Press Conference - 9/26/00 - Pre-Stanford
On Stanford's Pac-10 success:
"It takes a lot of confidence to win at this level. I think that one of the most important things that you have to do is to win the close games, and Stanford has won a lot of them in the last year. Their defense has really been the part of their team that has been unheralded. Willie Howard and Riall Johnson are the most nationally known players, but I think the hidden component of their team has been the defense. Texas' longest run in the second half was two yards. I have never seen a team like Texas do something like that, that's just unheard of.
On Stanford QB Chris Lewis:
"He was terrific (against Texas). He came in and they did not miss a beat, and he made some terrific throws. He went to high school at Long Beach Poly, so when he was in the skeleton drills during the summer, it was probably as competitive as it has been for him in college. There are so many athletes all over the field there.
On the Stanford defense:
"They are very experienced (up front). The strength of the defense is directly related to the defensive line. Willie Howard played in the Rose Bowl game with a torn ACL, and he was great. Riall Johnson was one of the leading sack guys in our conference last year, and he is looking as good this year, too.
On the bye week:
"I think it went well. We got some people healthier. We got a head start on Stanford, and then we got a chance to work on a lot of the fundamental things. We also got a lot of team things done like getting some of the kids registered to vote, which is something that we have done every year.
"We are contemplating surgery with (offensive guard) Steven Grace. He has been having trouble sleeping because he will roll over onto his shoulder and the pain will be so great. That is still a little ways from playing football, so we are going to be looking at him having surgery. All of the other guys are one week closer to being healthy.
"I think this is going to be the biggest test for our defense. Ohio State did a lot of good things, but Stanford has so many weapons and they are a very tough team to defense. They have a lot of versatility in the passing game, good tailbacks and a lot of good wide receivers. Their tight ends also have done some good things.
On Arizona's rushing game:
"They key to the rushing attack has been to block people. We have played some good, aggressive defenses, but we have not played the best defenses that we will down the road. As we go on, I would like to see one of the running backs really make himself standout. I think that one of the most important things is that good running backs make something out of nothing, and we started to see that against San Diego State.
"The conference just looks to be so competitive. There are no easy Saturdays for anyone. There may be some scores that look like that, but that is going to be because of turnovers and mistakes in the kicking game and other mistakes like that.
On Arizona WR Andrae Thurman:
"Andrae has really given O.J. (QB Ortege Jenkins) confidence in his ability to catch the ball. He caught three or four passes in that no-huddle drive against San Diego State right before halftime. Before, he was so young, and so immature that he was not consistent on every snap. He gives us better, more options. We know that when we rotate our receivers in, there is one more person who can really do some good things."