Friday Fix: No. 22 Arizona grabs some national publicity heading into showdown with Oregon





ESPNU’s UNITE show aired a feature on the UA’s Jared Tevis and interviewed Daniel Jenkins this week

Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez’s crusade to make the Wildcats relevant again on the national scope is working significantly. The exposure goes well beyond the No. 22 ranking in the latest AP Top 25 poll. This week, Rodriguez was a guest on the Jim Rome Show. Also this week, walk-on, turned starter, turned key defensive player, safety Jared Tevis, was featured on ESPNU’s UNITE show. Backup running back Daniel Jenkins was also interviewed by Danny Kanell and the rest of the UNITE staff in that show. Jenkins was asked if he was looking at pretty girls in the stands after the UA took control of the game last week against South Carolina State. “Nah,” he said with a laugh. “We have to stay focused.” USA Today ran a story on Rodriguez on Tuesday in which it was revealed that the light-hearted coach wants to give out the best kind of Popsicle to a deserving player after practice. “Them bomb Popsicles. You know, the ones as a kid you love to have?” Rodriguez is quoted as saying. …

The last time Arizona felt this kind of love was ironically before another UA-Oregon game on Nov. 21, 2009. ESPN’s College GameDay came to Tucson and the Wildcats lost in a 44-41 double-overtime thriller to the Ducks. Siriux/XM college football analyst Rick Neuheisel, the former UCLA coach who also serves as an analyst for the Pac-12 Network, told listeners today to expect another high-scoring affair in Eugene, Ore., tomorrow. “It will be the highest-scoring game in college football this season,” Neuheisel said. “They will be checking the duck (Oregon’s mascot) for performance-enhancing drugs with all the push ups he’ll have to do by the third quarter (after Oregon scores).” … Anthony Gimino of TucsonCitizen.com documents it well that Arizona has not beaten a top 10 team on the road in 20 seasons. The last time was on Oct. 17, 1992, when the Wildcats won at No. 8 Stanford 21-6 in the middle of a magical five-game winning streak fueled by the Desert Swarm. Arizona has lost 12 consecutive games on the road to top 10 opponents since that game. The way Arizona can win is if it plays like it did against Oklahoma State — no turnovers with an opportunistic defense. Arizona and Oregon will get their yards. The game can come down to turnovers and how they either kill drives or open scoring opportunities. …

Adam Hall, who tore an ACL in his knee during spring practice, is out for the season and his future as a Wildcat is in question

No official word whether UA safety Adam Hall has left the football team, but he was not a part of it last week during the South Carolina State game. He was in Las Vegas celebrating his birthday. During the Oklahoma State game, Hall took part in tailgate festivities and watched the game in the student section. We may have seen the last game of Hall in an Arizona uniform. He has missed most of the last two seasons because of knee injuries. … You can’t help but think that NAU first-year men’s basketball coach Jack Murphy will remember the classic Arizona-Stanford game in 2004 when the Lumberjacks face new Big Sky Conference foe Southern Utah this season. Murphy would rather forget that game nine years ago when Stanford junior Nick Robinson picked up a loose ball and made a 35-foot shot at the buzzer to beat the 12th-ranked Wildcats 80-77 at Maples Pavilion. Robinson, 32 like Murphy, is the new coach at Southern Utah. Murphy was an Arizona team manager, recruiting coordinator, administrative assistant, video coordinator and director of operations at the time. If NAU beats Southern Utah on a buzzer beater, do you think Murphy will tell Robinson, “Payback is a …?” … The Delaware County Daily Times ran a story last week about Chester (Pa.) highly-touted recruit Rondae Jefferson, who has verbally committed to Arizona. Jefferson, a 6-6 small forward, is talented enough to start immediately next season and soften the loss of departing senior Solomon Hill. Jefferson told the Daily Times that when he gave his verbal commitment to Arizona during an in-home visit, Sean Miller “reached over, shook my hand and was like, ‘Thank you, man.'” Jefferson believes that he will make an instant impact. “I just feel like, when I get there, it’ll be my team,” Jefferson told the Daily Times. “I’m going to be the big piece on a team that’s going to win the ’chip. They pretty much said that. They treated me that way. They said that’s how they looked at me.” …

Jefferson is a unique talent. Although he is listed at 6-6 and 215 pounds, Jefferson can play point guard for the Wildcats if necessary. He handles the ball that well and has the quickness and arm length to defend small point guards. “Rondae has good talent and he wants to be recognized for it,” Chester coach Larry Yarbray told MaxPreps.com. “He can do anything on the court. He’ll be everything for us this year. He’s so versatile he can play anything from the one to the five. He may play center for us. There may be games where he’s doing everything from playing center to running the point. He’s a matchup problem for anyone. But if you ask me at the major level, I’d say he’s a three man or a point forward. He’s great with the ball in his hands.” … Kenny Lofton’s first year of post-game analysis for Los Angeles Dodgers broadcats on Fox Sports West means that five former players from Arizona’s first Final Four team of 1987-88 are involved in sports broadcasting. The others are Sean Elliott, a Spurs broadcaster; Steve Kerr, who analyzes NBA games for TNT and comments on the Final Four and national championship for CBS; Tom Tolbert, a former NBA analyst for NBC, ESPN and ABC who is now a co-host of radio show in the Bay area; and Matt Muehlebach, Arizona’s color commentator on radio broadcasts. Five broadcasters from one program is amazing enough, but from the same team? That team has the most charm of any Arizona basketball team. No other team will match that. …

Lofton also owns his own television production company called FilmPool, Inc. FilmPool is currently developing nine separate reality television shows and one scripted television show. … Another good read by Gimino this week is his update of where former Arizona assistant coaches are coaching this season. It appears that four of the coaches at Colorado will unfortunately be looking for employment elsewhere after this season. They are Greg Brown, defensive coordinator/safeties coach; Bobby Kennedy, wide receivers; Rip Scherer, assistant head coach/quarterbacks; and Mike Tuiasosopo/defensive line. … Finally, NBCSports.com published an article this week in which a debate is waged about who was the better program builder: Lute Olson or Jim Calhoun? Rob Dauster (Calhoun supporter) and Raphielle Johnson (Olson backer) each present compelling arguments (although I’d love to watch Lou Holtz and Mark May debate this one and every sports topic). After Dauster suggests that Calhoun’s multiple NCAA titles (three) are more impressive than Olson’s one, Johnson has a good comeback: “Oh here we go with the ‘titles’ talk. Yes titles are important, there’s no denying that. But let me ask you something: which power forward are you taking, Robert Horry (7 titles) or Charles Barkley (0 titles)? There’s the flaw in that argument, because winning a championship involves a certain level of luck in addition to skill. Were there a few forgettable ‘one and done’ trips for Olson? Yes, but to get your team to the tournament for 23 straight years is a major achievement. And in those 23 trips the Wildcats’ average seed was a 4-seed (4.4 to be exact).” Calhoun had some forgettable seasons mixed in with those three titles. Olson’s 23-year run was a magical ride that seemed like it would never end. …

Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner



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