UA head coach Mike Stoops had his weekly press conference on Monday and looked back at the Wildcats' victory over Washington State, while also previewing the UA's game against California. Here's Stoops' thoughts on those two games and more.
Mike Stoops on…
On offense vs. WSU:
"I thought we did some really good things on both sides of the ball and the kicking game. We made some plays the other night and that's really the difference offensively. If we can just make 4-5 plays throughout the course of a game and convert some third downs, I think it makes a big difference in your production and that was key offensively."
On defense vs. WSU:
"Defensively I thought we played really pretty steady throughout the course of the game. The d-line was very effective. We made some plays and disrupted some things with our d-line. I thought the secondary, if you take a couple plays out of there, played a really solid game. To limit them to 40-50 yards rushing was big. Any time you can get them into predictable situations, that plays a little more in your favor and I thought we took advantage of those situations and really played pretty hard."
"We're playing a top ten team this week in Cal and they're playing well. They're probably the most balanced team we've played – offense, defense, special teams – all season. They have so many weapons; they can strike at virtually any position on the field offensively.
"Defensively they have some big play guys. Daymeion Hughes (Desmond) Bishop and Brandon Mebane is a great player, so they have some very quality players across the board. There's good speed everywhere you look so it's going to be another big challenge. They're a legitimate Top 10 team so it gives us a lot to work on heading into the game.
"Marshawn Lynch is a tremendous player. You have to start with the run game, that's going to be key. He's having a fabulous year. (Nate) Longshore has gained confidence all season and is throwing the ball. Then you have DeSean Jackson, (Robert) Jordan, they have three or four guys – the tight end I think is a tremendous player as well. They have a lot of weapons across the board. DeSean Jackson punt returns, he returned another one (against UCLA).
"It's going to be a big part of the game. We're going to need to really handle the game well. We're going to need to shorten it with our run game, try to limit their possessions, you can't play a one-sided game; we're going to need to play offense, defense, special teams in this game and we showed we can do that so we're going to need another team effort in order to get a win. It's a good matchup so our defense is going to be tested even more this week.
"Hopefully we can feed off some of the energy for homecoming, ABC, we're going to have to come out with a lot of energy and if we do, we'll match up. This is a team we haven't traditionally played very well but they're very good and we'll have to play very complete."
On Chris Henry:
"Chris Henry's presence has really shown lately. I noticed that in practice, I noticed it in him, I noticed his attitude is a lot different. It's a lot more consistent and he's coming on. I noticed his running has gotten better, he's gotten smoother and we need that. We need Chris to build off that and we're going to need a big game from Chris this week too.
"Some kids just come around. Chris has always worked hard, but he's just becoming a better leader and that's what we need. He's really doing some good things."
On DeSean Jackson:
"He's very dynamic like (Reggie Bush). He's probably the fastest, most dynamic player in the conference. I would say he is, just from what I have seen. I don't think there's going to be too many players that can beat him in 100 meters, maybe Isaiah Stanback. He hits his hole as quick as Reggie. He has that type of explosiveness. He's very good."
"Marcus Hollingsworth's foot is still sore and probably won't practice (Monday). [Johnathan Turner]'s back was bothering him, he had some back spasms, and that's why he didn't play Saturday but it's getting better and we hope to get him back this Saturday.
"Dominic (Patrick) got a stinger and he'll practice (Monday), just no contact. Adam (Hawes)' foot, we don't know the severity it, so we'll just have to wait and see. We have Adam Grant back doing some fundamental work now. We're pretty healthy."
On the play of the defensive line:
"Louis (Holmes) I thought showed up again. Louis has played really well. I thought Yaniv (Barnett) is really finding his groove, Lionel (Dotson) played well; they all played well. I really like what we're doing up front. Each game they're playing more physical, more active and they're getting very consistent in their play. They all play well together and it's been a good group."
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