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September 3, 2012

Fischer named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week

Two days removed from collecting a career-high 13 tackles in his first game back since missing all last season, Arizona linebacker Jake Fischer was named the Pac-12 Conference Defensive Player of the Week.

Fischer, who missed all of 2011 with a torn ACL, started at middle linebacker and helped the Wildcats defeat Toledo, 24-17, in head coach Rich Rodriguez's debut Saturday night at Arizona Stadium. The junior made a personal-best 2 1/2 tackles for a loss and forced a fumble in the opener.

Despite his career night, Fischer said after the game that there was even more he could've done to make an impact, and he reiterated those thoughts Monday after getting the chance to watch film.

"I think I played all right," Fischer said. "There were a lot of plays I could've done better on.

"It's an honor, but, like I said, there are so many other things I could've done better on. Just trying to improve on those and becoming the best player I could be, that's what I'm focused on."

The defense struggled in the first half, allowing the Rockets to convert 10 of 15 chances on third-down conversions. But after some halftime adjustments, UA stopped Toledo on all eight third-down opportunities in the second half.

After spending most of his career at outside linebacker, Fischer said he "prefers" playing in the middle.

"I like being in the middle of the field and making all the calls and everything," he said. "That's what I did all in high school. The year I got hurt, my sophomore year at the end, I started doing that a lot. Going into the season I was used to doing that, too."

Fullback Tutogi has 'fun' playing on D

Senior Taimi Tutogi made his debut at defensive end Saturday night, playing as a third-down specialist on top of his duties on offense. A former defensive end in high school, Tutogi recovered a fumble to break into the box score on defense.

"It was fun," Tutogi said. "It was rough; I was tired. But I thought it was real fun, definitely being in the overtime. I was just happy to be out there with Shaq (Richardson) and Jake. There's never a better feeling than being able to be out there and get the win."

Speaking of tired legs …

The Wildcats practiced 24 hours after the victory, hitting the practice field at Kindall/Sancet in an effort to immediately put games - win or lose - in the past and focus on the next opponent.

But it also gave the team a chance to get rid of any lingering soreness, center Kyle Quinn said.

"It felt pretty good getting out there and just running around," Quinn said. "It helps you move on and it helps the transitions quicker. You don't have to sit and think about your game as much. You move on and get ready for your next opponent, so I like it."

Added Fischer: "I was pretty sore. There's a little stiffness and everything, but it's actually good to have that feeling back. I know we all felt it. We all played as fast as we could, as hard as we could. Especially after a victory, it's a lot sweeter.

Tracy McDannaldTracy McDannald
GOAZCATS.com Senior Editor

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