Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE
Freshman safety Isaiah Hayes made his first collegiate start against UCLA, but the newcomer never envisioned the opportunity in the manor of which it unfolded.
“It was a blessing to be out there,” Hayes said. “I just want to thank my coaches and I thank god for the opportunity I got. It’s crazy because as a freshman those opportunities are so rare especially with the guys we have back there.
“I have to thank my teammates of course for helping me throughout the week prepare. They’ve been a huge help to me all season learning all the technique needed to be out there. You have to make sure you’ve got all that down if you expect to be playing.
“I’ve always been an aggressive player,” he said. “I come from a family that is all football but most of my level of play is because of coaching. It’s really about seeing things and preparing based off what the coaches put together for us.
"Film, breakdowns on paper and everything is really why I’m where I am at this point. Seeing a lot of that stuff during the week on tape allows you to react faster on game day when it all happens. I’ve seen it before so I know what to do.”
Despite Arizona’s significant struggles in the secondary, Hayes feels the unit’s coaching is meeting expectations and much more.
“Last week was a challenge but I thought our coaches did an excellent job of preparing us for them throughout the week,” Hayes said. “Our scout team was really helping me recognize a lot of the little things they did and you always want that support.
“Coach Yates and all those guys are always working with us as a unit to get better. We’re looking at team’s movements, lots of motions and formations to be as familiar about everything our opponent runs as we can.
"That way we can move on the fly and read a lot of things. I’m just blessed to have the coaches we have and their work makes it all less challenging on game day.”
Nevertheless, Hayes understands his individually play and the defensive unit is a work in progress moving forward.
“Alignment and assignment are two big areas for me that could be better,” he said. “I could have made some adjustments on certain plays but that’s just how it goes. There’s always something to work on.”
“You can never be satisfied if you want to be the best out there. We go into every game not underestimating the opponent. Our team is expecting the best out of whoever we are playing each week so every game is an equal challenge in my mind. We’re going to go out on the field full speed and play relentless.”