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Monday Press Conference Transcript
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 10/29/2012
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Oct. 29, 2012

TUCSON – University of Arizona 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:

Opening statement:

“Watching the film, we were obviously pleased with the victory. I didn’t think we played particularly well in all three phases at times. (USC) certainly helped us out because they had some mistakes. It wasn’t our cleanest performance and there are a lot of things we can get better at. Some of them were obvious and some of it we saw when we watched the film. Our guys were resilient. We made just enough plays to win it. Again, we got a couple of breaks from them. It was a good win. It gave us a little confidence, but I think our guys focus and understand we have to turn the page and after 24 hours that’s pretty well understood now.”

On Matt Scott’s running:

“We did some formations and there were some openings there. Some of it is read, whether it’s a pass or a run read form. They got a couple key first downs from us. Matt ran the ball pretty well. Ka’Deem (Carey) did a really good job. There were some lead plays where we were running Matt and Ka’Deem did a really good job as a lead blocker. USC is so big, physical and athletic. We had to try to do a few new things that we hadn’t shown before. I thought the key of the game was Ka’Deem making some runs and making big plays right when we needed them like that long third and 20 pass. There was another fake pass we threw to Austin Hill and a couple key catches made by Dan (Buckner) and David (Richards) that we were up against to make those first downs and touchdowns because we knew we weren’t going to be able to stop them completely.”

On Austin Hill’s 30-yard catch:

“He wasn’t wide open. They were playing what we call Tampa-two coverage and dropping a lot of guys in different zones. We had sent Ka’Deem (Carey) down the middle. We had five guys going vertical. Austin had a pretty good route and made it happen after the catch but the throw by Matt was phenomenal. That may have been his best throw of the year, how he put it on the mark for a 30-yard pass down the field.”

On UCLA QB Brett Hundley and their offense:

“I remember when he came out of high school. He is an Arizona native and people know about him. I knew this guy was going to have great success no matter where he went. They have a system that suits him well. They have a great running back, another athletic tight end and some skill players. They play with confidence. They’ve always been good athletes and players but now they’re playing in a system they feel comfortable with and they’re also playing with a lot of confidence.”

On UCLA’s system:

“Their offensive coordinator, I know pretty well, Noel Mazzone, he does a terrific job and always has been. They’ll spread you out and if you have weaknesses, they’ll try to expose that. We have to be really sound defensively. We have to hope to get a couple breaks. On the flip side, we have to get first downs on the offense. We have to maintain as much control as we can with our offense.”

On the team’s resiliency:

“I first saw it sometime in the spring. We had a new coaching staff and were teaching a new system and just tested them a little bit mentally to see whether they would respond or go in a shell. We were hard on them about all the things you’re supposed to teach and develop and to see how they react. I saw that early in the spring that these guys do want to get better and they’re trying to take to the coaching and system. I saw that in the spring and see that now in the fall. You don’t truly know what your guys are going to do until you start playing the game.”

On Fabbians Ebbele:

“I think he’s been better. We’ve challenged him. He’s a big, talented guy but we need to be more physical up front with the offensive line. We haven’t been too physical in some games. We had scored some points and moved the ball but we weren’t moving people. I didn’t think we were finishing blocks as well. Fabbians and some of the other guys have done a better job at finishing blocks and being more physical. I’m proud of him because we’ve had a different line up just about every week. We miss Kyle (Quinn) and Trace (Biskin). Those are probably our two biggest leaders up front but the other guys have come in a battled to give us a shot.”

On UCLA head coach Jim Mora:

“I met him for the first time this year at our league meeting. I knew who he was and what he has done. He’s an outstanding football coach and seems like a great guy. He’s got it going on there at UCLA.”

On stopping UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin:

“I think you need to get more than one person there. That’s the key for us. We’ve done okay at times with tackling and other times we haven’t. We’re not fast enough to not have multiple people there. We have to get guys down the blocks to get more than one person. Part of the design of their offense is to get open guys down the field, so that’s a concern. We have to get them on the ground.”

On Arizona linebacker Marquis Flowers exceeding expectations:

“He has played very well but he is still learning the position. He has gotten better with each week. He wasn’t there during spring practice and camp, so for us, especially Jeff Casteel, we are excited because with a few more games and a spring practice, Marquis can be really good at the position. Right now, he is still playing a bit like a safety. I am not saying safeties are soft, just the immediacy of a safety is different than the immediacy of a linebacker.”

On Arizona safety Jared Tevis’ return from injury:

“It was good to have him back because he is a good football player. Patrick (Onwuasor) did a great job filling his spot but the nice thing about Tevis is that he is one of the guys in the secondary that gets everyone lined up. He is a smart and instinctive football player. Tevis and Jake Fischer are probably the two guys on defense that knows the opponent’s scheme better than anyone.”

On defense’s performance against USC’s Marqise Lee:

“Whatever we were doing, it wasn’t working. We also tried not to kick to him but that didn’t happen as well. There was also one play in particular that we should have him covered, and he made us pay for it.”

On USC trying to tie the game during the last minute:

“It looked like they were trying to tie the game because they had a couple of drop-offs and gaining 15 yards at a time. It looked like they were going to take one big shot, so they were trying to get the ball down the field. They took a chance and it was the one play that took a long time that really helped us on that final drive.”

Senior Quarterback Matt Scott

On the USC game:

“We played great. We made some mistakes on both sides of the ball but we watched film to get those corrected. I felt great.”

On connect with the young receivers:

“We’ve got to get them involved. Those guys are great players for us and they’re going to continue to get better. They’re young and have a lot of promise. They play hard and I wouldn’t expect anything less from them.”

On UCLA:

“They’re offense is really good. They’ve got some good weapons on that side of the ball. Their quarterback and running back can put some points on the board. I believe in our defense. They will come to play, so we’ll see how it turns out.”

On earning respect:

“We just need to keep winning. We can lose respect really easy by losing a couple games here or there. So we just want to keep going, keep fighting, and try to get Ws. If we can do that we’ll keep getting respect.”

Junior Defensive Lineman Tevin Hood

On getting adjusted during spring practices:

“Coach (Rodriguez) doesn’t play around, he’s straight forward in his coaching style. We responded well to that. Some people may get down on themselves but we took it to heart and understood what he is trying to do. As a team we responded well to that. I think it played a major role with the hard edge. If the coach has a hard edge, you need to have a hard edge if you want to make the cut.”

On UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin:

“He’s one of the best backs, probably in the country, definitely in the Pac-12. He’s a hard runner. With the lead option and lead zone they run, we need to focus on keeping up with him and (Brett) Hundley. We can’t have any holes in the defense.”

Senior Punter Kyle Dugandzic

On his last punt vs. USC:

“I think it was (the biggest punt of my career). We needed to give them a long field to drive. They had been playing well even though our defense had stopped them a few times. The farther the field they have to drive, the less likely they’ll score a touchdown.”

On his personal evaluation of the punt game:

“Stats-wise, to me it’s good. The quality of punts, I don’t think it was as well as it could have been. I had one good punt where it went up, turned over and was fair caught. Every punt I expect to get up high in the air, turn over, and put in the place where it needs to be. There were a couple punts that should have been to the right but drifted over to the middle of the field, so I need to work on that more. ”

Arizona hits the road on Sat., Nov. 3 for a matchup at No. 25 UCLA. The game is slated for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff and will air live on the Pac-12 Networks.

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