Rich Rodriguez just signed his first recruiting class for
the University of Arizona, adding 24 new players to a
roster that won just four games last season.
But his biggest challenge going forward?
“I think the biggest challenge that we face is changing a
little bit of the mindset and culture that maybe our guys
have right now that maybe we’re not the best program in
America,” Rodriguez told Arizona Sports 620’s Doug and
Rodriguez said he polled his team, asking who was the
best, and only about 10 players said Arizona.
“I can understand that, because they think the best
program in America is the one that wins national
championships,” he added. “Well, we’ve got to believe that we’re going to be the best program in America, and we’ve got to work to that end.”
The former West Virginia and Michigan coach said his
players have a good attitude and are working hard, but
they’ll need to take things to the next level.
“You’ve got to do a little extra, and I think that mind-set is the biggest challenge that we face right now,” he said.
So, really, it’s about perception. And whether it’s the
players on the team or just how people around the country
view Arizona football, that is what has to change.
Arizona Athletic Director Greg Byrne, who was also a guest
on Doug and Wolf, said that’s happening right now,
especially with the Pac-12’s new television contract.
“Kids are going to want to go to a place where they’re
going to be on TV, they can get exposure, their families
can watch them play,” he said. “And all of a sudden
Arizona and the Pac-12 is going to be talked about in
another light than we ever have before.”
Byrne said it’s up to the school to take advantage of
that, and that’s why they are working hard to promote the
University of Arizona brand every chance they get.
“Obviously Tucson’s our foundation, but we need to be
strong up here in Phoenix.”
It will help if they are also strong on the football
field, and Rodriguez seems to be well on his way to making