Arizona Football: Rich Rodriguez Says Playbook Will Open Up vs. UNLV

Brian PedersenFeatured ColumnistSeptember 5, 2013

Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez says he won't be as conservative in his play-calling this week.
Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez says he won't be as conservative in his play-calling this week.Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The opener was nice, but now comes a tougher challenge for the University of Arizona—namely, a road game.

The Wildcats (1-0) visit UNLV (0-1) on Saturday in a Pac-12/Mountain West matchup that should give a much better indication of what Arizona's 2013 season is going to look like than its rather easy 35-0 win over FCS foe Northern Arizona on Aug. 30.

Arizona used a rather conservative playbook for the win over NAU, running less than 50 offensive plays and throwing the ball just 13 times. Coach Rich Rodriguez told reporters to expect a much more explosive (and varied) attack against UNLV.

"We need to be able to throw the ball a lot better than Friday night," said Rodriguez, whose team averaged 298 yards and almost 41 passes per game in 2012. "I was really conservative in the play calling. But going forward, we need to throw the ball because teams are going to put everyone up front if you aren't throwing the ball."

While UNLV is by no means considered a high-quality opponent—the Rebels allowed 51 points to Minnesota in a season-opening loss Aug. 29 and were 2-11 last year, losing at home to NAU in the process—it hasn't kept Rodriguez from laying into his players this week for not appearing pumped up for the next game.

Fox Sports Arizona's Steve Rivera reported Rodriguez called a team meeting after Tuesday's practice to make sure he was getting his point across. Consequently, there was no media access to players or coaches that day.

Arizona was without starting tailback Ka'Deem Carey for the NAU game. Carey, a junior who led all FBS players in rushing in 2012, was suspended for the game "per team policy," as school officials put it. His replacement, senior Daniel Jenkins, caught a touchdown pass and also ran one from 91 yards out, and as a result, will get the start against UNLV, according to Daniel Berk of the Arizona Daily Star.