Here come the Troops!

Stoops' troops have reported for duty. The Wildcat football team may have been in Tucson for most of the summer, but they checked in on Wednesday to begin fall camp. Head coach Mike Stoops addressed the media about the team.

Opening comments:

"It all counts now. We did well throughout the winter and the summer. We worked on our execution with this football team. That is what was missing, our ability to execute in critical situations. I think we have a better understanding on both sides of the ball, and more experienced players."

"Hopefully we learned a lot about our team in the last 12 months, Hopefully our team is a lot more confident and comfortable. With that Being said I am excited about both sides of the ball."

When you look at this team from last year to this year I think it will be much experienced and able to sustain good offensive play and good Defensive play. I think we played well at times in spurts. We were not Mentally or physically strong enough to carry that through a whole four quarters."

On being picked eighth in the Pac-10

(8th) It is better than 10th. We were 10th last year also we moved up two spots. I don't pay much attention to that. The thing I was interested in was 2 through 5 were separated by very little. There was no clear cut second team. If a team can get it going at the right time can really make a move. We really feel like we are one of those teams."

He was asked if he had a particular message for the team on the eve before camp:

Our work ethic and our attitude are things we are going to build on. We are developing a team. I really appreciate the things these guys have been able to accomplish the last year and a half. We have made up a tremendous amount of ground on people. The big thing is we need to go into camp and concentrate on each day and focus on not so much what is the prize at the end but focus on what we can control day in and day out. If you do those the wins will fall into place. You have to focus on execution and technique and learning how to play at a high rate of speed. Those are things we will concentrate on." "(People are looking at it are you good enough to have a winning season and go to a bowl season. We will talk about those things and what we need to do day in and day out. Wins and scoring will fall into place. It gets down to execution. You need to focus on what will make us a better team. That is guys playing up to their capabilities."

On his first year as a head coach:

"You need to experience some of the things you experienced throughout. it is what it is. To be a first time head coach with this team, knowing these players for the first time was a battle in itself, getting to know the kids and see how they were going to react in certain situations, see how I would react under certain situations. There is a lot of things I nee to do better as a head coach."

"It was like shock to them on what they had to do day in and day out. Now it is repetition and it is expected. It becomes habit forming. You don't hear the moaning and groaning. Guys know how to handle themselves on a daily basis. Those are big things."

"We were not able to attack people's weaknesses at times last year because we were weak in a lot of areas. We will be much stronger in those areas and hopefully we can attack other teams in a better way."

On increased attendance:

"I don't worry about that. I think if you put a great product and show an exciting brand of football, I think that will take care of itself. I am not going to beg anybody to come and watch us play. I would like to think we are better than going to a good movie. I don't know. Maybe in the past it was more of a horror film out there watching. Maybe they got scared. Hopefully this year they will find us more entertaining. Maybe it will be worth the price, it is not an experience ticket. it is not really experience, come watch."

On increased ticket sales:

I am happy about that. This community has supported this staff and the players since we arrived. I know there were a lot of disgruntled fans in the past. Again, it takes time to build a program. It was a great atmosphere playing Arizona state. hopefully people have a great feeling about that. That is the way we can play week in and week out. that is what we expect, that brand of football. That exciting style. That is something I think we will."

We will not be a defensive minded team like teams in the pas. We are going to be wide open on offense and we need to be more explosive, and have the ability to throw the ball down the field. those are areas we can improve. We can get more exciting. We have more explosive players in the system than we ever have before. We have guys who can go a long way. we have some game breaking players. We have to keep working to get them in positions to make some plays."

On the progress of the incoming freshmen:

"Everything we recruited and everything our strength and conditioning guys have told us is that it is everything that is advertised. I have not seen these kids compete or workout, but from what the older players tell us they are all very skilled. they have all been in a major part of the summer, they all took summer classes and have done well."

"Willie Tuitama is the only freshman I believe didn't take class. he was here just working on football. He was taking his own class, a quarterback help. He did study tape every day. I think Willie got an A+ in his class. We will see how well he did tutoring himself."

On the receiving corps:
I love our competition at wide receiver....I think we have six really quality receivers that have played a great amount of football."

"Anthony Johnson I am proud of, he has really retooled his body and really done well. Mike Thomas is a guy you will see. We will try to work in. He is a kid from DeSoto early and see hat he can do. he is a 10.3 100-meter guy. he has great abilities to make moves out in space. He is a guy we have to find. He is a Steptoe type of receiver inside."

On the depth of the offensive line:

"Hawes is a guy we thought was the best offensive tackle in the country last year. He gives us another option at tackle. Left tackles are really hard to find. We feel Peter and Adam Hawes are both great left tackles.

On the addition of instant replay in the Pac-10:

I am in favor of it. Anytime you can correct a human error let's do it and get the job done right. There is a lot of parity, a lot of times at particular time it is very critical. A lot of people say you got beat by this, we had a young and fragile team, it just didn't go our way. Those are things that happen."

"At some point I would like to be more like the NFL where you have more control of reviewable plays.

On if he had the ability to throw a flag last year:

"I might have gotten charged with assault if I had one."

On taking a greater role in the offense:

"We retooled a couple of things. We didn't throw the ball very confidently at the beginning of the first half of the year. People knew that they put a bunch of guys at the line of scrimmage. We didn't attack people. We played conservatively and we didn't play confidently and aggressive enough. That is what we are going to change. We are going to be aggressive and utilize our skilled players on the perimeter. I think we have gotten more confident at quarterback and we have better players out in the perimeter. We have to catch the football better or we are not going to win. you are not going to pound people forever in this league. People stack the line of scrimmage with 7 or 8 or nine men fronts and challenged us. We didn't challenge back. that is something we are going to be conscious of. We are going to attack people down the field and make people respect us and try to loosen up our running game."

Trying to find balance in the offense is something we never did a good job in all year. That goes from a lack of confidence in our ability to throw the ball."

"I believe we have three aggressive style quarterbacks with big arms. We have receivers that really showed great improvement. They made some big plays in the Arizona State game. That is an area we have to be better at, and challenge people in the outside and make plays. People are going to challenge us and play press coverage and man us up we have to win the battles outside or it will be another long year."

" Richard (Kovalcheck) will take all the snaps at one.---We will get those two to split reps at No. 2. We can't take snaps away from Richard"

"We want to see what Willie can do and give him a chance to compete for the backup position--from what we know Willie has great skills and we have to give him a chance to compete for the position."

Wildcat Authority Top Stories