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Mackovic opened the press conference with his thoughts on this week's game versus Washington State.
"We have to be ready to go because this is a really good team. Their only loss is to Ohio State, and that game was really a close game. It definitely was not a one-sided loss. Jason Gesser is one heck of a quarterback. He has terrific timing and anticipation, excellent accuracy, and they set it up for him to make throws, and he gets in position and makes them over and over and over. He has made tremendous strides since we saw him last season in our first Pac-10 game."
What are Jason Gesser's Heisman Trophy chances?
"Gesser is the guy who makes the team go. If they continue to roll, anything can happen. Almost nobody can mount a big enough campaign to coast through the year. It's a much bigger race than it used to be. He clearly would be the best candidate coming out of the West at this point. It is going to have to be a good story, but he is as much a candidate today as just about anybody." On WSU's defense:
"Washington State has all juniors and seniors (on defense), and they've all played. Their blitz tendencies are similar to what they used last year, so they haven't really changed. They are more active this year, and their people up front make more plays, they harass the passer more, and they make more plays behind the line. They are on the move quite a bit up front, and they are playing very well. They match up just enough man to man when they're blitzing, but you don't get them one-on-one too much." Is Arizona now the spoiler?
"We're in the spoiler role. We have to accept that. I don't think a champion is going to lose three (conference) games. We have to play well in every game and have fun beating some people. We still can't give up the idea of working our way into the top half of the conference and getting into a bowl game. But, Saturday's loss at Stanford was a big setback as far as that goes because if you're 4-3 instead of 3-4, you have a little something to build upon."
Mackovic on the injury situation taking it's toll on the team.
"It is difficult because you don't have a set lineup every week. Every time you go into something like this, it seems like it's always different. Many times we've gone into our second year with many of the same players, and they are a quality group depth wise. Our hopes and our expectations in August were realistic based upon what we saw at that time, but we didn't anticipate that it would be a little different picture here in October."
Does the increased playing time for the freshmen help them become better next year?
"They are going to be a lot better players next year because they have played so much. We have a nucleus of these young players that is terrific. They have a spirit, they have a will, and they also know that they don't know everything. There is a lot of responsibility being placed on these young guys."