Mike Stoops Verbatim: Pac-10 teleconference

Arizona coach discussed his relationship with Barry Alvarez and his impressions of instant replay, the Wildcats' offense, Mike Bell's fumbling problems and more

Quarterback Kris Heavner is completing 77 percent of his passes but you are not getting very many scores. What do you think has to happen to get the offense rolling?

"Well, it's just too many fundamental errors. I think, when we get in the red zone, we've turned it over two or three times. We didn't get it in on… second-and-one, third-and-one, fourth-and-one…just not finishing drives and making plays. We are not a big strike team. We have to work it down the field….What is funny is we are last in a lot of the categories (in the Pac-10) but time of possession we are No. 1. So it is somewhat concerning that haven't been better in the red zone and we've turned the ball over. Those are kind of the things that will hurt any football team and we certainly can't afford to do those fundamental things wrong. That has hurt us from scoring."
Last week you were very pleased about the way your defense was playing. Does the same hold true after the Utah game?

"Not really. I didn't think we played really very good. I thought we played OK at best. We can play better. We needed to play better. I thought they created too many inside seams running the football. They are a very good offensive football team. They are good in all phases. I just didn't think we played good up front and wasn't particularly satisfied with the way we played as a whole…We need to improve."

Would you be in favor of instant replay?

"I probably would be against it. Just haven't grown up with it and been around it… I see instant replay and I see a ton of mistakes they make on instant replays."

It seems like (Mike) Bell's having some fumble problems. Are you concerned about that and what do you guys do in practice to correct that?
"We are definitely considered about it. Mike's put the ball on the ground. We've lost three of his fumbles this year and they've turned into points or took points off the board for us. So they've come at critical times. That happens. It's just concentration and fundamentals. Obviously we have to concentrate on holding on the ball. Mike's a big-play guy, he's always looking to try to make the big play. Sometimes you have to concede and get ready to go down and take a hit. We have to do a better job of securing the football. Just making him more conscious of it during practice."

Sometimes with fumbles it seems like when a player starts to think about it they actually end up fumbling more. Is there kind of a strategy for accomplishing that by not obsessing about it?

"I'm not a psychologist so I can't explain why…whatever, Mike needs to hold onto the football. He knows he needs to hold onto the football. That's part of being a running back. That's his responsibility. We'll get it corrected."

What do you think about the job Bret Bielema has done at Wisconsin so far. Can you see his imprint on the defense already?

"Well, there's a lot of similarities I think, with what they did before and what he did at Kansas State. I think there is some carry over between both places. They have great players. They play hard. They are well coached. He has done a great job with the defense. They played exceptionally well…I'm sure they are ranked probably in the top five, giving up 202 a game. Those are great numbers."

Can you talk about your relationship with your family and Alvarez and what kind of memories you have of him through the years?

"Well he's been a great friend for many, many years. I goes back to when Bob and me were playing and he recruited the area. So my father was at Mooney and my uncle was at South and he recruited players from both schools. That was kind of back when we were getting started at Iowa. So we have a lot of great memories. He's a tremendous coach and great motivator and a great friend. He's been very supportive of us pretty much throughout our careers. Been a close friend and somewhat of a mentor. I know a guy that Bob really conferred a lot in. He's a neat guy. It is easy to see why he has had great success. I think he's a great communicator with young people and a great motivator."

With Wisconsin as physical as they are do you expect them to try to run it down your throat even without Anthony Davis in the lineup?

"They are going to run their offense. They are going to do what they do. I'm sure they will try to exploit some things that we didn't do very well last week. So we have to correct some mistakes ourselves. We just need to play better up front, our front four needs to be more physical. We need to play more players. We just are not a very deep football team. I would imagine they are going to do what they do. They try to mix it up. But if they try to run the ball at us we have to be physical and make sure we play down hill as well."

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