Stoops ready to embrace USC's challenge

Arizona is set to take on USC Saturday and head coach Mike Stoops is ready to embrace the challenge. Read on for his thoughts on the game, an injury report, and more.

On Wednesday, Arizona head coach Mike Stoops met with the media after practice and expressed his readiness to get out on the field Saturday against USC.

"I feel great, I'm excited to go play and I think our players are too," Stoops said. "This is what it's all about, and if I wasn't excited to go and play, I shouldn't be here right now. It's another huge challenge for our team and I'm excited to see how they embrace this challenge in this difficult time. I feel very confident in what we're doing and certainly our players are improving."

Stoops also took a chance to look back and make a little joke about the difficulty of Arizona's schedule to this point in the season.

"It's been a tough month," Stoops said. "We've played some very good teams and some very good players on those teams. We're looking to schedule Oklahoma and Alabama in week 13 and 14. Maybe even the Packers."

The last time Arizona visited USC, it was able to come away with a 21-17 victory in 2009. While that memory is a good one for Stoops and the team, he knows that these are two different teams taking the field in this year's contest.

"That victory is a memory that we can draw on, but certainly each year is different," Stoops said. "This is a much different team we have today than two years ago and they're much different as well. It was a good feeling, and there are some players that were a part of that. We'll draw from those memories, but we need to play better than we have."

One area that has been lacking for the Wildcats this season has been the pass rush, due in large part to the injury to Mohammed Usman in week two against Oklahoma State. However, the senior defensive end could be back in the lineup this week against USC.

"The unfortunate part for Mohammed is that he's been hurt since the Oklahoma State game," Stoops said. "He sprained his ankle and he's been limited since the first snap of the Oklahoma State game. He's back close to 100 percent, and we need some guys to step up and help us.

"Right now we're struggling to come up with big plays, sacks, pressures, and that makes it hard. Mohammed plays hard all of the time and practices hard and it's unfortunate he's been hurt."

Other UA players have suffered injuries throughout the season, and Stoops addressed those as well.

"I'm not sure about Austin Hill," Stoops said. "I'm not sure whether he'll be ready to go, he's questionable at best. Same with Adam Hall."

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