Press Conference - 10/17/00 - Pre-Oregon
On playing in Autzen Stadium:
"The problem with playing up there is Oregon's team. There is a lot of noise that takes some time to adjust to, but the team is the main problem. If you take a look at the conference stats, they are number one in a lot of categories. If they had a bad team, and the crowd was loud so that you couldn't hear, that wouldn't be much of a challenge. We have lost a lot of close games up there because they have outplayed us. We can't let uncontrollable, external circumstances get in our way. We understand the circumstances up there, but it still boils down to the team that we are playing. If we unsuccessful, then it will be a result of the team that we play.
On the Pacific-10 Conference:
"Since 1993, Arizona has been the team with the most wins in the conference, and Oregon has the second most. To see those two at the top of the list in the last eight years surprises some people, but it you're awake than you'll see that. At the beginning of the season, the rest of the country thought that all was right because USC and UCLA were back on top, with Washington, too. Now, they're flabbergasted with what has happened. This conference still has 10 teams in it, and all 10 are capable of beating one another."
"I think that we've proved we're not a great defense (after the Washington State game). We still have the chance to be a great team if we execute our assignments, but we did not do that last week. We did have a lot of key plays at a lot of key times. I think it was a big game for O.J. (quarterback Ortege Jenkins). He had an interception returned for a touchdown, which is always a tough thing for a quarterback to deal with, but he was able to come back into the huddle with clear eyes and make some good things happen."
"We've had teams in 1998 and now this year where the expectations were not as high as they were with last year's team. Look at our (1998-99) basketball team that had the exact same players back after winning the championship, and they did not do as well. People really get caught up in that thing (how many players are returning). This team is hungrier in general."
"If we get personal satisfaction out of this game, it is going to come at the end of the season. So far, there are victories, but that is all they are so far. We are going to try to finish the season so that we feel good about what happens. It is very conceivable in this league that some of the teams that were closer to the bottom will be at the top and vice versa. As far as satisfaction as a personal thing so far, if you had told me at the beginning of the season that we wo9uld be without Bruce Wiggins, Makoa Freitas and (Steven) Grace, I'd have signed up to go on a mission or something."
"You have to assume that every game you play in the conference is for the championship. In reality, every game could be for the championship because of our conference's rules and the way the tie-breaker goes. We try to tell our players that every play could be for the championship."
"I think that our wide receiver corps has grown this year. I was a little disappointed last week that we dropped three touchdown passes, but Malosi (Leonard) came back and made the catch of the game. Malosi really gets as much out of what he physically has as anyone on the team. Bobby (Wade) is growing by leaps and bounds. Brandon Marshall and Andrae Thurman are getting better by the week, and Brad (Brennan) is making a lot of progress, too. Brad really hadn't practiced for a full year, so he is just going to keep getting better. Gary Love has done a great job on special teams, and Lance Relford had the hit of the week on special teams."
On freshman cornerback Michael Jolivette:
"Michael has shown maturity far beyond his days this year. It is just incredible what he has done so far, but the great thing is that he still has a lot of things he can do better. I know he doesn't like to be compared to people, but to be compared to Brandon (Sanders) is an honor. I think that pound-for-pound, Brandon Sanders is the best football player in Arizona history. Michael is so cerebral, so bright, but he is also very intense and serious. He is dead serious about winning."