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UTSA vs. Arizona: What the Wildcats coaches and players are saying about the Roadrunners

How do the coaches and players feel about their first opponent?

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

It has to be tough facing a team that has an almost entirely new starting 22. There's not exactly a ton of film on these guys for the Arizona Wildcats to watch heading into the opener, which could present some unique challenges.

Here's what the guys are saying about the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners this week.

Rich Rodriguez

On if he looks at this year's non-conference season as a "preseason":

I'll never go there, they're all important. You look at UTSA, last year it went down to the last play. The year before it was a close game at our place, so we look at the first game and what we gotta go win that one. And if we win that one, we'll look at the next game and see what we gotta do to win that one. I've never looked past, forward to any games. Up until a couple days ago, it's been all about us. The last three, four practices and the next six days it'll be all about us and preparing for UTSA.

On how to gameplan for a team losing 19 starters:

Even if you have 19 starters returning, you still plan for what we do well, and then kind of look at their schemes. I don't think they change their schemes a whole lot with what their base is depending on their personnel. I think it's probably overrated sometimes when you're looking at this matchup and that matchup. Sometimes you do that in the passing game, but other than that, I don't think you worry about that as much as these are the plays they run on offense and these are the schemes they run on defense, and let's prepare for that, and hopefully they don't have great players at every position and you have some success somewhere. But they've recruited well, and they're in a great state to recruit well, so they'll have great players.

Scooby Wright III

On what to expect from a revamped UTSA team:

I mean, the first game is the first game. You don't really know what the team is going to come out in because you don't really know what they're prepping for. You kinda just go off last year, and what they schemed up for and what worked well for them, but they lost so many guys so you really don't know.

On playing against a redshirt freshman QB:

We're definitely excited. We're looking forward to get after him.

Sammy Morrison

On whether or not coaches have talked to him about being a target for UTSA's offense:

Oh yeah. All the time. [Coach Lockwood] always just reminds me that 'Sammy you're a freshman, and that's an offensive coordinator's dream' and 'Sam, we'll get you some diapers so you don't go on yourself during the game and get all nervous', but he has been really encouraging me this whole week just telling me that this game isn't bigger than you. If they weren't confident in my skills, they wouldn't put me out there and expose me like that, so I'm just happy that these coaches trust me.

On playing against a redshirt freshman QB:

You obviously got to respect everybody's game. I've never played against him, he's never played against me. At the same time, you got to respect everybody's game, and at the end of the day it's going to be a really good ballgame.

On if the coaches have to remind the players to not overlook UTSA:

They don't preach that. Because we know that every single week is gonna be a battle regardless of what team it is. Every single week it's going to come down to the wire. I mean, the last two years [against UTSA] we've had to play our butts off just to make it out of the game, so Coach Rich Rod just really emphasizes how important it is to just stay mentally innocent and fight to the end and work hard, so that's what we're doing."

On if it's a challenge to scout UTSA since they have so many new players:

When you graduate that many guys it definitely is hard, from a defensive standpoint, to try and game plan what you're gonna do, but our coaches are very smart and have a great plan. They're just trying to relay that onto us and get us right.

Anu Solomon

On if it's easier preparing for UTSA the second time:

Yeah, when you're preparing for a team that you played last year, you kind of know what they do in certain situations, so right now, we're studying them. We know that they're a good team.

On if they take UTSA more seriously after how close last year was:

Coach reminded us that we went to the last play with them, and that just shows their maturity and their success in the program, and we just can't take them lightly. We can't take any team lightly.

On what he remembers about last year's game:

Loud. The stadium was very loud. My confidence built up on that first play where Cayleb Jones took it all the way to the house. But other than that, I think I got too comfortable with everything. I just gotta pick it up and be consistent.

On if that big play settled him down too much:

Oh yeah, after that play I thought not how easy, but we executed a play, and I got way too comfortable.