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Stoops: We know our kids better
Mike Stoops: "We feel like we're much more equipped to handle the competition. I feel like we have quality Pac-10 players."
Stoops: We know our kids better
ARIZONA DAILY STAR
Heading into his second year, Arizona's Mike Stoops says he is more prepared to handle the rigors of everything it takes to be a Division I-A head football coach.
From the demands on his time from fans, media, boosters and family, Stoops has discovered a balancing act while having his Wildcats prepared each week.
Questions and answers with the UA coach:
Question: What is the key for you heading into Year 2?
Answer: I just think it takes a full year to get to know your team. We know our kids so much better, and I think they know us a whole lot better. You feel more comfortable in your relationship with your players, and I think you grow each day.
Q: How did Year 1 help you as a coach?
A: We understand what we're doing a whole lot better, so now we can concentrate on what teams are doing to counter those thing on both sides of the ball. We're more comfortable there, and as a coaching staff, I think we understand our strengths and weaknesses, along with knowing the Pac-10 better.
Q: What was the team's Achilles' heel in 2004?
A: Our inability to throw the football last year prohibited us from being a good offense. If people are going to load the box and put numbers in there to stop the run, we have to be able to attack and have confidence to attack down the field. We have guys who can stretch the field, so I think our receivers will be in much more of an attack mode. That's going to help put more balance in the offense.
Q: What is the biggest difference this season?
A: We feel like we're much more equipped to handle the competition. I feel like we have quality Pac-10 players.
Q: Will the competition in training camp carry over to the season?
A: Kids have to know they have to perform or they're going to be sitting on the bench with me. You're going to earn the right to play, and in some cases last year, we didn't have that.
Q: Is the secondary the strength of this team?
A: We've got six very athletic players who can cover a lot of space. We've got to put it all together, but we hope that's the strength of this defense. We gave up way too many big plays last year, and if we can cut down on giving up big plays, we'll be a lot better. Any time you have big plays, the secondary is involved. On paper, it's our most complete group. But they have to go out and produce."
Q: What has been the impact of your strength and conditioning staff?
A: Strength coaches Corey Edmond and Mark Hill have developed our players, and that's the way you get better. We recruit 'em and they develop 'em. That's where we got great at Oklahoma, and we can get a lot better here. Our players really responded to them and have a lot of confidence in them. They see themselves getting a whole lot better and they look at physical training as a sport now."
Q: What does it mean to have the commitment of the players staying in town all summer, working out on their own?
A: "To me, I'd like to think we're one of the premier teams when it comes to physical training for the summer. That is a compliment to our seniors and to our players to get that type of commitment on their own. It says a lot about our maturity as a team. We came from having 20 guys to probably 80 last year to 100 this year. That gives us a chance."
Are you ready for some football? Utah Sept. 2..
"Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice"
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