Sept. 24, 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
On this week:
"We have a lot of things to clean up from Saturday night's game, and we've got another team coming in that has been playing really good football. I hope our guys will bounce back and have great practices this week. They weren't the best last week and I was a little disappointed in that. We talked about it and now we just have to get back to work."
On loss to Oregon:
"I wish we would have called a couple different plays, I wish we would have executed better, and I wish we made a couple field goals. If you don't do that against a good team, it's going to cost you. There were a lot of things we didn't do right. We watched the film as a group, we don't always do that but the whole offense watched it as a group. There were situations where Oregon beat us, but then there were situations where we beat us. The ones where we beat us, we've got to fix in a hurry."
On the preparation for Oregon:
"I'm not disappointed in our preparation but we have high standards for every practice. Last Tuesday's practice wasn't as good as it could have been but our overall preparation from the kids' standpoint was really good. I think our lack of execution was it, sometimes it doesn't happen. Part of the problem was Oregon, part of it was us."
On the offensive performance:
"We need to have some more explosive plays offensively, and we need to do better in the running game. I don't think we're getting a good push up front sometimes. I don't think we're as strong as we need to be, and the guys understand that. Whether it's a lineman, receiver, or running back blocking, we have to do it with great leverage and great technique. That was not the case on Saturday."
On the pace of play:
"Even Saturday I thought there were times where we could go a little faster. There weren't communication problems or issues with playing fast, but we still could go faster. Playing faster gets multiple first downs, and we didn't get enough first downs."
On correcting problems:
"Some of the problems that happened overnight can't be solved overnight; some of them may take a while longer. Some of the problems can easily be handled if we just focus on fundamentals and what we're supposed to do each and every play." On the defense vs. Oregon: "The caliber of the opponent was a good test for our defense. You're talking about a lot of fast guys who can execute pretty well and have been in that system for a few years. We have a lot of inexperienced guys who have been in our system for a couple of months. I think they hung in there and made enough plays to give us a shot early in the game."
On importance of scoring points:
"You want to get some confidence going. I thought our guys, even at halftime, were hanging in there. We were extremely disappointed with how many red zone opportunities we had, and we didn't score on any of them, whether it was an easy kick, or a fourth and two from the two. Even then, there was no question in our mind that we still had a shot, we just didn't finish drives."
On Oregon State's run defense:
"They have good secondary players, some of the best in the country, but they are really strong up front. They roll a lot of guys. They have great size and play with great effort. They have been in that system for a while. They do some different things. They have a lot of movement up front. They really understand what coach [Mark] Banker and the defensive staff is trying to do there and do it with great technique and effort. Wisconsin hasn't run the ball as well as they have in the past, but they're still pretty big up front. UCLA has been putting points and yards on everybody they've faced, and Oregon State did a great job stopping them. It's a different front and scheme compared to last week, but it still has its own complications and looks that we have to prepare for this week."
On Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion:
"He is an experienced guy, a big guy who can make all the throws, and he is tough in the pocket as well. They had a lot of explosive plays last week, and they have some fast guys playing on the perimeter. We have to play them very disciplined. We have tackled well for the most part and that is going to be another key to this game; tackling in the open field and getting guys down."
On wearing the copper helmets:
"We're breaking out the copper helmets. Copper isn't going to replace our school colors or anything, but it's a tribute to Arizona's mining industry and state history. It is our first Pac-12 home game this year, so we're breaking out the copper helmets. Our guys will practice in them on Wednesday and Thursday to get used to the helmet. I don't know the combination of jersey and pants that goes with the helmet because the seniors will pick that."
On keeping Matt Scott healthy:
"Matt got a little sore during the first quarter. We weren't trying to run him a lot anyway, but after the first quarter, we couldn't do things that we normally would do with Matt. That was in the second or third series, but after that, we didn't have any other quarterback thoughts of trying to run the ball with him. We were trying to protect him."
On Taimi Tutogi playing both sides of the ball:
"Taimi is in pretty good shape; you'd have to ask him if he is in the best shape of his career. But can he play 35 plays on defense and play another 40 on offense? He isn't ready for that. His defense has limited him on offense. It goes into my thought about how much of a role he has offensively, but he is a pretty good pass rusher. We need him on the edges of the defense."
On red zone decisions:
"If we get into the red zone, and the situation calls for a decision to go for it or kick and we execute like Saturday, I'm going to go for it. I do have confidence in (John) Bonano, but I was disappointed. There was one where Kyle (Dugandzic) dropped it and that never usually happens. The other one was a low kick and there was a lot of penetration. That should never happen technique wise."
On Oregon State's offense:
"Last week, we had to line up quickly. This week, we have to identify quickly. We have to know where their strengths are. They do enough to where they can sell play actions if you are peeking in there too soon. Our defensive staff needs to get prepared for that. That is the unique part of playing a strong schedule, week to week you'll see completely new styles. It's not like they are always in a two tight end, two back offense, but it is a drift from what we been seeing from these past weeks."
Senior quarterback Matt Scott
On red zone inefficiencies at Oregon:
"We just didn't execute, it comes down to that. I can't really speak to what went wrong other than we didn't execute. We watched film yesterday and we just have to work to correct our mistakes in practice this week. Every time you're in the red zone you expect to score and we just couldn't make it happen. We couldn't finish drives and we couldn't execute. It hurts, our defense came up with big stops and we couldn't capitalize on those. Missed opportunities hurt us. We're going to fix that and you won't see that problem this week."
On Rich Rodriguez's 24-hour rule:
"I think it's helpful. We watched film and moved on from it. It's one game. We've got plenty of football left."
On the copper helmets:
"This is the first time I've seen them and I think they look great. Obviously, there's good history behind them. It's not our general colors, but we're going to wear them this week. I think we have to go blue jerseys, I don't think red would look that good, but it doesn't matter what you wear, you still have to go out there and win."
On miscommunications with wide receivers:
"In a hostile place like that, we had some miscommunications on some routes. I thought some guys were going deep and they pulled up and I thought guys were going to pull up and they went deep. We just have to get that fixed this week and we will. We will work a little extra, maybe even after practice and work some of those kinks out."
Senior center Kyle Quinn
On last week's poor practices:
"Right now, we can't look at the past. Last week our practice wasn't where Coach Rodriguez wants it to be, so this week we're going to take it one day at a time. We had a good practice last night and a good film session so we learned from our mistakes. We have to put it behind us and move on and have a great week of practice this week. I can't find one reason we didn't practice well last week, so, like I said, we just have to put it all behind us and get ready for Oregon State. It's a great team coming in here with a great defense so just have to get ready."
On last year's meeting with Oregon State:
"I just remember it was a hostile environment. We went up there and we were playing fast and playing physical. Their defense is fast and physical. They like to twist a lot up front; not a lot of blitz. They have a great coach up there and a great system and scheme. We just have to be ready for a very physical game. They're going to come in here and try to take it from us in our house and we just have to go out there and get the W."
On the copper helmets:
"It's pretty cool. Being a history major, I know the importance of copper to the state and how big the mining industry is, so it's going to be great to be able to represent that. We just have to go out there and play a great game in them on Saturday."
Junior linebacker Jake Fischer
On the mood of the team:
"We got a lift in last night, we watched film and got a practice in under our belt. Everyone's disappointed but with the 24-hour rule we put it behind us. We got some Oregon State preparation in last night. We moved on. Obviously, we can take what happened Saturday night and move on with it. I think the mood of the team is we're ready for Oregon State. We're ready to get back out there and redeem ourselves. I think you're going to see a different team on Saturday."
On gang tackling:
"We're just trying to fly around to the ball and get 11 hats on the ball. We did a pretty good job of that Saturday night, obviously we didn't do well enough, but it's just the kind of mentality the defense has. During practice we try to fly around to the ball and get everybody to the ball. We try to make it a game. I think everybody is hungry to get to the ball. It's the guys on defense as well as the coaches. I think, overall, it's a mentality more than anything."
On the defensive line:
"The guys on the d-line are workhorses. They don't take a play off. They're a little smaller than the guys on the offensive line, but they play with so much heart. It's really a tribute to how they take their business. They work on their craft every day. Coach Kirelawich is great. All of our defensive staff knows how to handle only having three down linemen, so that's a tribute to them as well."
Freshman linebacker Sir Thomas Jackson
On the defense's performance against Oregon:
"I felt like we did a good job, especially on their running backs. We played good team defense. We could get better, but I thought we did a great job out there with our effort especially. We looked at film and everyone did a great job running to the ball. I thought the defensive line did a great job on Saturday. We learned a lot, it was our first away game, so it was a big step."
On Oregon State:
"They're big. They run the ball a lot. They use a lot of different formations and use three tight ends. We have to be physical and play physical team defense."
On the defensive line:
"I feel like they did a great job, especially Dominique Austin. Dom and I are on the same side, so we helped each other out. I think their improvements have been good. The whole coaching staff has done a great job."
The Wildcats return to Arizona Stadium on Sat., Sept. 29 to host the Oregon State Beavers. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. PT 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.
Special for the Oregon State game, Family Packs are also available and each ticket includes a voucher for a hot dog, soda and either bag of peanuts or box of popcorn. Seats are in the family sections (F) and are only available online at ArizonaWildcats.com while supplies last.
Saturday's game also marks the American Football Coaches' Association's (AFCA) fifth annual Coach to Cure MD effort. More than 100 FBS schools, including the Arizona and Oregon State coaching staffs, will be wearing Coach to Cure MD patches to raise awareness and funding for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research. For more information, visit www.CoachtoCureMD.org.