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Monday Press Conference Transcript
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 09/10/2012
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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TUCSON, Ariz. University of Arizona Wildcat football head coach Rich Rodriguez and select players met with media members at a weekly press conference on Monday. Below is a brief transcript.

Head Coach Rich Rodriguez

On being ranked:

“It’s kind of nice I guess. We didn’t talk much about us being ranked, but just staying glued to the process. Doing what we like to call keeping ‘the main thing the main thing’.”

On watching the game film:

“I thought we played pretty hard. Offensively we were more aggressive, I think. We finished drives, which was good. Matt (Scott)  was sharp most of the night but there were probably 10 to 12 plays that he’d like to have back and we’d like to have back. Defensively, we played pretty hard but we gave up a lot of points and a lot of yards, and we can play a lot better. We’re going to have to play a lot better. A couple guys played really well, and made some big defensive plays when we had to have them, but there are a couple guys who’ve got to play better going forward.”

On having a capable offense:

“When you have a quarterback that can throw as well as Matt (Scott), and has the skill-set that Matt has, it’ll always gives you a chance. I knew that after our first practices in the spring. Matt can make all the throws. I wish he had more than one year, because he’s still learning on the job, but he can make all the throws. He runs well, and he’s a competitive guy. We’ve got to be able to run the football better; I’ve been disappointed in some of our run game. We’ve got some really talented backs, particularly with Ka’Deem (Carey), but we’ve got to be able to run the football better. There’s another level we can get to offensively.”

On the desired type of rotation:

“In a perfect world, when we have this thing built exactly the way we want it, we’ll be playing two deep on both sides. 22-23 guys on both sides. I don’t want to say an equal number of reps but if you had 80 plays, you’d have maybe 50 and 30. That’s where we want to get our program to. I don’t know if anybody has that completely but I like to play a lot of guys so if we do our job recruiting and developing we’ll get to that point someday.”

On John Bonano:

“I was just informed that he was named the Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week. That’s good, after last week everybody was kind of down on him. I knew he could kick a bit better, and he did. He’s kicked well in practice; he’s a tough competitive guy. Honestly, sure, when he went out to kick the first field goal I was thinking, “I know he’s going to make it”, I hope he’s going to make it. For his sake, I knew once he did, he’d get his confidence back. Typical of guys in his position, he got his confidence back and the 46 yarder was a great kick. He kicked well in the kickoffs, which I thought was really good. He’s a quality guy and a talented guy, as well.”

On what’s limiting the running game for the team:

“Besides blocking, we have to do a better job at opening up some holes. Some teams are doing a good job but they’re not wowing us to run. Oklahoma State was a big pressure team that brought a lot of blitzes. You don’t want to just pound your head against a wall, you want to throw when the numbers are right and run it when the numbers are right to run it. We don’t go in there thinking we have to have 200 yards passing, 300 yards running, we just go in there thinking what we have to do to win.” 

On Matt Scott on the block for Jenkins in the Oklahoma State game:

“We grade our players on a lot of things but one of the main things is on the snaps. We don’t want to be lazy on the snaps. For quarterbacks, they’re taught just to hand the ball off and watch but for us, they have to carry everything out. He probably saw an opportunity to hit somebody. I think Matt (Scott) wants to be a linebacker but he’s not big enough or strong enough but he is tough enough.”

On defensive tackling:

“We have to tackle well, that has been one of our major concerns going in to every game because the inability to do it in practice every day, because you don’t want to beat your guys up. The first priority or method of tackling is getting there, Oklahoma State and Toledo both had fast guys and we’re going to continue to face fast guys going forward. When we get there, the first guy there has to be able to tackle and I know we’re not fast enough to get all 11 players there. If you have a really fast team defensively, you can get two or three guys there, not all 11, and I don’t know if we’re going to get beat in that spot right now.”

On South Carolina State and concerns:

“Well this is another spread team and another team that pushes the tempo. Not that we’re not used to it or can’t adjust, they’re probably going to have our goals play a lot of plays again. Normally you would say your guys are in good enough shape they should be able to handle it but it is concerning as you go through. There is a difference between games and practice but we try to have tough practices. The games move a little faster and more physical. We have another game with a large number of plays so at some point we have to get more guys in the game. They’re going to spread us out and we have some athletic kids and we’re going to have to tackle well.”

Senior offensive lineman Chris Putton

On being ranked:

“Coach Rodriguez preached to us last week that we want to be relevant again and now that we are I think we want to stay there and not be cast under a shadow again.”

On the difference between this week and last week:

“Our mind set was better and I think it had a lot to do with our conditioning. I could tell after the second quarter when I went to the line that they were getting tired. They didn’t seem as ready as we were.”

On Coach Rodriguez wanting to improve the run game:

“I definitely think we ran better than the first week, and it’s always empowering to win against a good team. But we focused on improving all week in practice and it showed on Saturday”

On the deficiencies of the offensive line:

“We would like run more, every team wants to have 200-plus yards. We just need to try our best, and we try to help run over defenders for our running backs.

Freshman linebacker Sir Thomas Jackson

On the feeling falling behind 14-0:

“We just let nerves get the best of us. We were so focused that we didn’t play free. After we got behind 14-0, we had to take a step back and start playing Arizona football. Once we did that, it started to go our way. ”

On avoiding a letdown against South Carolina State:

“Just keeping our focus up, taking it by game-by-game, practice-by-practice. We just keep our focus high because our opinion of them is that they are really good. They run the ball a lot, and they play smash-mouth football like how football should be played.”

On his opinion of Matt Scott from playing scout defense:

“His eyes are always moving, he’s always looking around. When you are in coverage, you don’t know if he is going to throw it or run it. He is good in the pocket, and when you try to get him, he can make you miss.”

Sophomore receiver Austin Hill

On  why he has the most receiving yards on the team:

“It’s the offensive scheme, we been working on a lot for me, especially as an inside receiver. There’s also Matt (Scott) throwing me the ball. Matt’s been doing an excellent job in getting the ball to all the receivers.”

On what he likes about Matt Scott as a quarterback:

“I like his mobility. He can always get out and throw you the ball. He is always looking to throw you the ball, and run last, which is a thing receivers love because you never want to run a route and have the quarterback just run and not look to throw the ball.”

On playing all four receiver positions:

“I was moved around a lot during the summer: outside, inside, back outside a little bit, back inside. At first, I didn’t really like it because I expected to be an outside receiver, but it gave me the opportunity to learn every single position. So no matter who goes down or no matter what happens during the game, I can go out and play any position.”

On what is the most comfortable receiving position:

“As of right now, I am more comfortable with the inside because I had some success from the inside. I would love to go back outside, but it’s up to the coaches. No matter where they put me, I am just going to play.”

On the advantages of playing inside receiver:

“Going against the linebackers. Every receiver is taught to read triangles. I feel like playing linebacker to safety is a lot easier than going against a corner who can have more freedom to move around and do what they want to do, whereas a linebacker has to play the pass and run, and at the same time defend you or get a hit on you, trying to free up the line.”

On impossible catches being natural vs. practices:

“It is more natural reaction. In practice, I lay out for balls, maybe catch a few, drop a few, and not make it to a couple of others. But just practicing laying out during practice has helped me. But in game situations, it is just mostly reaction. If I could run under it, I would run under it, but that gut reaction just tells you that you got to lay out for it.

Senior kicker John Bonano

On performance on Saturday against Oklahoma State compared to Toledo:

“It was a great comeback game. I put the week one game behind me as soon as we started practice Sunday night. Just focused on being positive, so I could come out there and contribute 15 (points).”

On mental preparation for Oklahoma State:

“I tried not to think about the Toledo game at all. Just focus on the next game, focus on the next kick, and just thinking positively overall really helped me get back on track.”

On Coach Rodriguez’s confidence in him:

“That was big when (Coach Rodriguez) still supported me and let me go out there and do my job for the team.”

On kicker’s playing mind games during kicks:

“I think for me it is kind of the opposite. I try not to think about it too much. A lot of kickers over think it, and as long as I stick to my technique, I’ll make the field goals.”

On long field goals instilling more confidence compared to short field goals:

“Extra points are obviously supposed to be automatic, just keep your head down and they go in. That 46-yarder definitely felt good because I’d been kicking mostly short ones, so getting that under my belt gave me more confidence”

The Wildcats will return to Arizona Stadium on Sat., Sept. 15 to host South Carolina State. The game is scheduled to kick at 7:30 p.m. and will air on Pac-12 Networks. Tickets are available at the McKale Center Ticket office, by visiting ArizonaWildcats.com or by calling 520-621-2287 or 1-800-452-CATS.

For continued coverage of Arizona Wildcat football, visit ArizonaWildcats.com.

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