Jake Fischer is heading into his fifth year as an Arizona Wildcat after red-shirting the 2011 season due to a knee injury. Arizona's leading tackler in 2012 took some time to talk about a wide variety of things, and had some interesting things to say about his time at Arizona.
Fischer went to high school in Oro Valley at Ironwood Ridge, who happened to win the 2012 Div. 2 State Championship.
Q: How was it watching Ironwood Ridge finally break through and win a State Championship?
Fischer: I mean it was awesome. I went to the game with a bunch of my old buddies that I played with. Watched them finally get over the hump because we'd been so close so many times. It was nice to see them beat pretty handily a formidable opponent from up in Phoenix. Had a good time and just proud.
Q: What was your best memory in high school?
Fischer: Just getting to know all the guys on my team. All of my best friends I played football with except for maybe one or two. All the guys I still talk to, guys I still keep in touch with and hang out with even though a lot of them are out of state. Becoming brothers really.
Q: Why U of A?
Fischer: When they offered me before my junior year I kind of knew that was going to be the school I was choosing. They were on the rise. We went to a camp the year prior to me getting an offer. They talked to me and I kind of got interested. Just where the program was at the time, it was between them and Colorado, and I have a great university that was on the rise and they were putting so much into their football program. I'm right next to my family, and also I'm getting the college experience because of how big the university is. It was just an overall great fit.
Q: What was the moment you realized you weren't in high school anymore?
Fischer: (laughing) Camp. Just seeing how hard the guys work and how good you have to be to succeed at this level. Just how short it can be. I saw some guys that could have been in the NFL but ended up getting hurt and they were never the same. I just wanted to make the most of it.
Q: Have you talked to this year's freshmen about your past experiences?
Fischer: I haven't had to tell them, give them the whole speech 'this play could be your last' because those guys, they came in working as hard as they could. Every now and then, because they're just coming in from high school, a couple of them, and they don't know that they're doing it, but they've taken a play off and we've gotta kind of yell at 'em or get after 'em a little bit, but for the most part those guys are in it to work, and especially the 4 or 5 that could see playing time. They all know it and they're taking advantage of it.
Q: From your standpoint as a guy who didn't play in 2011, how was the transition from the Stoops era to the Rodriguez era?
Fischer: I saw how everything kind of went downhill. When Coach RichRod and his staff came in, he did a good job of keeping everybody together. There were people on the fence about what they wanted to do, and Coach RichRod garnered the respect and attention of everybody, got key guys that we needed to stay, got everyone to buy into the system. And that's why we were able to turn a team that may have had more talent that went 4-8, going from that team to a team that went 8-5 and could have possibly gone 10-3 or 11-2. Everybody got on the same page, everybody knew what we wanted, we fought for everything we had and we just came out to play.
Q: Most frustrating part of recovering from the knee injury?
Fischer: There's some weeks where you take huge steps in the process, and every now and then you'll have a week where it seems like it doesn't get any better because it's so fatigued. Trying to get to the next step sometimes it took longer than you would like, but throughout the whole process the worst thing was not being able to help my team.
Q: Favorite pregame meal?
Fischer: Shoot, I just eat whatever's out there. I don't really have any preference.
Q: Favorite part of Lowell-Stevens Football Facility?
Fischer: The weight room. Some of the guys and I just live there. And the film room. This one is a little better, more space and a lot more stuff. Everything's just better.
Q: Favorite NFL team?
Fischer: Denver Broncos. I've been a Broncos fan since I was little, I kind of piggybacked my dad on that one.
Q: Favorite NFL player?
Fischer: All the players that came here that are in the NFL right now I keep track of. Rob Gronkowski, Brooks Reed, Earl Mitchell, Lance Briggs, Mike Thomas, all those guys.
Q: Favorite TV show?
Fischer: SportsCenter, Animal Planet, Comedy Central
Q: Favorite band?
Fischer: Couple country, Rascal Flatts and Zac Brown Band.
Q: Favorite RichRod quote?
Fischer: (laughing) I don't think I can say it.
Q: How much can you bench?
Fischer: Not as much as I would like.
Q: Thoughts on improving the defense from last year?
Fischer: We have a majority of the guys we played with last year so everybody just needs to get better. We just need to stop the run better this year. We would have to absolutely load the box last year for us to stop the run, and they would get 1-on-1 match ups. When we don't give our DBs any help with the kind of skill positions that we have in this league it's hard to cover 'em, so we just have to get more physical up on the line of scrimmage and our defensive backs will take care of the rest.
Q: How different is the 3-3-5 defensive scheme than what you've been used to?
Fischer: It's a little different scheme-wise but all the coverages are the same. You basically just have one less guy down on the line of scrimmage, but you can manipulate that by blitzing a guy every other play. The only different thing is basically I'm a three-technique every play and a middle of the field defender so it's a little tougher.
Q: Highlight of your U of A career so far?
Fischer: I believe that's going to be this year. Obviously the bowl games are great, but I believe this year we can go farther than we've gone since I've been here. Highlight could be finally winning a bowl game. One I hope we get to obviously this year is the Rose Bowl.