Arizona Football Press Conference Quotes

Jan. 23, 2004

ARIZONA HEAD COACH Mike Stoops

Opening remarks:
'I am very excited about the way things are shaping up at this time. I could not be more excited about our staff. We have started our strength and conditioning program, and the guys have done a great job this week. I am really happy with what Corey (Edmond) and Mark (Hill) are doing with our program right now. I am very excited about the progress that we have made in a very short period of time in all aspects of our program. I feel like we have the right people here to do what we need to get done, and that is a comforting thought to me and to our players, as well. There is a different look in the players' eyes right now, and that is a positive sign. Everything is going as well as we could have planned.'

'I can't think of any changes right now personnel-wise. Obviously, there will be some changes. But, right now, I will concentrate on getting accustomed to each player and his specific needs. It has just been hard through the recruiting process, and everything has happened so fast, but our personalized attention now will come with our players here.'

On the hectic schedule that goes into building a winning program:
'They all have been busy days for everyone. Things change so much day to day with recruits. In addition to all of the recruiting, I am getting a feel for our players and making sure that their needs are taken care of at this point. We have to make sure that we don't leave our players out. It is time consuming, but we have made up a lot of ground in a very short period of time. I've learned that you can't do everything in one day. We are getting there; we are much stronger than at any point last year. I know that is not saying a whole lot, but we are excited about our possibilities.'

On the new strength and conditioning program:
'It is something that you train for. Our guys aren't conditioned for it as well as we would like, so it is an eye-opening experience to some effect. But, I think the players understand what has to be done in order to be successful in this league or in any other league. There is a great commitment that comes with being successful. Our players are starting to realize that, and they know what they have to do in order to put our team in a position to win games.'

'It helps your program in so many different ways. Not only does it help you physically, but also the mental toughness part is really how your team is formulated. We want to be known as a physical and mentally tough football team, and those are things that we would like people to recognize in our program. At the programs that I have been associated with, people knew that we were going to be a tough and physical team. I don't know if we are that right now, but that is what we are going to strive to become.'

On the 'voluntary' summer workouts:
'They are voluntary, and we expect our players wholeheartedly to be here in a way that gives them the best possible chance to compete for a championship. You get what you put in, so if you don't put much in, you are probably not going to get much out. It is an investment that each and every one has to make individually, and if they want to have a successful football team, I would imagine that they would want to be here and do it on their own. It is a great correlation to the types of summers you have and the types of seasons you have. I have been around teams that have great summer workouts and have great seasons. Our players have to realize that it is a commitment that comes from within, and they need to have that inner toughness to get it done.'

On the recent hiring of Mike Canales and Mike Tuiasosopo:
'Both are very dynamic coaches. The process is taking some time, but I want to make sure that we can have some dynamic personalities and coaches that bring instant credibility to our players and to this staff. I could not be more impressed with those two guys. We have very talented people on this staff that bring a lot of energy to the program, and like the two we just hired, they will have a great impact on our young players.'

'On the recruiting trail, I was out with Mike (Tuiasosopo) this week, and his connection to the islands is a connection that we need to re-establish here at Arizona. We have had a lot of great players come here through the islands, so that will be an area that we will recruit heavily and try to build bridges there that we have destroyed over the last few years. We are going to make a concerted effort to make that a strong area for us. We were able to establish ourselves very quickly because Mike is very well received and thought of in high regards over there. Mike's ties to the West Coast are very important. He is appreciated in that area, and he brings a lot to the table in a variety of ways. I couldn't be happier with him coaching the defensive line.'

'Mike Canales is a guy we wanted because he can get us into some spread types of offenses, and he is going to get us back into the West Coast style of offense that will revolve around the quarterback, wide receivers and the back. He is a great guy to teach our young and talented quarterbacks. He will have a great impact on our offense. I like the diversity of his coaching background, and with his NFL experience, he has developed a thoroughness with which to approach different game plans. His ability to dissect things quickly will be a great asset in trying to find weaknesses in opposing defenses.'

On filling the staff's final coaching vacancy:
'Well, we have one spot left, but I have taken my time because it is very important to get a staff that fits well together. I'm waiting for it to fall into place. It is amazing how coaches are here and want to be here; that excites me. It is like recruiting because I think that you get the kids you are supposed to get, and the same thing is true with hiring coaches. I have waited purposely to find people that fit in and want to be here. I am excited about that. The last spot will be filled in the same way that the others have been filled.'

'It's hard telling people no because you can't hire all of your friends. It's hard because there are a lot of good, young coaches out there. This is a great program, and we have a lot to sell. Hiring those nine guys and getting the nine to fit so well together has been difficult. There are so many qualified guys, but it just comes down to finding the best fit for this program.'

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