Arizona Football Teleconference Quotes

Sept. 1, 2002

On Arizona's performance against Northern Arizona:

'The first game always is a good measuring stick to find out whether we performed at a level that we can build upon, or whether we performed at a level that we have to re-assess some players or things that we are trying to do.'

'With such a young team, I'm glad that we had a game like this. We really did need that to get some kind of a measuring stick on several of these guys. We knew that we were going to have a lot of freshmen in the lineup this year, and we likely will have more. It's part of where we are in the development of our team. It doesn't mean that we can't win games, but it means that some of these young guys have to learn very quickly.'

'We'll move on from there because as I told our team in the lockerroom, our curve ascends very quickly from this point on. We have to get ready to play Utah and Wisconsin back to back, and those are going to be two very physical teams. We'll have to play with more strength at the point of attack, both offensively and defensively.'

On Arizona's turnover-free opener:

'It's a credit to the team and the way they were focused on the things that we wanted to do. We had no turnovers. We had a few balls that were around people, but they didn't get them. We created a couple turnovers, blocked two kicks, and that part of it was a good start for us.'

On senior quarterback Jason Johnson:

'Jason really had a heck of a good game, and he did the things that he felt he could do. He's very comfortable. Jason is comfortable with the offense and where the receivers are on the field. There were a couple times where he missed a play that he knows he can get, but he was right on with so many good throws. We had a lot of receivers catching balls last night, like Ricky Williams who hadn't played much in the past. We got the ball into Clarence's (Farmer) hands three times, and Joey Willrodt got a ball. The tight ends got a couple balls thrown at them, and still there is plenty to go around for the wide receivers.'

On the wide receivers:

'Our receiving corps is about what we expected. I don't think that they are any more or any less than expected, but we had too many dropped balls last night, and that certainly is an issue that we want to talk with them about. We have players who can do things, and we know what they can do, and we're building players like freshman Biren Ealy and Juan Valentine, who is new to our team, into productive members.'

On the Arizona secondary:

'I thought that Darrell (Brooks) played very well. Michael Jolivette had a good game too. Those two guys on the corner give us solid play. David Hinton came in last night, and Gary Love got in on some plays. We have more depth of quality players at that position than we did last year.'

On a balanced attack:

'I didn't really have a number count. We talk about being 50-50, and rarely are we right on the number, but we were last night. I just felt that we needed to do what we should do. They were stacking the run pretty heavily early in the game, so we tried to use the pass to loosen them up a little bit, but they just refused to loosen. They just wanted to get in there and make sure that Clarence (Farmer) didn't get going.'

On Arizona's game plan versus NAU:

'We had a little more of a limited game plan, but we used everything that we wanted to use or tried to use. I don't think Larry (Mac Duff) held back on defense, and we didn't really hold back anything (on offense). We might not have gone into the same detail of some specialized plays for this defense because we felt that we had what we needed, especially in the passing game. We didn't try to go into the same kind of detail with the run game. We felt that we could line up and run some of our standard plays. We did feel that our passing game had a good opportunity to move the ball. The key in having a good, balanced attack is being able to take advantage of the things that you really can do.'

On the Wildcats' bye week:

'As it turned out for us with so many of our offensive linemen banged up, it really is good for us. I would trade it for an open date in the middle of the season, but we don't have that this year.'

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