Mike Stoops Q&A

Arizona has a bye week, but that doesn't mean that the Cats were at rest. Arizona spent the first four days of the week practicing, before giving the team the weekend off. Mike Stoops discussed where the Wildcats are as a football team.

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On the task at hand:

"We want to get a lot of fundamental work. Try to go back and summarize what we've done over the past four games and see where we're at, what we need to emphasize, kind of self-scout ourselves to see exactly what we're doing and where to get better and tendencies. Make sure we aren't giving too strong of tendencies just try to keep some balance and just try to get better fundamentally. We practice against each other a good deal of the time just so we get good on good work."

On good and bad over the last four games:

"There's a lot of good. It's tough. There's just such a fine line between winning and losing and we keep teetering on it and need to find a way to break through. We had a great opportunity that slipped through our hands Saturday. But again I'm not discouraged by anything we see on tape or what we're doing. I get more and more encouraged watching our team play and perform. Hopefully we've learned from some of these obstacles and get better, and it hurts a great deal and it ought to, and if it doesn't they ought not to be playing here. I think our kids have played well."

On the good timing of the break:

"Definitely. I think we needed one, I think we're mentally spent and physically, when you play four games of that caliber, high intensity close games every play seems to matter and that wears on you, so I think it's a good time for us."

On UCLA:

"We'll start self-scouting them this week as we start. We'll start on them tomorrow (Tuesday) but we'll still work on ourselves a period of time. We have to get a good game plan for UCLA. Hopefully the extra time and extra work will get us some good situations to get in."

On Friday Saturday and Sunday off:

"Yeah…It's a nice break for the kids. The kids get an opportunity to go home if they want, they deserve it."

On blitzing:

"I think you just try to come from different angles and get different people involved, try to get them guessing. Their protection you want to look at and try to understand and give you the best opportunities to get there, you don't want to just blitz to blitz. You have to have deception wherever you're coming from to be effective as well, so we just change them up week-to-week."

On Brandon Phillips' first game:

"I thought Brandon played really well, he did some really good things and played strong and physical in there and definitely makes us better."

On Defensive Coordinator Mark Stoops:

"I think he brings the same competitiveness and passion that we all do. He's very involved, he's got a great feel. He's similar to me and Bob (Stoops), we all have similar styles and instincts in the way we see or perceive things, we see things and he picks things up very keenly…He's just smart, very instinctive. Those are all good strong qualities."

On what to tell the kids after emotional loss:

"There's not much. We played as hard as we can, we coach as hard as we can, we play as hard as we can, we don't mean to make the mistakes, kids don't intentionally try to do things wrong, we have to learn and put them in situations. We should have coached our back to just hit the ground. That's our fault, but it's both. He has a responsibility to hold onto the ball, but we should have ran the play. We weren't trying to get a first down, we just tried to use seconds off the clock to run plays and get on the ground and that's just something we have to learn, we have to coach, we haven't been in that situation, it's something we should have spent more time on."

On team's spirit:

"I think it's very good. We played well as a team, and I think the kids have stuck together. I think they like how they're playing, they see the improvement they've made. Again, I think they're really working well as a group."

NOTES:

*Although the team has the weekend off, the coaches will be busy. A number of coaches will be on the road to check out high school prospects.

*Nic Costa has been officially moved back to quarterback. He'll battle Richard Kovalcheck for the No. 2 spot behind Kris Heavner.


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