Aug 27, 2012 9:54 PM
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
"It's game week and I think the players are excited. The coaches are excited. There's been a lot of work to finally get to this week. I'm sure these guys will tell you they're probably looking forward to playing somebody that's not in the same color jerseys and the guys they're in the same locker room with. I'm anxious to see what we have. I think the guys have worked hard. The first year is always the toughest because you're teaching new schemes and new techniques. Hopefully we have a great crowd, the weather is supposed to be terrific again, and we will see what happens Saturday night."
On his biggest concern about Saturday night's game:
"With the first game there are so many things you're unsure of. Not just because you're in a new environment with new guys but you don't have any preseason games. I mean, it's kind of silly that we play at this level of football and you don't have any preseason or scrimmage games. I mean, they do it in small college level, you do in high school level and you can do it in the level above us but you don't do it on this level. I mean, they all count. They're all pretty important, so I wish they would change the rules and let us have a preseason game or a scrimmage game or something but I don't see that happening anytime soon. So, we have a lot of concerns. Hopefully, we've done our job to prepare and be ready to execute come Saturday night. All the execution parts are the things you worry about the most particularly in the first game."
On where he sees his team right now:
"Well what I think I have is a bunch of pretty good guys who work pretty hard and we have three guys on this table here that have done a lot in this camp and spring practice. I think the guys are hungry to prove themselves. I think we have some talent. I don't think we are just going to show up and beat anybody on our schedule. But I do think the guys are hungry."
On Marquis Flowers shifting from safety to linebacker and Taimi Tutogi playing on both sides of the ball:
"It's a little bit of shifting but not a whole lot. Marquis is a pretty smart guy. At least he tells us that. And so I think that from my standpoint it shows that we have some unselfish players. You know, guys like Marquis who is going to a new position and you mentioned Taimi playing on both sides of the ball. You know, Trace (Biskin) can play multiple positions on the offensive line. I think the guys are really unselfish. We have a lot of guys that are just trying to do what we've asked them to do as far as helping the program in any way and know that they all have a value and importance. Even the guys that aren't starting bring a lot of value and importance to this program."
On how the team's conditioning will affect play:
"It will come into play if we are play well. If we are executing offensively, it could be a factor. But, they'll go no huddle, too, and go fast. I think we are certainly in a lot better shape than we were a couple weeks ago and we're in a whole lot better shape than we were eight months ago. If we're executing well on offense or defense, then we can make conditioning a factor for us. If not, then it won't be."
On how this first game is going to be different compared to at W. Virginia and Michigan:
"Well, this sounds like coach speak, but I think all the openers feel pretty much the same. I think you get a lot of nerves out. I'll be excited. I bet you're more nervous if you're not really sure if you're prepared. I'll have some nerves because it's the first game and not sure exactly how we're going to play. You know if we do our job as coaches and prepare well, we will be more excited than nervous. It's different from the other places I've been, it's a night game, the weather is going to be very nice, so that's pretty exciting. I really like our guys' attitude. These guys are great. They've tried for the most part to do what we've asked them to do. I think some days they forget, so we have some old school meetings and try to get that straight, but they really try to do the things that the staff has asked them to do. As I told them, when the game comes it's the players' show. We have to do a good job as coaches getting them ready and hopefully putting them in the right situation but I'm anxious to watch them have some fun because practices for football are not always the most fun. We try to make it a little bit of fun but you know you work hard in practice and workouts."
On Toledo being a sneaky opponent:
"They should have beat Ohio State and I think Syracuse is the other one they should have won. They have two experienced quarterbacks coming back. And even though they have a new head coach, he was on the staff so they can run the same offense, the only thing they may do differently is some stuff defensively. They're a very dangerous team and they're going to come with a lot of confidence. We have got to play well. I've probably said this enough times, we are not good enough to play poorly and win any games. We have to play well and play hard. Then we will see what happens. Our guys are capable of doing it. They're capable of playing well. We've seen them practice well. Now we just have to put it together on Saturday night."
On the defense:
"Turnovers are important because of possession. The most important step to us is possession. How many possessions can our offense get and can our defense, on their possessions, can they limit theirs and keep them from scoring? That's a challenge because we have a lot of new guys playing and some guys playing in a new position and they're all learning a new scheme. I think they'll be excited to play Saturday night. (Toledo) is a really good offensive team."
On his personal goals and what he has to prove:
"To build the best program in America, I'd like to prove that we can do that, and I believe we can. And it's a process. I don't know if it will happen overnight, I hope it does, particularly for our seniors. But the process of doing that and the way we build our program, that's certainly an individual goal of mine, you know, take this program to the Rose Bowl and win it, that'd be a pretty nice deal, when and if that happens."
On the difference between Toledo's two quarterbacks:
"I think they'll run No. 2 (Terrance Owens) more than (Austin) Dantin and I don't know who will start. I don't think it really matters because they're both going to play. They don't really change their offense whether No. 2 (Owens) or No. 4 (Dantin) is in there. No. 2 (Owens) is probably a little more dangerous, running it and doing some of those things and then Dantin is probably a little more dangerous in the pocket."
On Ka'Deem Carey's focus:
"Ka'Deem's been great. He's practicing well. He's pretty sharp in what we're doing offensively. He's ready to go. Ka'Deem loves football and anytime you love something, you'll probably keep your focus on it pretty well, and he has."
On a message to the fanbase within a week before the first game:
"I appreciate their support and I think the players do, too. I hope we have a great crowd and all the seats are filled at Arizona Stadium and that they come early and stay late and bring two or three friends with them to the next game and enjoy what they see. I'm not going to stand here and say we're not going to make any mistakes and have some problems at times, because I'm sure that we will. I think you'll see the guys play extremely hard and I think you'll come to the ballgame and have a good experience watching Arizona football."
Quarterback Matt Scott
On backup quarterback B.J. Denker:
"He's a good quarterback; he can beat you with his arm and his feet. He's quick, he makes good decisions and his release is good. He's getting better every day and I can see him being a big part of the future."
On having started another season opener before (2009):
"It's been a long run for me, played a couple games, a season opener. It's just another game. We've got to get ready; we've got to prepare the same way, not very different. If anything, it helps give me a little more confidence knowing I have been in a season opener but we've got to prepare the same way every game."
On his growth over the last three years:
"(I'm) a lot different. I was talking to somebody in academics today about this and it's been a journey for me every year. I'm growing up, mentally and physical, every year as a player and a person."
On being the starter in 2009:
"I wasn't preparing like I should have been. I wasn't ready to be on my own and do my own thing. I thought I knew what I was doing, but I realized when I got out there, I really didn't. I felt a little pressure and I'll never make those mistakes again. (The Iowa game) humbled me a lot. Coming in, everybody's ‘the guy' in high school and so, the Iowa game was a really humbling experience for me."
Offensive Lineman Trace Biskin
On the changes from last year:
"The biggest thing is probably the discipline that Coach Rodriguez has brought into this program, just the little things off and on the field. I think the culture is really changing and you can notice it with everybody and especially the freshmen."
On Coach Anae changing from last year:
"He's a little bit tougher on us now that we have experience. He told us the other day that he expects a lot more out of us. Another thing is that this whole coaching staff has emphasized a hard edge and he's kind of an old school guy, so that's more his nature and we've carried that throughout the camp."
On freshmen offensive linemen Cayman Bundage and Lene Maiava preparing for their first college game:
"They're both very excited to play. I think they both picked up the offense very well. Everyone's going to have jitters going into their first game, but usually after the first few snaps and you get a few hits in, you realize that it's just another game. I think they'll both do really well."
Linebacker Marquis Flowers
On position change from safety to linebacker:
"It wasn't a surprise. The coaches called me in and asked me and told me that it'd be best for team. And I had no problem doing it for the team. Right now it's a good deal. Game time, I'm going to play fast and play hard. I played it before in high school so it's nothing really new. The biggest challenge is probably me staying low, you know as safety you kind of come up a little bit and back up but I know very well if I run up to a lineman like Trace (Biskin), they'll put me right back on my back so I mean staying low, play hard play physical but good things will come. I've played it before, I'm ready for it, and I'm excited."
(Courtesy: Arizona Athletics)