When Mike Stoops took the podium at Pac-10 media day, the confidence he had was obvious.
"We are excited to be here," he said. "It is that time of year again. I don't think college football has ever been stronger. I don't think the Pac-10 has ever been stronger than it is right now.
"We at Arizona feel like we are finally getting to a better place. This has been a unique challenge. Our perseverance and our toughness has made us a much stronger program."
Stoops is not over confident, however, as he realizes that there are challenges up ahead.
"This season will be very exciting to me," he said. "There will be some unique challenges built into our schedule, but I feel this is our best overall team that we've had.
"When you look at our team, I think what really jumps out at you is the quality of players we have. I think this team that we have is very skilled, very fast and capable of doing great things."
Last season, Arizona had too many close losses and Stoops admits that will have to change if Arizona is going to keep moving forward.
"I think if we can play competitively that will be the natural progression [to win the close games] for any team that is starting to show signs of recovery," he said. "Those are progressions that have to take place to close the gap on people.
You have to win the tight games to put yourself in a better position. Being able to finish games is something that we talk about."
Safety Cam Nelson believes that having his team picked 8th in the conference will be motivation for the upcoming season.
"We won a bowl game last year," he said. "We will use it as motivation and go out and compete. We will use it as motivation to come out on top of the Pac-10 and be an even better team when the season is over. It is all about how we finish not how we start.
Arizona picked 8th
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