Arizona Football Teleconference Quotes

Nov. 17, 2002

On the win at California:

'We made plays yesterday that we have been a step away from or even a fingertip away from making in other games. We made the kinds of plays yesterday that would have changed everything in other games. We allowed ourselves the freedom to go ahead and make the big plays. The win was not a surprise to our team. The players knew what they wanted to do, and they knew how we wanted to do things. We never thought about losing.'

'We had a lot of young players on that field yesterday, and our young freshmen and sophomores were putting themselves in position to make a lot of plays. But, let's not forget that a lot of the veteran players, like Ray Wells, Bobby Wade, Jason Johnson, Lance Briggs, Jarvie Worcester and David Hinton, played well and made the big plays when we needed them.'

'On Ray Wells' first interception, it looked like (Kyle) Boller threw it right to him, but it was because of the pressure that we put on the quarterback. With the second interception, Ray made a great play; he batted the ball, pivoted around and caught it.'

'Bobby Wade made a couple of catches that are just indescribable, and Jason (Johnson) made the kinds of plays that we needed.'

'After the game, the players were tired, and they knew what they gave for the game. I think the trip home was a time for the players to relax and savor the win, and it was a chance for them to think about all of the good things they did in the game.'

On freshmen defensive ends Marcus Smith and Copeland Bryan:

'Marcus Smith had been troubled with a high ankle sprain for much of the season, but he really looked sharp last week in practice, especially on Thursday. He played a lot on Saturday and had two sacks. Copeland Bryan also played very well for us. Both have shown great speed at the end positions.'

On freshman cornerback Jason Martin:

'The three-man rotation at corner worked out well. Jason Martin played a lot of plays, and he did a fine job for us. It wasn't just mop-up duty for Jason; it was all tough stuff. We had worked with Jason at wide receiver during the week, but when Darrell (Brooks) was not able to go, we knew Jason would be doing a lot of things on defense.'

On junior offensive lineman Brandon Phillips:

'Brandon came back yesterday after missing parts of the last few games, and he had his best game of the year.'

On the running game:

'We still did not run the ball very well against California. We have an extra week to look at some things, but I do not think it is appropriate to invent a new run game at this stage of the season. We are going to work on some things and mix and match with our passing attack.'

'Gilbert Harris really stepped up on Saturday and caught the ball on a big third down, and he ran the ball hard inside. The field was a little wet yesterday, so the guys with great speed, like Gainus (Scott) and Mike (Bell), slipped at times, which hurt. Overall, our young backs are getting better.'

On Arizona's final game of the season versus Arizona State:

'It is unbelievably better to be coming off a win heading into the ASU game, and now the team can turn its focus completely toward the other team. ASU has had a big-play offense all year, and they have a great pass-rush defense led by Terrell Suggs, who is the best in the country. It will be quite a duel between Shaun McDonald and Bobby Wade, and the two quarterbacks.'

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