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Postgame Quotes - Mississippi State at Arizona

Sep 10, 2022

Mississippi State at Arizona
Sept. 10, 2022
Postgame Quotes

Arizona head coach Jedd Fisch
Opening Statement:
First of all, I want to thank our fans. Our student section was incredible tonight. People have told me about people leaving early at halftime, but it was packed (after halftime). We came back in the third quarter. It was packed really all the way through. We made a couple good stops on third and fourth down because of the student section. They were awesome tonight. I thought our fans in general were great. We had probably I don't know the numbers, but it looked like there was a lot of people there. And as we're building our program, we need them to keep fighting with us, and keep building with us. And as we build this stadium into being a packed house, we'll continue to improve and play better.
"To start, give credit to Mississippi State. They're a good football team. I don't think there's any question about that. That didn't surprise us that they're very good football team. I thought we were in the game the whole way through. I think we were down 18- 10 driving down at the end of the half and took a sack we shouldn't have taken. So we need to be better there.
"And then I think it's just as we continue on this build, we're going to go through some ebbs and flows. We have a lot of young guys and we have a lot of new guys and we're continuing to try to improve every single day, which we will. It's exciting to see us play the way we played defensively – we turned the ball over three times and took the ball away three times. Clearly, we're getting what we emphasize there. Three tip balls were interceptions today, and we tell our team all the time that the tips and overthrows on defense you have to get those. And on offense you have to avoid them at all costs. And we got three tips that were all (turned into) touchdowns. So we got to be better there and all three of those phases. But all our guys competed until the very end and and they played really hard tonight."
What's your assessment of how quarterback Jaden de Laura played tonight?
"I think he probably had some ups and downs. There were some good plays that he made. But there was just too many critical errors that we need to improve upon and I could help him out better."
There were some plays where it looked like he could have maybe stepped up and ran. Is that something that you dress them after the game? 
"Yeah, it's something we've talked about. And I think we will get better there. And I need to do a better job at practice making sure that he recognizes those running opportunities when they do present themselves and take advantage of them in a game versus sometimes in practice. You want to try to get the receiver work and the DB work and, and whatnot. So that's on me. I think that he'll continue to improve. Jaden's a special player and he will continue to lead us."
On struggling to run the ball overall in the game:
It was very hard to run the football tonight. I would certainly say what was frustrating was that we wound up snapping the ball over our head and now it's a second-and-19. Or never got into the good down-and-distances that would allow us to continue to run the football. And then we ran up having those two two minute drives. And I'm sure I'm gonna look at the stats and see that we probably ran the ball 20 times or throw 25 times but we need to be able to run the ball better. And I think when we can have balance, we're a better football team."
Arizona defensive end Jalen Harris:
On the defensive performance overall:
"I would say the defense did an okay job [against the pass attack]. There were plays we could have made and things we could fix and we'll look at that film and improve off that and just get better."
Anything they were doing to keep you from getting to the quarterback?
"I would say just quick throws, but that's what their offense does. When you watch them on film, it's a lot of quick throws and they run their zone reads. Really, we just have to take our keys and focus on getting to the quarterback."
On Mississippi State controlling the time of possession:
"We just try to take it play by play and focus on that play and try to win that down. That doesn't really affect us, we just want to get off the field."
Arizona running back Michael Wiley:
General thoughts on the game:
"They kind of made us play out of our game a little bit. I believe we can do a better job with our tempo."
On the locker room mood following the game:
"Our locker room [after the game] was very encouraging. We've got 10 more games and we're just taking it week by week."
Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach
How would you characterize the team's performance tonight?
"I thought both teams played really hard. I thought when we played with 11, they didn't stop us. I thought it was a complete team win with offense, defense and special teams. Of course if both sides play hard, they are going to cause turnovers."
How big was it to get all of those turnovers to combat your errors?
"Turnovers really washed out, but our biggest thing was our defense getting multiple stops on fourth down. Offense and defense complementing one another, but we have polish things up."
How big was kicker Ben Raybon for you tonight?
"I think he was pretty dominant. He drilled field goals and extra points, and really did it all. He had an impressive game and needs to keep it up."
Mississippi St. QB Will Rogers
How big were those interceptions and stops on 4th down for the defense to maintain the moment you guys were trying to build?
"It was huge the way they got stops there at the end, and really all throughout the game. I mean we got a turnover and then we gave it right back to them, which is just awful on our part. We have to do a better job of getting the right plays on and really just taking care of the ball once we have a reception."
How important was that 4th down touchdown to Austin there early in the 4th quarter?
"It was huge.  I think we tried to draw them offsides and then I don't know if we had a play on, but I just called something because it was open. It was a good play and a pretty big momentum shifter to get seven (points) right there. I think we did a pretty bad job in the redzone tonight. I thought we needed to do a better job of scoring touchdowns and less field goals."
On a 22-point road win against another Power 5 team:
"I think we played pretty bad at times. I think we can play a lot better. I don't want to be negative, you know, I'm so proud of how we came out here to win a night game. It's two o'clock back home. But I'm proud of the team and things like that, but we have so much to work on. And we're about to find out what we're made of this week".