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July 26, 2011

Nick Foles

Mike Stoops


COACH STOOPS: We're certainly excited to be here for the start of the new you Pac-12. It's exciting for all of us this time of the year to be able to get back and really do what we love to do, and that is coach and compete. Certainly excited about this year's 2011 Arizona football team. I think we have a very talented group of players coming back.
Obviously when you look at our abilities offensively, I think a lot of it centers around our great experience at quarterback with Nick and certainly the strength that our wide receiver and our skill positions seem to be the great strengths of this team.
Offensively with the area of inexperience on the offensive line, we hope that that experience that we have at quarterback and receiver will help balance on out the inexperience we have on the offensive line. People will make their assumptions about our lack of experience at those positions.
But these guys are very athletic and very hard working, and I believe they can be more talented than the group that we had a year ago, and we're going to have to mold this group. Robert Anae has come in and done a great job molding this group. We just have to give them time to grow.
I think Nick and Matt's experience at quarterback and what we can do to try to help them be better early in the season are going to have to be defensively. It's a very similar team that we've had. We've lost three great defensive ends and the two reads in Ricky Elmore.
That's where we took the greatest hit is our great edge pressure from a year ago. But I think the strength of our team will be the back 7 with our two linebackers are back, and certainly a very talented group of corners and secondary players will be the strength of on our team.
Our inability in the kicking game, I think led to our demise in a couple games a year ago, and that is another area that we need to improve on as a team. We certainly will dedicate a lot of time in the preseason to improving our special teams. It was the first year we didn't really elevate our play to be in the top tier of the conference.
Certainly going to three straight Bowl games, we feel like we've developed a very solid program, taking the next step in becoming an elite program in this conference and in this country is something that we're going to work hard on.
You know, and challenge our players to have the ability to put ourselves in a position to win a championship or compete in a championship game is something that we'll strive to do this season.

Q. What is your reaction when you see you guys picked fourth in the south?
COACH STOOPS: I don't -- you know, I didn't even see it until -- it doesn't affect me. We've never been picked high, so it's not unusual for us, is it?

Q. Why do you think that is?
COACH STOOPS: I don't know. Must think I'm a bad coach (laughing).

Q. Have you ever been around as talented a group of wide receivers as you have?
COACH STOOPS: Certainly not. This is a very complete and very diverse group of players. I think when you see the size, the speed, the different types of receivers that we're going to be able to put on the field, I think gives us a very diverse group of players that will give us an ability to spread the football around.
We've got some guys that are going to demand a lot of attention. And if they don't, we better be getting them the football. We have players and quarterbacks that can do that. So that's going to be the strength of our team and give us the ability to run the ball better than we have in the past.
So there is a game that's played within the game, and certainly Nick is well-schooled in understanding if they're going to take something away, we've got to go somewhere, somewhere else and take advantage of a weakness, and that's coaching and that's what we have to do a good job of.

Q. You seem to be the most emotional coach during games on the sideline?
COACH STOOPS: I disagree with that 100%.

Q. Well, you're a most amusing figure on the sideline. What is your reaction when you see photos or replays of yourself during games when you're totally into your craft?
COACH STOOPS: I'm like, that's not me. That's a different person. Nick will say it. These guys are used to it. They don't even really acknowledge it much. They see it pretty much 365, 24/7. It's part of who I am. Sometimes I think it gets mis portrayed. They don't see all the good things. My players know that and that is the great thing about being around these guys, and that's what I respect about these guys. Like I say, nobody sees all the good things. They want to make fun of you doing all these crazy other things, So I don't worry about it too much.

Q. With Juron Criner, what can you tell us about the situation that went on this summer and had all those issues be resolved so he's full on good to go for fall camp.
COACH STOOPS: Juron is a big part of what we do. And Juron's had some personal and family issues with his mother that he had to attend to, and spent some time with his mother, and I think that was a big part of it. I think Juron has come back come back and worked really hard. I haven't seen him. I know he's worked out with our team and throwing with our guys the normal stuff he does day-in and day out. I think he feels better about his mother, and that is a big part of who he is and I think he feels a lot better about her condition.

Q. In light of all the problems around the conference, can you talk about your thoughts when your athletic director went to the committee and said to help police the athletic programs?
COACH STOOPS: Well, it's unique, but our players need to know that they really are watched. That they live in a fish bowl, and they're going to be looked at differently. And they need to be aware of that.
But we certainly want knowledge of any of our wrong doings that our players are participating in, whatever they. It's just an awareness. It's something to try to help us police something that is such an epidemic of players and issues with, you know, all the things that are out there right now.

Q. Nick, the intensity and emotion of your coach that was asked a couple questions back, how does that transfer over to you guys?
NICK FOLES: I mean, Coach Stoops is the center of our team, being the head coach. So if you see your coach that fired up, it's going to make you fired up. Everybody knows Coach Stoops is a great defensive mind. I know everybody knows he ran over a goal post or something.
You have your head coach doing that, you better do that on the field right now. So just to have a coach with that much intensity it brings it to us. We love him as our head coach. He's been great for our team, and he's been there for us.

Q. Coach, you're a guy that played in the Desert Swarm days. How important is it for you guys -- how close do you want to get back to that Desert Swarm mentality of play.
COACH STOOPS: Joe's a great player at Arizona. Just a great person. He's been a great addition to our staff. Our players love him. You know, he brings credibility back in a big way. I think our players have really related well to that. And Joe's a very intense, passionate. He coaches the same way he played, and that is the thing I love about him. He's been a great fit for what we're doing.

Q. I think you said at one point in the spring a year ago that you kind of lost physicalness, so to speak, toward the end of the season. Was that accurate? Exactly what happened there?
COACH STOOPS: Well, the end of the season was disappointing in a lot of different ways. We played well through the first eight games and really didn't do the things necessary to win down the stretch.
We played some teams that ran the ball at us effectively, and we were -- our inability to run the ball effectively, I think, in certain situations contributed to those losses and that's something we have to address. Sometimes they get exposed early in the season. Sometimes they may get exposed toward the end of the season. That is something that just kind of happened.
We played more physical teams probably at the end, and it's an area that we didn't react as well as I would have liked.

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