Kish eager to see defense perform

Arizona defensive coordinator Tim Kish is aware of the challenge Oklahoma State brings. Read on to see what he thinks of that challenge, how his team has performed, and more.

After allowing only 10 points and fewer than 300 yards in Arizona's week one victory over Northern Arizona, defensive coordinator Tim Kish is happy with how his group has progressed throughout the offseason, but of course knows there's still room for improvement heading into week two.

"We did some good things and we did some things that weren't so good on Saturday," Kish said. "That's what's to be expected in the first game, a little bit of good and a little bit of bad. I think it was good that we screwed our heads on a little bit better the second half and came out and gave a better all performance.

"Heading into week two and for the duration of the season we're continuing to work on our fundamentals and technique. For us, we have to be sound in everything we do. We don't have a lot of experience at a lot of positions, so we're just working on becoming better football players."

With the NAU game in the rear view mirror, the focus now shifts to slowing down the juggernaut offense of Oklahoma State on Thursday night. Despite the short week, coach Kish and the Arizona defense have been preparing for an extended period of time for the Cowboys.

"There are things that we did over the summer that really entered into the game plan for this week," Kish said. "We knew we weren't going to get a lot of practice time, so most of the stuff was done prior to this week.

"We aren't going to change up our base, we're going to do what we think we can do best. We tried to add a few little things and hopefully that'll help us out on Thursday night."

Throughout that summer's worth of preparation loomed large the disappointment of Arizona's 36-10 loss in the 2010 Alamo Bowl at the hands of Oklahoma State just short of nine months ago.

It would be easy for the Wildcats to wallow in the embarrassment of their December performance, but Kish insists that his team has moved forward and put the Alamo Bowl behind it.

"I think we've gotten to a point where it's been stuck in our head all offseason," Kish said. "We've had a whole offseason to prepare for it. This is the one opportunity we have right now is this game, so I don't think they're reflecting on it too much. They should be motivated like heck to get back out there and play this opponent."

Forgetting the past and embracing the opportunity to get its revenge against Oklahoma State will be the responsibility of the 2011 team, in which Kish sees several differences from the 2010 squad.

"I think overall with this group there's a little more camaraderie right now," Kish said. "I really like the way they're playing together and there's a real focus. I'm excited to see how we progress because we have a long ways to go and we can only play one week at a time, so we'll see."

So with perhaps the most highly anticipated game of the season just about to kick off, coach Kish is prepared to turn his players loose and fight to stay undefeated and ultimately overcome the ghosts of last year's Alamo Bowl.

"I just want my guys to play hard and play with a lot of emotion," Kish said. "I want them to fly around, and we'll let the chips fall where they may at that point."

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