Arizona Football Press Conference Quotes

Sept. 23, 2002

On the loss at Wisconsin:

'They came ready to play, and we didn't. I am angry at the way we played. I know that it is my responsibility as the head coach to get the players ready to play, and I am going to address it with our coaches and with our players. That was not the kind of effort that we expect, and that's not the kind of performance we expect. We are going to do everything possible this week to make sure that we improve in what we're doing because we did not play the way we can play or should play in a game like that.'

'You have to be better than the other guys if you ever expect to beat them. You can't expect to beat them unless you can match them and outplay them. You certainly can't do it when you drop passes, have punts blocked, miss tackles, let people run in unblocked on the quarterback, blow coverages, give up the big punt return and let their quarterback out of the pocket. That's just sloppy football. It is not going to be tolerated under any extent. I am downright angry about it.'

'I was very disappointed in the way we finished the week. Last week, guys were going in slow motion. We got up to Wisconsin and had some walk-throughs, and we played like we were still going through a walk-through. That just didn't cut it. It's pretty obvious that Wisconsin pulled it off, and they could have strung a couple more on if they had wanted to.'

On this week's opponent - North Texas:

'This becomes a very important game for us. All of the games are important. We have to play better and make some improvement this week. I thought we were moving ahead, but we didn't make the kind of improvement that we should have last week. All along, I thought that games like Utah, Wisconsin and North Texas would be good for us because we would be challenged and tested more severely than we were a year ago, and that's been true. This game will mean a lot because we have to get back and get things improved. We had too many breakdowns last week, and we weren't connected as a team. We have to make sure that we get that connection this week.'

'Defensively, they come right at you, and they are just like Utah in terms of their scheme. They are after you all of the time, and they have a great zone-blitz concept and are very movement oriented. Offensively, they really have struggled. They have a very young quarterback, and they haven't gained very much running or passing the ball. They haven't had to gamble because their defense has played most of the time.'

'Their defensive tackle Brandon Kennedy is as good or better as anyone we'll see all year, and Adrian Awasom is an active defensive end who pressures the passer, bats down balls and chases down people. Jonas Buckles is an excellent free safety who is smart and gets around the ball, and Craig Jones, the strong safety, is a terrific player.'

On Arizona's lack of takeaways:

'Yes, I am surprised that we haven't forced more turnovers. We are -0.67 (in turnover margin), which is where we finished last year. If we don't create turnovers, eventually teams are going to get enough movement and make some things happen. You have to get around the ball, and you have to get the ball to where you can knock it loose or jar it loose. We have had two games in a row where we've not had a single takeaway, and that's just not good defense. If the defense doesn't take the ball away, then they are not playing well enough.'

On the team's task for the week:

'We all have responsibilities. I have responsibilities, the coaches have responsibilities, and the players have responsibilities. We all have to accept that. We all have to set forth with what we need to do, and it falls on me to help deliver that message.'

'You can't make up for a game in practice, and that's the biggest mistake that too many people make. Even if we have a few good practices, I won't be happy unless we play well on Saturday. The key is to be ready to play on Saturday because we are going to be playing a darn good defensive football team. Offensively, they have struggled, but defensively, they are good. If we can play well and win the game, that is going to set us up for the conference opener.'

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