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Arizona prepares for Utah in 'tough, tough environment'

The Arizona Wildcats aren't looking at the Utah Utes' record to determine whether or not they'll be in for a dogfight come Saturday in Utah.

Christian Petersen

Rich Rodriguez will lead his Arizona Wildcats into a hostile environment when they face the Utah Utes in a Pac-12 clash on Saturday.

The Utes were expected to compete among the elite in the conference but have not lived up to their preseason expectations. Nevertheless, Rodriguez sees a team that mirrors what those expectations were based upon and he's letting his players know to be ready for that type of team, as he explained during his Monday press conference.

"I remember early in the year that they were projected to be the team to win the Pac-12. They are a veteran team. They're a big, physical team with a lot of playmakers. I see that same team."

The Utes had won two straight games before falling to the Washington Huskies on the road on Saturday, 34-15. But Rodriguez still thinks the Utes are in top shape heading into their game.

"They're playing their best football in the last couple of weeks. It's going to be their last game at home so it's going to be a really, really tough environment. We try to prepare our players for that."

One player Arizona is preparing for is Utah running back John White. The senior isn't having the same caliber season as he had last year but he will still pose plenty of problems for the Wildcats.

"He's a very fast guy and shifty. I think he's one of the best backs in the Pac-12. He's extremely explosive. He's not real big but he's not small. He's a strong runner and has great explosiveness. He's a really great football player."

The Wildcats will enter Saturday's game with a 6-4 overall record, 3-4 in the Pac-12 while the Utes come in at 4-6, 2-5 in the Pac-12.