Arizona Football Teleconference Quotes

Sept. 14, 2003

Arizona Head Coach John Mackovic's Remarks

On the loss to Oregon:

'Well, we were very close to making a lot of plays. Our guys can look at it and say, 'Here's what I think I can do,' and get a little closer to making those plays. Oregon played well, and we just didn't do some of the things we wanted to do from a total run standpoint. We were adequate, but our pass defense broke down again. One of the unhappy things is that they beat us on a similar route that we were beat on the week before against LSU.'

'We are not able to physically control the line of scrimmage on either side, so that has been our biggest thing. We haven't run the ball very well, and when you don't run the ball well, then the defenses just gang up on the passing game. We haven't done very well there. Outside of blitzing, we haven't been able to pressure the passer well enough to be able to force him off rhythm. Against Oregon last night and against LSU, they ran well enough, they kept us off base, and we weren't in control of anything. We couldn't force them into situations that were in our favor.'

On quarterback Ryan O'Hara's performance versus Oregon:

'Ryan made some plays and looked like he was getting in a position to make a few more things happen. They didn't quite happen the way we wanted them to. He really had a tough time, and it seemed like everything we were trying to get set up for him just never did materialize. His numbers didn't look very good.'

On the quarterback race between Nic Costa and Ryan O'Hara:

'We will decide by Tuesday, and I don't think we will make any decisions right now (regarding the starting quarterback). We will decide when we get ready to go to practice. They both still need time. It is not a matter of one person getting everything and the other not getting very much. Our quarterback position is still developing, and it is something we just have to work through. I think Ryan will play about the same. I don't think starting will make a lot of difference in that regard.'

On senior offensive tackle Brandon Phillips:

'Brandon Phillips is going to be out. We are fairly certain that he will be out for the year. They will do an MRI (on the right knee) and have a definite idea whether it will be any better than that.'

'With Brandon (Phillips) out, we have about three options, and we will probably tinker with it during the week. Kili (Lefotu) will play over there at right tackle, and we will move Keith (Jackson) in there at the guard.'

On UA's next opponent - Purdue:

'I started looking at Purdue early. They played a heck of a good game against Wake Forest, and that was a real quality game. Both teams had a lot of things going on, and they played somewhat similar offenses. They have a lot of good players. Their defense has real quality players and a lot of veterans. Shaun Phillips is one of the best pass rushers we will see all year. I like Nico Koutouvides, their middle linebacker; he is a real solid player in there. All of their key players on defense are veterans and almost all of them are seniors.'

On the remaining non-conference games against Purdue and TCU:

'We just need to play. Our guys need to play and be able to get in there and show what they can do. Both of them are veteran teams.'

On Arizona's outlook for the week:

'We have to look at how we can improve. That is really the key thing for a young team. We have to do what we can do to improve and move forward. That's where we will put our focus this week, and we will talk about that today when we meet. We have to find ways to do better.'

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