Khalil Tate ‘will learn from it’ after Arizona Wildcats loss to USC
Notes and takeaways from Arizona Wildcats coach Rich Rodriguez’s weekly Monday news conference at the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility.
* After four straight weeks of winning the Pac-12′s Offensive Player of the Week award — which has never been done in conference history — Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate wasn’t nominated for his performance against USC, and thus the streak ended at four. Washington State quarterback Luke Falk won this week.
* About Tate’s performance, UA coach Rich Rodriguez indicated that Tate was perhaps pressing a little too much at the outset of the game, which is to be expected for Tate, a Southern California native playing against USC, a roster filled with some of his former high school teammates. Once he settled down in the third quarter, Rodriguez said he “started letting the game come to him” and that helped spur Arizona’s comeback.
Rodriguez: “Khalil is a competitor and sometimes you’ve got to let the game come to you and when you’re a dynamic athlete like he is sometimes you just want to try and take charge and dictate to the game. A lot of times you’ve got to let the game come to you and take what they give you and be patient a little bit.”
* Rodriguez said talk of the Heisman trophy as it relates to Tate isn’t really a concern. “Any mention of it is nice for the young men and their family and the program,” Rodriguez said. “But I think that’s the furthest thing from our mind and probably the furthest thing form his mind.”
* Rodriguez touched on his issues with all of Arizona’s late kick-offs, which I’ll be writing about tonight. The story will be available on Tucson.com and in tomorrow’s print edition. Arizona’s kickoff on Saturday against Oregon State is at 8:15 p.m. Arizona’s gametime for Oregon next week won’t be announced until Sunday.
* Rodriguez said safety Scottie Young was a bit rusty coming off a knee injury that held him out of Arizona’s previous two games. The freshman had five tackles against USC. “He’s going to be OK,” Rodriguez said.
* Running back Nick Wilson (ankle) “should be ready to go” this week. Wilson missed the Washington State game and Arizona eased him in against USC, giving him two carries on the night against USC, both in the second half.
* UA redshirt freshman receiver DeVaughn Cooper seems to be emerging in Arizona’s wide receiver rotation. Rodriguez said he wants to rotate more players in at the position to spell Shun Brown and Tony Ellison, who play almost every snap and mentioned Cooper and Tyrell Johnson as guys likely to earn more playing time. About Cooper, Rodriguez said “he’s a pretty dynamic guy.”