Arizona Football Media Day Quotes

Aug. 7, 2001

On the start of fall training camp:'We are finally underway. We've worked so hard all year, and we have worked hard to get ready to put our team out on the field. We're only 23 days away from our opener, and it seems like it will be upon us so quickly, and we haven't even begun practicing. Our team feels the same way. They are very anxious to get started, and they're excited about what they have to look forward to. We have a lot of unanswered questions, and some seem to pop up on a daily basis, but we are doing our best to solve those question marks.'

'We look forward to an excellent camp. We have to get our team in game-playing condition. They are not ready to play because no one has knocked them down. Our job right now is to get them into playing shape. We have to get them so their muscles are taut and toned. We have to get our starting and second units ready, and we need to have a travel squad fairly well-established by the first game. We are going to give our rookies a good look because I expect that we have rookies who are talented enough to play. We will be moving so fast, and we gave to teach our team how we prepare for a game. We have to get ready for our first game. We have plenty to do, and we will never have enough time. We just have to make the most of the time that we have.'

'We are not at 105 players, but we are actually at 103. Chris Palic came in Sunday evening, and he told us that he had accepted a job to be a policeman in Oro Valley, so he is not going to return this year. That opens the door for us to begin tryouts, so to speak, at our punting position. It will be interesting, and it is an area that we have to pay careful attention to in the practices.'

'Anthony Thomas did not make his weigh-in weight, and in an attempt to cut weight, he tried to run in order to sweat off some pounds. He became overheated and dehydrated, so he was taken to UMC and released last evening. It was a foolish thing to do, trying to knock off some weight at the last minute. He had plenty of time to do that during the summer. His status is still unresolved at this point.'

On the quarterback situation:'Jason (Johnson) is clearly in the lead. There is no question about that. We gave players equal opportunity for most of spring practice, but in the last two weeks, we game him more reps. As we come into the training camp, we'll go back to sharing quite a bit. Gradually, Jason will get to the pont where he is getting a minimum of 65 percent of the work, so he will get a high percentage of the work.'

On injuries to the defensive line:'With the injury to Eli Wnek, and the fact that Anthony (Thomas) is questionable, and Johnny Jackson has a back that is flaring up a little bit, that puts our defensive line category also in a point of needing some help and immediate attention. Johnny (Jackson) will probably be held back a little bit. We're hopeful that he will be able to get into things quickly, but we don't know, and we will have to see what he can do.

'I was interested to see if someone would let me know if they wanted to help the team and make a position change. Two or three guys said they would do it, but one, James Hugo, is our starting tight end. We seem to have found a couple of other people who can move in there and help us during camp.'

'Eli (Wnek) will probably be out until October. It is a tough break for him, but I firmly believe that if he can come back right on time, he has a great chance of making academic All-American. He is an outstanding student, and no one will come back with more of a passion to play and do a good job.'

On the training camp schedule:'We will have our morning practices at Camp Rincon. Generally we will be there at approximately 8:45 a.m., and practice starts about 9 a.m. We will practice here (at McKale) in the afternoons. We will go back to Camp Rincon for practice in the evening, with practice starting at 8 p.m. In the mornings we will feature emphasis on the running game although we will do a lot of passing all of the time. We have to be sure that we get our run installation in every day.'

'We will wear full pads in the morning and have a heavier amount of line work in the morning. The players will wear lighter gear in the afternoon practices, and the evening practices will go either way.'

On the weather/health issues:'We have talked with the players about the weather. Their safety and health are our primary concerns in coaching them. We've talked about hydrating, and we've taken great precautions. We will have tents that will provide an excellent place to get out of the sun and get shade. One of the issues with the weather is that as you work, your temperature begins to rise because the body is generating a lot of activity. Sometimes, because of the weather, you have to be able to stop, let the body rest and cool down. If it gets to the point where we get additional humidity, we will throw an extra break in there.'

On the trends in college football:'The defensive teams are no longer bend-but-don't break teams. They are all going to knock you back. They all want to knock you into long yardage. No one is saying that we'll give them four yards here and there. Last year, even here at Arizona, when the opponents took the ball and had 80 yards or more to go for a drive, they only scored one touchdown and one field goal. That's pretty impressive. You will find similar numbers in the conference but probably not that low.'

'The focus is clearly on big-play offense and big-play defense. We have to bring that attitude to coaching and to the game. That is what I see as the norm in the game. This past year, passing accounted for 58 percent of the offense (total yards) in college football, so if you're a 50-50 team, you're below the norm.'

On the preseason Pac-10 poll:'Our team believes they are better than that. It really doesn't matter. We will take care of our games one at a time. It's not a rallying cry for us.'

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