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September 25, 2007

Mike Stoops reviews Cal game

At his weekly press conference, UA head coach Mike Stoops spent some time reviewing the UA's 45-27 loss to California on Saturday. Here are quotes from Stoops on the game.

Opening Statement:

"Going back to Saturday, when you look at the overall play, I thought our kids gave a really good effort. I thought we fought hard all the way through. I thought we did some good things throughout the course of the game.

At "Some mistakes during the early part of the game really dug us into a hole that we couldn't get out of against a team like Cal but we started to do some things a little bit better. We busted some coverages early. The one touchdown we had a missed assignment and defensively just seems to be that way. We're missing a couple things, just a guy here or guy there, we're just a little bit off.

"Some plays they're going to make throughout the course of the game. The mental mistakes, the guys out of position, are the things we have to correct to become a better defense. At times throughout the course of the game we started to do some better things.

"Our run defense was very poor in the fourth quarter and that was a little disturbing not to be able to stop the run. We've done a better job in the middle part of the game stopping the run and the last quarter we had guys out of their gaps and just didn't play good, fundamental run defense. To me that hurts a little bit.

"Overall we just missed a couple coverages. I thought they played a very talented team and the quarterback threw some balls - we just missed a couple balls that could have made a difference. We've got to play a little bit better.

"Offensively I think we're just a little bit off. That has something to do with our inexperience but I think we're moving the football. We've gotten the ball down there; our red zone offense still isn't what it needs to be. We're missing some opportunities and that's hurting some of these games, not getting the ball across the goal line. We seem to do a decent job.

We have to continue to try and run the football. I thought Nic Grigsby did an excellent job. He has a lot of toughness, a lot of courage for a young kid. I really like how he plays on the football field. He plays with a lot of confidence for a young player and gives us an extra dimension back there so that's a positive.

"I thought Willie (Tuitama)played a decent game. He didn't see the field quite as well as he had but he's going to learn every time he steps on the field. We had some opportunities and just didn't convert and it hurts in a game where we knew we would have to score a bunch of points and we just didn't get as many as we needed to throughout the game.

"We can't turn the ball over and give other people short fields. We did that a couple times and against a team like Cal, we can't do it.

"Our special teams continue to be probably our most consistent aspect of our team at this point. I think our kickers have done a really good job, take out the one punt early. The punter did a good job and our field goal kicker and kickoff guy did a good job.

"We're fighting like everybody else in this conference for status and obviously this week's game is very critical to that. We have to have a great week. I think our kids have been through a lot, they're very positive in what they want to do. We're not far off. I know that's maybe coach speak to some people, but we're really not.

"We've just got to put it all together and hopefully we'll do it this week against a very talented Washington State team. They can move the ball with some real consistency running and throwing. We have to put it all together, Washington State is a lot like us fighting for position and they play hard. They coach hard and the play hard. It will be a good football game."

On how to fix the communication problems on defense:

"We need to simplify things to make sure there aren't any communication errors. We need to simplify the game for our players and understand where everyone is positioned"

On fixing the red zone offense:

"We've got to keep working it. We've got to be able to run the football better, and that's what we're going to keep working on. It's hard to explain it all but there's so many dynamics to the offense. You take something away to do something else and it's just a work in progress.

"We're working in plays for our tight end, and we have some talented players, but it's hard to do it all and be good at everything this young with this offense. They've done some tremendous things; I think their confidence and attitude as a group is so much better. We all feel that when we step on the field, that we have the chance to move the football no matter what. We just have that belief.

"I thought Mike Thomas played an explosive game. It's a shame that one got called back. That's probably been the guy to me, him and Terrell Turner have really been positive and explosive players. I was really happy with the way Mike played."

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