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What Kevin Sumlin said at Arizona’s pre-Utah press conference

<span data-author="5158751">arizona-wildcats-kevin-sumlin-washington-state-cougars-press-conference-week-12</span> Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats are halfway through what has been an up-and-down 2018 season, and fittingly their record is exactly .500 at 3-3. The second half begins with Friday’s game at Utah, which means Arizona has to compact its normal between-game schedule by one day.

Coach Kevin Sumlin said Monday the “combination of recovery and preparation” is much harder on a short week, “particularly when you have to travel on that short week, also.”

This will be the first of two Friday games for Arizona, the other coming Nov. 2 at home against Colorado.

“You have to give your student athletes a day off during the week,” Sumlin said. “The challenge is recovery and preparation. How you do that is important.”

Here’s what else Sumlin said Monday in his weekly press conference:

On the decision to insert true freshman QB Jamarye Joiner on the third series vs. Cal:

“If you’re scared to play people, when are you going to play them? Khalil (Tate) hasn’t been 100 percent, and we have to have a plan for that. Is that, wait until he gets hurt? The game went completely different, because we wanted to get (Joiner) in in the third quarter, also. He’s been working like crazy. He’s getting better. He’s a tremendous athlete. With the new redshirt rules, it doesn’t hurt you at all. It gets guys experience. We’re going to have more situations for he and others to play.”

On if that means Joiner is the No. 2 QB, surpassing Rhett Rodriguez:

“Rhett played early (in the season), but there’s a lot of different situations on this team where Rhett’s going to play. Like I told you guys, we’ll give you a depth chart but it doesn’t really mean anything. It’s not necessarily 1-2-3-4.”

On Utah’s defense, which allows 17.2 points and 296.4 yards per game:

“They’re the No. 1 defense in the league statistically. It’s the best defense in the league right now. They play well together.”

On the defense’s improvement:

“Our team is a little bit different across the board because we’ve had so many interchangeable moving parts. We had a guy (safety Scottie Young Jr.) who missed the first game, first couple games, that had two interceptions the other night. PJ (Johnson) is playing defensive end. I don’t think you can deny that his return has really helped shore up our front.”

On Colin Schooler, who leads the Pac-12 in tackles for loss (11.5) and is second in tackles (66):

“He’s playing about as well as anybody. He’s one of the best players in the country.”

On what the defense scoring does for a team’s energy:

“I think it builds confidence for them, but it also uplifts the team. It does charge up the team and charge up the defense.”

On the offensive line’s recent issues:

“As much as I brag about Layth, he’s been a big part of our consistency. He’s struggled the last couple of weeks with injury, so you don’t see him as much out there. That consistency isn’t just in production but consistency in personnel. We have not had consistent personnel the last two games. That’s hard to control right now.”

On whether Arizona plans to recruit more junior college players:

“What we’re doing right now is recruiting the best players at the positions of need. What does that look like? It depends on a lot of things. The closer you get to the football, there’s grown men in there playing. It’s harder for 17-, 18-year-olds. A lot can happen in two years of junior college, from the size, strength and maturity standpoint.”

On Shawn Poindexter being targeted on the game-ending onside kick:

“You know I don’t comment on officiating. A lot of things happen on onside kicks, that was something different.”

On the best time to run a trick play:

“When no one is expecting it. Like the fake field goal (against Oregon State).”