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Quotes from Rich Rodriguez's press conference on UA Football vs. Houston

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Arizona will face Houston on Sat, Sept. 9. At 7:30 p.m. MST, the game will be televised on ESPNU.  Plenty of tickets are available for  the game at Arizona Stadium. 

Here's a KVOA report that includes Arizona quarterback Brandon Dawkins:

Here are quotes from Coach Rich Rodriguez during his weekly press conference compliments of Arizona Athletics:

Head Coach Rich Rodriguez
Opening statement:
“There was some good and there was some not so good (Saturday versus NAU). A lot of the stuff that was not so good, we
can correct. The effort I thought was really good. We did some fundamental things tackling wise and blocking wise that was
pretty good for the first game and then were some things that even the upperclassmen know we need to get better at.
Overall it’s a good time to teach off of, because a lot of the time you don’t know for sure until you go live like a lot of the
special teams stuff. Some of the new guys on defense got a lot of good experience. We know we have to play a lot better
against a really talented Houston team. We have a lot of question marks about what they are going to do with a new staff,
so it’s going to be a big week to get ready. We’re going to have a great crowd Saturday night; it should be a great
atmosphere.”


On Houston DT Ed Oliver...
“He’s a first rounder. A Tremendous player, he plays with tremendous leverage. He’s strong and athletic, runs to the ball.
Everything that you would look for toward an interior defensive lineman, he has it. Everybody kind of knew that coming out
of high school, he could hace gone anywhere in the country. He’s been every bit as advertised and then some. They have
some other talented guys as well, so you have to make sure you play with great technique. We have some big guys up
front, but if you don’t bend your knees, and let him get underneath you because he plays with great pad level he will
embarrass you. We have to do a lot of work this week to get our pad level down a little bit. They will do a lot of moving up
front too so we have to ready for a lot of active movement up front on their defensive line.”


On if it’s an advantage that this will be Houston’s first game...
“I think certainly for us we know we made some mistakes and we hope we can make an advancement from Week 1 to Week
2 but the other part of it is we don’t know exactly what they’re going to do because it will be their first game with a new staff.
There’s a lot of unsure things in our minds about that and certainly they’ll be healthy coming. But with what they’ve gone
through and having to relocate for a little bit. I think they’ve been settled now back home for a few days. It’s a tragic thing
what’s happened to that city but it’s also uplifting to watch how so many people have reached out to try to help including
some folks here at Arizona. I’m sure they’re anxious to play a football game, it’s been a long time practicing and they’ll be
ready to go.”


On if Houston will have any extra motivation...
“I think they will be inspired anyway. That adds a little to it, I can see that. I think they’ll be inspired to play for themselves
and their families, and to finally play a game; I’m sure they’re tired of practicing. We will get their best effort, there’s no
question about that.”


On Houston’s HC Major Applewhite’s first game...

“I think he coached in the bowl game. He’s been there for a while, Major has a lot of experience as well as a lot of experience
on his staff. He has some experienced players as well, with eight or nine defensive starters returning. More than anything
else he’s dealt with a lot of stuff with moving his team the last couple of weeks. I’m sure that’s helped all of those guys get
a little closer. With it being your first game as a head coach you’re anxious to just get out there and play a game and see
what you’ve got.”


On playing a team coming off of a tough situation...
“I’ve been coaching for 20 some years and 260 or 270 games. There’s been a lot of different situations. I remember 9/11
when I was at West Virginia when all the games got canceled. But even the following week when we played it was still on
everybody’s mind. I wasn’t at Tulane when Katrina hit, I had already left there. There are a lot of things that come up in a
head coaches career, but it seems like Houston has stayed focused on what they need to do but also helping the community
which needs it for sure.”


On Arizona’s passing offense...
“We did not throw the ball nearly as well as we needed to Saturday, at times we didn’t have to because we did run the ball
particularly well as the game went on in the second and third quarter. We ran the ball really well and didn’t have to pass. At
the same time, we worked really hard on it and I was disappointed in a couple plays that we didn’t hit. We had one pass
touchdown called back but nonetheless we’re going to continue to work hard on it because we have guys who can throw
and catch and who can protect and we know people are going to force us to throw at times and we’re ready to do that.”
On if Shun Brown was paid more attention to...
“Not necessarily, I think they’re just playing the scheme. Certainly, we think Shun is a valuable guy, we missed him a couple
times throughout the game. At the same time, he’s still a weapon. It was nice to see Tony Ellison have a few big plays.
We’ve got some wideouts that can make things happen, and we’ve got quarterbacks that can throw it, so I think we’ll be
okay there.”


On Tyrell Johnson’s performance...
“He’s been banged up a little bit. Looking at all the things that have happened each year, it seems he’s had a nagging injury
each year that’s probably stopped him from really getting as many reps and as many opportunities as he is right now. He’s
a fast guy, he really knows our offense. He’s been in the system for four years now, and he’s a guy you want to try to get
the ball to. There’s no question he’s the fastest guy on our team and has been the fastest guy on our team since he’s been
here. I’m proud of the way he’s working. This is the healthiest he’s been and the most reps he’s been able to take by staying
healthy to this date so it’s been fun watching.”


On the freshmen performance...
“We have a need for it, certainly depth-wise. Also, there are some really talented guys who are ready physically. All of the
freshmen that played Saturday night are physically advanced for true freshman, and mentally pretty sharp too and that’s
why they were able to get in there. There’s a bunch of other ones too that as they grow, some more of them will play this
year and certainly we think all of them will play at some point.”


On Kylan Wilborn getting after the quarterback...
“We hope so. We need pass rushers and that was our thought process in recruiting him and Jalen Harris, and the other
guys. Guys that have length and the ability to rush the passer. He was a strong guy coming in, and he will continue to get
stronger and stronger as he learns more about Division 1 football and we can do more things with him. To play as much as
he did as a true freshman and to be ready as quick as he and Jalen and some of those young guys were is kind of neat. I
think that it is a long season, and he will play more as we go along. But we got to have more guys to play defensively. We
played a lot on Saturday, but will need more going forward.


On the value of game experience for the new guys...
“Everyone is excited to play, nobody more so than a true freshman. It’s their first Division 1 game, it’s a great atmosphere,
it’s on TV, and they have been hearing about it for five weeks of practice and months since they have arrived on campus. I
could tell they were a little nervous, but I would rather them be because if they weren’t there would be something wrong
with them. I don’t know how many of them played, quite a bit of them got into the game. There were some learning moments,
but it is a really talented class.”
On how many freshmen are expected to play...

“Probably all of them. The reality is that there are certain positions, like offensive line, quarterback, even defensive line that
it is more difficult mentally and physically for true freshman but we tell all of them, we don’t guarantee that you are going to
start when you come here, we don’t recruit anyone to be backups. So if we recruited you, it is the expectation that you are
going to compete right away from the first practice all the way through. After the first practice with them I said, you are here
to learn from the upperclassmen, but you aren’t here to defer to them. Don’t just sit in the background and say I will just
defer to you until next year at this time. I want them all to compete and to a man that 47 guys in the freshman class have
taken that approach and will continue to do that. It is a long season you will see more freshman as we go along.”


On Lucas Havrisik’s kickoffs...
“I thought he was phenomenal. He kicked the ball really well. He has a strong leg, I probably should’ve put him in there for
a couple of the extra points, but I think he got one at the end. That’s a weapon when you can kick them out of the end zone.
He kicked off really well. If you haven’t seen him, he looks like this microphone. He is slender. Once he gets it away and
continues to get stronger, he is certainty going to be a weapon.”


On Rhett Rodriguez possibly redshirting...
“I talked to all the quarterbacks, at least the top four about that. I told them what our plans are. You have got to make a
decision sometime early in the season with some of these freshman to redshirt or not. I think that rule is going to change
eventually, playing four games and still getting a redshirt, which should have happened this year, but will hopefully happen
in the next year or two.”


On analyzing Houston’s spread offense...
“Because we don’t have any info for this year with the new staff, it is a little bit more difficult because you’re not sure. I’m
sure some elements of the quarterback run game that they did last year is still there, but you don’t really know for sure until
you play.”

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