Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Stoops' optimism shows at Pac-10 Media Day
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: August 02, 2005
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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LOS ANGELES--Arizona head coach Mike Stoops said his optimism for the 2005 football season, which opens at UA when players officially report Wednesday, is based on a lot of factors that give him and his staff a bright view of the team's chances on the heels of a 3-8 campaign in 2004.

Stoops and senior safety Darrell Brooks, who actually graduated in December, met with regional media at the Pacific-10 Conference Media Day here Tuesday. In the preseason media poll, UA was selected to finish eighth, but it didn't dampen Stoops' apparent enthusiasm.

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"There are a lot of factors behind our optimism. We had a tough start for the program last year, but bounced back and put together a team that won two of its final three games," one against ranked rival Arizona State in the season finale, he said.

"One hundred percent of our players participated in off-season voluntary conditioning, and I think that tells you something about our team. The players commitment to the progrtam and to each other is as strong as I've seen. We're a much more together team. You'll see a different team in the way we look, play, the way we run, our attitude, speed, size and quickness," he said.

"I was impressed with one of our players -- (tight end) Brad Wood -- when he told a reporter last week that 'last year we were trying to build a team, now we're trying to build a program.'

"The Pac-10 is an outstanding conference, notably for the quality of its coaching and the quarterback play. Those are second to none," he said.

UA opens drills Thursday and will begin two-a-days early next week in preparations for its season opener Sept. 2 at Utah.

2005 Pac-10 Media Poll

1. Southern California, 410 points
2. California, 300 points
3. Arizona State, 296 points
4. Oregon, 290 points
5. UCLA, 282 points
6. Washington State, 189 points
7. Oregon State, 159 points
8. Arizona, 131 points
9. Stanford, 106 points
10. Washington, 92 points


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