Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Monday Press Conference Transcript
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: September 23, 2013
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TUCSON, Ariz. 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:

“It’s good to be back in game week. I’m sure the players are excited to be back in action. They all know how important this one is and obviously, conference play begins. It’s a great challenge for us, up there in a tough environment against a very good team. We have to have a good week in practice. I told our players that we need our best week of practice. Hopefully, we will do all that starting tomorrow.”

On keeping the players energy and focus level high:

“It hasn’t been bad because we have another bye week after this one. We’re not home for another three weeks, but our guys, really since the beginning of camp, have been focused the whole time, so their maturity, so far, has been really good. It will get tested in these couple of weeks, but they had good practices last week, and they had a good practice last night, as well.”

On the importance of the defensive backfield facing a quarterback like Keith Price:

“Mobile and athletic quarterbacks, any coach will tell you, that they are tough to go against. Keith Price will make plays on schedule, but he will make the unscheduled ones, too. He will extend the play, so you have to be disciplined in your coverage downfield and you have to keep it contained. Here’s a quarterback who has started for at least three years, the guy has played a lot of football; he’s very talented. He’s comfortable with what they’re doing now.”

On B.J. Denker’s ability that made him stand out from other quarterbacks:

“Matt Scott was the only quarterback on scholarship that this team had when we came on. So we said, ‘We better get some guys fast’. Normally, you like to build from the high school level and develop them through the program. But with Matt being the only scholarship guy, we were looking for an older guy and a guy who had a little bit of experience, whether it was a transfer or a junior college guy. So, B.J. was a late signing, and what we saw in him was a competitive guy. Talking to his coaches, they told us that B.J. was really intelligent and picked things up well. He’s athletic and he could come in, make some throws and learn quickly. I forget and we forget that he’s been only here for a year. He’s very, very intelligent and very sharp.”

On Washington’s no-huddle offense and importance of Arizona’s defense getting ready:

“It’s more than Jake Fischer’s responsibility in getting the defense aligned. Jake does have a big role in it but the safeties do, as well; Jourdon Grandon or whoever it is back there. We like to believe that our defense does that enough against each other in practice, so we should be okay with it. But it is still stressful to go against it, and that’s why we do it. The key is preventing them from getting first downs. Like us, if they get multiple first downs, they can control the tempo and rhythm that can put more stress on the defense.”

Senior Quarterback B.J. Denker

On the improvement of chemistry between him and wide receivers:

“I don’t think the chemistry was the issue. Most of the reason the numbers weren’t so good was because we were running the ball so well. It’s not like I don’t know what our receivers are going to do. It’s just being young and not really having to throw the ball every down. We have been working on that since the season started and during this bye week. I feel like it is getting better and as the season progresses, you will see that on the field. ”

On the atmosphere at Washington this weekend:

“I have heard a lot of stories about it; we were talking about it with teammates who played there before. They said it’s probably the loudest crowd they’ve played at. I anticipate it being nuts. I personally like playing on the road more than at home for the simple fact that you can silence a crowd, I think that’s the craziest thing as a competitor.”

On rushing touchdowns:

“As a quarterback, you are throwing the ball and the guy you throw to gets to do the celebration and fans are looking at him and you have to run off to the sideline. Sometimes it’s fun to get the attention.”

On his favorite rushing touchdown:

“I would have to say the UTSA one. Just from the simple fact that I shouldn’t have even gotten in to the end zone if it wasn’t for Garic Wharton putting on that block. I kind of crowd surfed on top of his body into the end zone. So that was definitely the most fun.”

On Washington’s defense:

“They have big, tall, athletic corners which is rare. Last year we struggled with corners getting in our face and jamming us up, so that’s going to be a test for us. They brought a lot of guys back on defense and that is why they are clicking so well. That’s why our defense is clicking so well, too, because we also have a lot of veteran guys that have a lot of experience.”

On conference play starting:

“Our season started during week one. There are no pretend games in football, you only get 12. Yes, this is Pac-12 play and we understand this is a bigger deal and this is going to be the best team we will have played. We can only play who is put on the schedule, I don’t think the normal fan appreciates that if they are I-AA (FCS) or you are a lower tier Division I football team, this game is rough. You can’t just go out on the field and expect a victory because somebody will come and smack you in the mouth.”

Sophomore Linebacker Sir Thomas Jackson

On SWAT defense against Washington:

“It will put pressure on Keith Price. We need to get him rattled in the pocket and get him to scramble, so we can force him to turn over the ball. SWAT helps out the defense a lot.” 

On Washington wanting to go fast:

“We are used to B.J. Denker and Daniel Jenkins going fast all the time, so we will be used to it.”

On being so successful last year against Washington:

“We got after the quarterback, Keith Price. He had an interception, and Marquis Flowers forced a fumble last year. We just have to get after him, he’s the leader of that team, and if we get after him, we will affect them all.”

On looking forward to playing against friends and being back home:

“Playing against those guys up there will be nice. I have a few friends that I’m still close with up there so it should be fun. I have a lot of family and friends that are going to be there. I have had this game written on my schedule for two years now, so ever since then, I’ve been really excited.”

Senior Running Back Daniel Jenkins

On the environment at Washington:

“It’s a great environment up there in Seattle. I know it will be loud, and it will definitely be a good test for our young guys. We have a lot of young players who haven’t played in a hostile environment like that yet, so I’m hoping our senior leadership will step up, focus in, and get everyone on the same page.”

On the guys around B.J. Denker helping him offensively:

“I think it’s a work in progress but I also think, as we go along, we are getting stronger. It will be interesting to see how we perform this game. I think that the receivers, the offensive lineman, and our running back group are all on the same page. We just have to work as a collective group.”

On the running game being stopped by putting extra guys in the tackle box:

“I think we have done a great job of game planning as far as having a lot of outside and inside runs. If they are doing a good job of stopping that, we have a great group of coaches that will help us make the adjustments.”

The Wildcats play at Washington on Sat., Sept. 28. Kick time is set for 4 p.m. PT and the game will air nationally on FOX with Gus Johnson and Charles Davis calling the action. The game will also air on Arizona IMG Sports Network, KCUB 1290 AM in Tucson and Fox Sports 910 AM in Phoenix.

Tickets for the 2013 football season including in the north end zone and club level of the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility, are available and can be purchased by visiting the McKale Center Ticket Office, calling 520-621-CATS or by visiting Fans can also make appointments via the McKale Center Ticket Office to tour the seating areas during normal business hours.

For continued coverage of Arizona football, follow the team on Facebook at and on Twitter @ArizonaFBall.

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