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October 28, 2007Arizona's coaches and players were happy after their big 48-41 victory over Washington in Seattle. Here are some quotes from the Wildcats.
Arizona Coach Mike Stoops:
General Comments: "We were due. We started to play better defensively--great defense the majority of the game. We got some better pressure on the quarterback on that last drive for a big play. It was going to be about the defense in the second half. They stepped up and made some plays."
On Jake Locker: "He's going to be a tremendous player. He hurt us all day. Running, throwing, scrambling. But we made the plays we had to. That's really the difference between winning and losing."
On being down by 15: "It's a game of confidence and momentum. Both teams looked like they had it at times and couldn't put the other team away. When we were down two and had the ball, someone ran it down the middle, one bad ball, he overthrew the guy, and he intercepted it. That's a big difference in the game. Then they gained momentum and we fought our way back in the fourth quarter and got some big plays."
On Arizona's fight late in the game: "Our kids have never really not fought through hard times. God knows we've been through enough."
On quarterback Willie Tuitama: "The kid's been through a lot. We've hung in there and Willie's worked hard. He has a lot of talent and he keeps getting better. It's not always at the pace that you'd like, but that's how it goes. The first year is always difficult in modern day football. Football is a game of movement and moving parts. It's much more complex than it was. I'm not saying it's rocket science, but there's a lot that gets put on a quarterbacks' shoulders at any level of football, especially this one. Willie's handled it well. I'm proud of him. To throw for 500 (yards) and five touchdowns--that's a great individual performance."
On his feelings over the past week: "We knew we were going to move the football. We didn't know we were going to do what we did today. But I didn't think they would be able to move the ball that well against us either. I knew the second half would come down to stops; that defensive plays would win the game."
On Arizona's offense: "That's what you hope for. I know these guys expect that every time they step on the field. We always expect that, but again it doesn't always work that way. It goes back to confidence and making plays."
Arizona Quarterback Willie Tuitama:
On offensive strengths: "Pretty much the O-Line gave me a whole lot of time to make my reads and see what was going on with the defense. They were trying to put a lot of coverage on us, they didn't really blitz that much throughout the game and especially the second half they just had four guys out there playing off the wide receivers. One play that really stood out was the touchdown to Terrell Turner, he went out there and made a great play. And, of course, there at the end that touchdown to Mike Thomas on the post stood out too. I was originally looking for Terrell Turner but they covered him up a little bit so I went through my reads, and that's my last read. So I went over to Thomas and my team made the play."
On relaxing during this game: "I was a lot more relaxed. Part of it was I've kind of had a little bit of strep throat going on throughout the week and I think that's maybe one of the reasons why I was a little more relaxed, because I was a little down. But, once the game started the guys rallied around me and just made me feel comfortable. We started off nice. Mike Thomas made a good play. The first one he dropped I was kind of yelling at him a little bit, giving him a hard time about it. But I came right back to him and he just ran right by the guy and scored a touchdown."
On change in attitude: "It could have just been the way we came out and started some of our games, we got a little down on ourselves, but we have to overcome that. That's something that we did coming into the game today. I think there was one point where we were down 41-26, and we came back."
Arizona Linebacker Spencer Larsen:
On giving up 41 points: "I think what was more devastating were the yards. Dang near 550 yards of offense is dumbfounding."
On Jake Locker: "Running quarterbacks always give us trouble. They always have in the past and we never go in thinking we are going to give up yards like that, but (Locker) is an athlete. Number 10, I have nothing but good things to say about him. He's strong, athletic, and very difficult to play against."
On final defensive stand: "It's great to be able to play (Locker) when he has to throw. When he is one-dimensional like that it is a lot easier and it was just a matter of time before he threw one up there, and Antoine (Cason) got it. We have some good athletic players back there, so when we know it's coming it makes it a lot easier for us and he made a great play on the ball."
On remainder of season: "We have a hope now, and we have something we are shooting for obviously. Thankfully these last three games are against teams we match up well against, but we need to play a lot better, and obviously play better defense."