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 playing a non-conference road game:
“It’s going to be a big crowd, and it’s supposed to sell out. We’re going up against a veteran team, so it will be a tough environment. We are going to prepare for it this week at practice.”
On pass rushing:
“You need a guy with both speed and strength. The big and fast guys are the hardest ones to block. UTSA is as good as anyone we have seen on film. They are extremely well coached and their pass rushers are very active with their hands.”
On sophomore receiver Samajie Grant:
“I was really proud of him and Nate Phillips last year that they learned all four positions as freshmen, and now they’re more comfortable. Samajie is one of the best route runners that we have. The ones that run the best routes are the ones who don’t have to slow down. He makes the cuts at full speed. When he scored, he never slowed down, and that makes him hard to defend. He’s an athletic and tough guy. He is just a good football player.”
On redshirt freshman quarterback Anu Solomon:
“We thought that he was the most consistent quarterback coming out of training camp this year. After the first game, he is still learning the system, but it’s exciting to see where that can take us.”
On being 5-of-5 in the red zone against UTSA last season:
"We have to be able to push harder if we get into the red zone. We need to win the one-on-one battles if we want to succeed in the red zone, too."
Senior Offensive Lineman Mickey Baucus
On Anu Solomon’s game demeanor:
“He’s always been calm and collected and never gets too flustered. He had a couple of overthrows in the first half and then he settled down and had the game he had. He reminds me a lot of Nick Foles because he never got too rattled when the game wasn’t going his way. I think Anu is going to be fine. He is going to have a calm and collected attitude and he’ll do well.”
On playing in front of the Zona Zoo:
“It’s exciting. The Zona Zoo was full and that definitely helped out our defense on third downs by being loud. It caused them to have a couple of false starts, too. Playing in an atmosphere like that gets you excited and raises our energy level. It makes it hard for teams to come and compete with us at home.”
On having over 700 yards on offense:
“Obviously a game like that is a pretty special week. If we go in there this week and execute and do what we are capable of doing, we should be able to get big numbers and yards all season long. If we go out there and try to play the perfect game, then big games like that should be more to come.”
Sophomore Receiver Nate Phillips
On sophomore wide receiver Samajie Grant:
“His quickness is his best strength. It helps him match up against the taller, longer corners. He gets in and out of routes very quickly and he can set you up with anything from the top. Compared to last year, he got even stronger.”
On the fans:
“It is definitely exciting. No one knew what we were going to do the first game, so coming out and having a game like that is a great start and is something fresh.”
On Anu Solomon’s composure after overthrowing receivers:
“He just moves on and keeps his composure. Anu isn’t a loud, vocal leader, but he is still a leader by staying calm. He is able to settle everyone else down with his calm demeanor when we might be thinking things are going wrong.”
Sophomore Linebacker Scooby Wright
On practicing at a high-tempo team and playing at a slower tempo:
“In practice, I don’t have time to think because it is so up tempo and I can barely get the calls in. In the game, I get the calls in and have a couple seconds to breathe and figure out what’s going on.”
On preparing to play middle linebacker and learning from Jake Fischer:
“Jake definitely taught me a lot. A lot of the stuff carried over to when I play. He taught me to stay calm, keep my composure and to be able to think on your feet.”
The Wildcats will play their second-straight weeknight contest on Thursday, traveling to San Antonio for a clash with UTSA. The game, set for 5 p.m. MST, will be televised on Fox Sports 1 and carried on the Arizona IMG Sports Network.
Tickets for the 2014 football season are on sale and start at $99 for seven home games. Tickets can be purchased at ArizonaWildcats.com/footballtickets or by contacting the McKale Center Ticket Office (520-621-CATS).For continued coverage of Arizona football, follow the team on Facebook at facebook.com/ArizonaFootball and on Twitter @ArizonaFBall.