inferior opponents.
Their first two Pac-12 contests may not have told much about them either, as road losses to Washington and USC were tough, but perhaps expected.
Saturday’s home game against Utah, though, may have been a different story. The Utes may have been coming off a big upset win over the Stanford Cardinal, but it was still a game most had penciled in as a “W” for a Wildcats team that appears to be on the bowl game bubble.
And though it wasn’t exactly pretty, Arizona ended the night with a 35-24 victory.
“It was a nice win,” Rodriguez told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and Wolf Tuesday. “That’s a big, physical team, a mature team, and we had a little adversity at times but our guys hung in there and got the nice win.”
The win improved the Wildcats’ record to 4-2 (1-2), which has them behind the leaders but still in the Pac-12 South race. Record-wise, most probably pegged Arizona to be where they’re at, but Rodriguez is more focused on whether or not his team is improving along the way.
“And I think we have, that’s the good part about it,” he said, pointing to skill positions on offense and the depth on defense. “We still have some concerns, too, but we’re working to try to fix those.”
One thing Rodriguez said he’s not concerned with is his team’s focus heading into a game against what might be the worst team in the conference, Colorado. The Buffaloes are 3-3 (0-3), and have lost their three conference games to Oregon State, Oregon and Arizona State — each of whom appears destined for a quality bowl game — by an average of 36.3 points per contest.
“Our guys are pretty smart — particularly when they watch the film — they see that Colorado is better,” Rodriguez said, adding that the final scores have not exactly reflected how well the Buffaloes played, especially against Oregon. “Plus, playing on the road in the Pac-12, as everyone has seen nowadays, is really, really difficult.”
The coach said during the week his team’s focus is on itself.
“Our main focus is on what we do and how we’ve got to do it better.”