Mike Stoops: Mike Thomas is just about clear. We feel good about him being part of our game plan.
"They will put a cast on the back of his hand to stabilize his and. As long as he has motion in his fingers (hew ill be okay). Marvin Harrison has been playing all year with a broken thumb, he just puts a little cast on it and goes out and plays. he is not marvin harrison, but you see guys playing with that."
On getting a week off to prepare:
Stoops: It was a good week to get caught up and get healthy and work on some academic issues as well. I thought it was a good week to have off. I look for us to gain a lot of energy today and through the week."
"It worked out well for us. We were able to get a bunch of our guys healthy. We were kind of banged up after the Washington game. We would probably have been out without two or three guys at least. Willie was banged up too. We would have been really hurt this year. It worked out we had time to get our guys healthy."
On comparing this year from last year:
Stoops: "I think we are overall a little bit more stable than last year. Obviously we still have a ways to go, but I like the direction we are headed. We have more young talented at this time than a year ago. Look at Mike Thomas, Willie Tuitama, Adrian McCovy. We are very young in a lot of areas, but young with good players. Look at going back a year, I don't know we had the depth then that we do now. There are a lot of guys we have not played that are physically ready to play.
"We have been close to using some of our young guys, but we just didn't think it was the right time to do it. With the recruiting class last year was important we had quality depth." Losing a guy like B.J. Vickers really was hard for us to overcome during the course of the year. We needed a big receiver out there. Anthony Johnson has come on, but we need to add another receiver to this receiving corps to get to where we want it to go."
On how the offense has been:
Stoops: "Offensively I like the way we are headed. We are much improved. The stability at quarterback gives you a chance to get better and recruit. He is a great thrower of the football."
On the play of Willie Tuitama:
Stoops: "My thoughts on Willie have not changed, they have just gotten stronger." "You don't want him to lose confidence in what he is doing. You can't worry about those mistakes. You can't lose his aggressive style." I feel good about our future with Willie as our quarterback."
On ASU's Rudy Carpenter:
Stoops: "I have been impressed with him. I think he has done an unbelievable job." They have a great system in throwing the football. I've seen Keller, Carpenter and Walters, all of them look very similar. Tehy are very accurate and they understand their routes. They know where they want to go with the football.. They do a great job of coaching their kids." Their passing game is tough to handle."
On the keys to winning the game:
Stoops: "It gets down to execution and turnovers. That has really been our nemesis all year. We are not good enough to turn the ball over three, four, five times a game."
Arizona State was a lot better team coming into this game a year ago, but they turned the ball over. We won the turnover battle 5-2, that was the difference in the game."
On the rivalry with ASU
Stoops: "I always watched it because it was unique, on a Friday. I watched it from afar at Oklahoma. I think it is like any in state rivalry game, just like Oklahoma/Oklahoma State, Kansas/Kansas State, you have one side of the state versus the other side of the state."
On how this affects in-state recruiting:
Stoops: "There are probably 10 kids we look at in the state of Arizona. I would say that is a fair estimate of kids. some like Arizona State, some like Arizona. You recruit them all. I would imagine this game has some significance, but I don't think it has a major, major impact. We have recruited well in Phoenix. they have too. "(recruiting) "I think you always want to keep your local talent or state talent. You want to keep the kids close to home. I think it is good for our fans and we have been able to do a decent job. In the two years we have been here we have recruited well in the state of Arizona and we will continue to recruit well. There are a lot of great things to offer. We have done our home work and we have been on the right kids.
"We have recruited kids that will make us better. You don't want to recruit kids just to because they are from the state of Arizona."