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September 25, 2007

Mike Stoops talks WSU, personnel

Besides talking about the game against Cal, at his weekly press conference on Monday, UA head coach Mike Stoops also discussed Washington State and some of his own personnel.

On Washington State's offense:

"They've very similar to what they've always done. They like to spread the field, they run, throw, try to keep you off balance. They have good skill on the perimeter. (Michael) Bumpus and (Brandon) Gibson… four of the top six receivers in the conference are in this game. I think Terrell Turner might be sixth, Mike Thomas is 1st, their guys might be two, three or four.

"They have talent and skill. Alex Brink is a guy who has played a long time. The thing you love about him is he's a very competitive player. He's very mobile, he'll keep plays alive and he's a very accurate thrower."

On whether or not the Wazzu game is a must-win situation:

"They're all musts. There's nobody here overreacting to any situation. We're going to go out and play hard and our kids have always done that. That gives me confidence that I think they'll prepare. This is where it started last year and hopefully it will get our kids excited. I think it's a team we match up well with. We understand that we need to play better as a team and I think we will."

On personnel changes for Wazzu:

"Nic (Grigsby) will be the only guy. Nic will take most of the volume at running back. He continues to progress, like all young players. He's starting to be more consistent and that's important. He's a very talented player. He likes to compete and he likes to play, you can see that on the field. He likes challenges and that's important.

"Obviously in college, there's more than just playing football. There's a lot of stuff that's required of our players 24 hours a day to make sure they get things taken care of academically, socially and athletically. It's a lot for young kids to handle."

On Louis Holmes' play this season:

"Louis had his most productive game on Saturday by a long way. He was very active and really made some plays that we need him to make. He has to be more of a playmaker on defense. We need more production and I thought we got more out of him on Saturday; it was one of his better games."

On the secondary's play:

"I thought the corners played better Saturday but our safeties got out of position a couple times. Our communication broke down a little bit and we have to do a better job with our safeties. I thought we probably should have isolated Antoine (Cason) a little more… the times he was matched up with DeSean (Jackson), he handled the situation well.

"It's a fine line. They have speed at a lot of different positions. We tried to play more coverage and weren't quite as good as we needed to be in the run game, especially when we climbed back in the game, we probably should have challenged and pressured their run game more than we did."

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