Arizona Football Weekly Press Conference Quotes

Oct. 15, 2001

On the loss at Oregon State:'All is not lost from the Oregon State game. We actually played well in spots. Defensively, we did a number of good things. We changed up some coverages and picked off a couple of passes. We had two runs against us that they got quite a bit, but other than that, yards per carry was within an acceptable range. They got us with a couple of plays that we had not seen. We were our own worst enemy, and we really hurt ourselves. It's the first time that I have seen our offense make so many mental mistakes. We need to do a better job in prepping our guys and getting them lined up where they need to line up. Part of that is coaching, and part of it is the players' awareness on the field.'

'It is not a matter of just playing with more emotion or more effort, but you have to be doing the right things at that time. You improve by putting one foot in front of the other, not trying to leap. Some of the guys are trying to leap and do too much, but by trying to leap forward, they're being knocked off balance and not getting done what needs to be done. It's such a team game, and when mistakes are made, we all pay for it.'

On this week's opponent - Washington:'Washington is a very good team, and they played a really good football team (UCLA). They have had some injuries that knocked them off a little bit, but they play well. They have one fabulous player in Larry Tripplett, and as good as he was last year, he is an even better player this year. He is the most active of any of the inside guys we've played. He is quick off the ball, he reads the blocks, and he defeats people one-on-one.'

'Omare Lowe is a talented corner and a true, pure cover corner who can line up with anybody and run with them. We won't expect to outrun him, but we won't avoid him, and we will throw his way. I am impressed with Greg Carothers their strong safety who supports the run well and is a hard hitter who does an excellent job of reading things.'

'They didn't feature the option quite as much with (Taylor) Barton, but if (Cody) Pickett does play, we have to assume that they are going to run the option. We have to be prepared for both quarterbacks, so there are two offenses that we have to get ready for this week.'

On quarterback Jason Johnson:'If he misses a throw or a read, he accepts that, and he wants to fix it and work on it. He is willing to understand when something wasn't correct. Anyone who has that kind of attitude knows that he needs to work on getting better. We have not helped him the last three weeks. He's been under a lot of pressure, and he has had a lot of hits. We need to work on our pass protection because if we can give him the kind of protection that any quarterback needs, he will make good plays.'

On inside linebacker Kirk Johnson:'The situation at the whip will not change from last week until Joe (Siofele) comes back. We play Matt Molina in the true position, and then we scheme it up. Kirk (Johnson) did well for his first game. He is a good, young prospect. He is active, and he missed a couple tackles, but I was pleased with the way he played.'

On defensive tackle Keoni Fraser:'We did play Keoni. Keoni saw all of his doctors, and they said that they see no reason why he shouldn't play. He has gone through a lot of self-examination. I talked with our seniors last week and told them that Keoni had not done everything that he is supposed to do. They felt great rapport and empathy as far as understanding that he just didn't feel right, and that he had some ups and downs. They said that it was not an issue for them if he came back and was ready to play. So, we took him, he played, and he did a fine job of holding his ground. We are hopeful that this will be a good boost for him, and I thought that taking him would be better motivation than leaving him. When the doctors cleared him, and he was given the chance to return, his spirits improved dramatically.'

On the return of Austin Uku and Eli Wnek:'The good news is that Austin Uku should be able to work out this week, and Eli Wnek will do some things. If we get those guys back for a little play, that will help us get closer to being full strength at defensive end. It will be good to see them back. They both worked out over the weekend. Austin should be able to do some things tomorrow, and Eli will do some things today. Uku and Wnek bring some good experience, especially in Eli's case because he brings a fresh enthusiasm for having had to sit out all these weeks just waiting to play.'

Mackovic's outlook:'When you sign on, you sign on for the whole season. It doesn't mean that everything is going to go your way, but you have to show up and get ready to go. Our seniors still want to get something out of the season. We have a lot of work to do, and I still believe that we can get to a bowl game. But, we have to win three out of the last five games against good teams. We also knew that this was going to be the tough stretch of the schedule.'

'We have to get back to work and pinpoint what we can get done offensively and defensively. We are going to focus on that and build our game plans around that and go from there. I believe in it (offense) completely. As we look back historically, the defense has stood up. It's not really a point of whether it (defense) can or can not. We just have to recognize on both sides what we can do and build around the things we can do. We need to be stronger fundamentally in doing a few things as opposed to trying to catch everybody off guard by trying to do a lot of things.'

'We had a fumble lost and a blocked punt for a touchdown (against Oregon State). Those things happen. We have to protect the ball. If nothing else, we just talk about ball security. Everyone who has any relationship to the ball has to protect it and force the other team to take the ball away. Had we not had those two plays, I think our defense would have played a good, solid game, and we would have been in a much closer game.'

On the team's attitude:'I don't see any players looking at others and saying 'I did my job, but you didn't do your job.' I don't see that in the locker room. These guys are good guys to coach, and they are trying to do what we want them to do. Last week, they came out and did what they were supposed to do, and we didn't win the game. That doesn't mean that it didn't work, that we didn't get better, or that we didn't make progress. We just didn't make enough progress.'

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