Pac-12: Pat White

RodriguezChris Coduto/Icon SMICoaches around the country have implemented parts of Rich Rodriguez's hurry-up spread offense.
Here's an interesting story from Andrea Adelson about "copycat coaches." It's interesting not only because it's a good topic but also, for our purposes, because its central figure is new Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez, arguably the father of the modern day, run-first spread-option attack.

Andrea sent over the Q&A she did with Rodriguez, which we're going to publish in its entirety. It includes lots of background on Rodriguez and his innovative offense, which has been copied by a lot of folks -- yes, including that guy up in Eugene.

Thanks to Andrea for doing all the legwork and writing a nice story.

When was the first time you had coaches asking for pointers on your offense?

Rich Rodriguez: When we went to Tulane, the second year we had a good year, with Shaun King. Then you had some games on TV, and that was the first time after that season that a lot of coaches started coming and visiting and calling. We beat BYU in a bowl game, and Lavell [Edwards] was the head coach, Norm Chow the offensive coordinator. So after the game, they said, ‘Would you come over and talk some football with us? I’m thinking are you kidding me? This is Norm Chow and Lavell Edwards, the passing gurus. I said I’ll do it on one condition. You have to give me some of your information, too. You have to teach me what you’re doing. Norm and I have been friends since that time. It was a great trip.

What was your connection with Tommy Bowden at Tulane?

RR: At Glenville, I went to the Bowden Passing Academy and I always talked football. Tommy had taken an interest in what we were doing. We never worked together when he called me to be offensive coordinator. It was really flattering. I asked, ‘Will you let me run my offense?’ He said sure. Tommy was the first big name, big coach, who took an interest in what we were doing. When we went to Tulane, there were a few folks. At Clemson, we saw a few more. Then at West Virginia, it wasn’t as good the first year we were there, but after that it took off again. I can remember Urban [Meyer], when he first got the Bowling Green job, we were at a coaches convention hospitality bar. He told me, ‘I’d like to run some of your offense.’ So he sent his whole staff for a week, we traded some ideas and so we always traded ideas. The Oklahoma guys, Bob Stoops and I became friends. They would come to our place or we’d go to Oklahoma and spend the week. After the Sugar Bowl year in the 2005 season, we had a whole bunch more. Some 30 different staffs come in, Penn State, Ohio State some non-traditional non-spread coaching staffs. I said maybe I am being too open, but I thought it was a great opportunity for us to learn, too. To pick their brains.

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Most important player: Arizona

April, 9, 2012
4/09/12
1:00
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All players are equal, but some players are more equal than others. That's the basis of our Most Important Player series.

First off, quarterbacks are exclude to make things more interesting. It goes without saying that Arizona's Matt Scott, USC's Matt Barkley and Washington's Keith Price are their teams' most important players. Their loss would be catastrophic.

And most important doesn't necessarily have to be "best." An All-American's backup can be pretty darn good, too.

Our most important guys are players who could swing a win total one way or the other, based on their living up to expectations. Or their absence.

We start at the beginning of the alphabet.

Arizona: RB Ka'Deem Carey

2011 production: Carey was second on the Wildcats with 449 yards rushing. He averaged 4.7 yards per carry, and led the team with six rushing touchdowns. He also caught 15 passes for 203 yards -- 13.5 yards per reception -- with two scores. And he was the team's No. 1 kickoff returner.

Why Carey is so important: New coach Rich Rodriguez runs a spread-option. He likes to run the ball. A lot. He's had his best success when he has an athletic quarterback and an A-list running back, most notably quarterback Pat White and running back Steve Slaton at West Virginia. Wildcats quarterback Matt Scott can run the ball well. The problem is quarterback depth. There is none. So every time Scott keeps the ball, everyone on Arizona's sideline will be holding his breath. What Rodriguez needs is for Carey to become a workhorse -- a 20-25 carries a game guy who also catches three or four passes a game. The 5-foot-10, 203-pound true sophomore is talented enough to become an All-Conference sort. Further, as a Tucson native, his success would juice the local fan base. The Wildcats aren't lacking depth at tailback. Daniel Jenkins is quick and solid. Kylan Butler has raised an eyebrow or two this spring. Greg Nwoko and Taimi Tutogi are bigger, fullback sorts. But none of them are guys who can take over a game. Carey has that sort of talent. RichRod needs Carey to become The Man for the Wildcats' offense, which likely will need to score a lot of points to offset a questionable defense.

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