Arizona Football Weekly Press Conference

Sept. 17, 2001

Arizona Head Coach John Mackovic Quotes

On the UNLV Rebels:'UNLV will be the best of the three teams that we have played to date. They are very athletic, they move well, they challenge you, and they have good size and speed. They return many talented players on both sides of the ball, and they have one of the most athletic defenses that we have seen.'

'They incorporate a little of what I would call the 'Deion Sanders concept.' They have one particular cornerback, Kevin Thomas, who will lock horns and get up and play bump-and-run coverage and take one particular wide receiver out of the game. They are using that as a concept. They did not use it as much against Arkansas, but they clearly used it against Northwestern.

'They have some other players up front (on defense) who have played well. Their two guys in the middle are 310 and 300 pounders. Anton Palepoi is their best man up front, and he is definitely going to be a pro prospect along with Kevin Thomas.'

'They have built their offensive attack around (quarterback) Jason Thomas. He runs a lot, and he pulls it down and goes. They have built the offense for that, and if he's on the corner, he can take off and go any time. The biggest thing for us is that we have to contain him. They use a lot of option offense, and they spring out the quarterback quite a bit so you will see him on the run. Their receivers are veteran players, and they know what they are doing. They also are the best running team that we will have seen.'

On Arizona quarterback Jason Johnson:'Jason has had two good weeks. His completion rate is 66 percent, and I like that. His only interception came on a tipped ball at San Diego State, and he has done a very good job of avoiding traffic and getting rid of the ball when he needs to. We will continue to change things just enough to keep defenses off balance, and Jason continues to learn week by week. He is coming along very well.'

On Arizona's injury report:'Austin Uku will be available this week, and he should be doing his share of the work. John Vorsheck is questionable with an ankle, and Anthony Thomas is questionable. I don't think that they (Vorsheck and Thomas) will get any higher than that. Eli (Wnek) is about a month away from playing, and Fata Avegalio really wants to get back, but the doctors are still cautious about him (coming back too soon).'

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