TUCSON, Ariz. — Arizona football coach Rich Rodriguez has long talked about depth problems and injuries and how his team cannot suffer through the latter because of the former.
But injuries will happen — last week Tra’Mayne Bondurant (spur) suffered what might have been a concussion, while Jared Tevis (bandit) is out with a knee injury.
What Rodriguez can try to control is the team’s sleep habits. Or at least monitor them. On Monday, Rodriguez said UA is looking into how much sleep his student-athletes get during the season.
“The newest thing nowawdays particularly for elite athletes (and that’s what they are) is the benefit of getting eight to nine hours of sleep every night; it’s actually critical,” Rodriguez said on Monday as Arizona gets ready for a road game at Colorado on Saturday. “We give them curfew, but I’m not going to be in everyone’s bedroom every night.”
Rodriguez said he spoke with sleep consultants on Monday.
“I do think there is a direct reflection particularly as your team goes through the season — and are a thin team like we are — from a depth standpoint that they are taking care of themselves,” he said.
Rodriguez admitted he was not an eight-hours-a-night guy. “But I’d love to be,” he said. “I could find the time.”
He did say that he got a good sleep after Saturday’s 35-24 win over Utah.
“I didn’t sleep well the last two weeks before this last one,” he said.
Yes, Rodriguez said he’s proud of Ka’Deem Carey, the nation’s leader rusher in yards per game (161) and the Pac-12 offensive player of the week for his 238-yard effort vs. Utah.
“That’s nice. Congratulations,” Rodriguez said. “I’ll give him a pat on the back.”
When asked about having some time to reflect on Carey being a local guy who is doing well and how thankful he is to having him on the team, Rodriguez said, “congratulations to Coach (Mike) Stoops and his staff for recruiting him.”
Rodriguez then said his coaches didn’t “brag or talk about him a lot” because it’s just the way they are, but “we are proud of him. I’m lucky he’s on our team. He plays really hard.”
Denker getting it done
Arizona senior quarterback B.J. Denker may not be your prototypical quarterback but he’s getting things done. He is now 4-2 this season as the starter, and he’s moving the ball vertically more in recent weeks.
Against Southern California, he had eight pass completions for more than 20 yards, and he repeated that against Utah — after passing for 20 yards or more just four times in the first four games.
“I saw his confidence growing towards the end of the USC game,” Rodriguez said. “He’s trusting (his) footwork, the timing and the play itself. There are still a few times where he’s hesitating, but I hope he’s getting more confident. B.J. can throw the ball, and we’ve got wide receivers that can get open.”
What’s helped Denker succeed is his ability to run. He’s gained 327 yards on 75 carries and has four runs of 30 yards or more. He ranks 10th in the Pac-12 in rushing yards per game at 54.5 ypg.
“He’s got a little bit of moves; he’s not fast fast, but he’s fast enough to get out of trouble,” Rodriguez said.
The official injury report won’t come out until Thursday but Rodriguez said he’s not sure what the status of Tevis and Bondurant will be for Saturday’s game at Colorado.
They were replaced by Anthony Lopez, a 5-foot-11 sophomore, and William Parks, a 6-1 sophomore, against Utah.
“Anthony Lopez and Will Parks came in and did a good job,” Rodriguez said. “Tra’Mayne and Jared are two of our best players. We hope we can get them back but for Anthony’s first outing with extended playing time, he did a solid job.”