The Arizona Wildcats return to action Saturday against the Houston Cougars, looking to avenge their season-opening loss to BYU.
Of course, Arizona and Houston played just last season when the Cougars escaped Tucson with a 19-16 victory.
The Cougars enter Saturday’s rematch — a 9 a.m. MST game in Houston — coming off a 45-27 win over Rice. We talked to a few UA players Tuesday to see what they think about playing Houston again, and here is what they had to say.
Arizona WR Tony Ellison
On the 9 a.m. Tucson time kickoff: “I’m a night owl, so I’m going to have to go bed a little earlier this week. It will be tough, but we’re not really worried about.”
On UA fans panicking after losing the opener: “We tune that out. Sorry but we don’t worry about you guys that much. We’re just focused on the gameplan.”
On what he remembers from last year’s Houston game: “They’re physical. They talk a lot of trash.”
Arizona RB J.J. Taylor
On Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver: “That’s one of the players we have to key on and do our best to keep him out of the backfield, especially on pass plays. ... He’s an outstanding player. He plays hard and physical and fast. He gives 100 percent almost every single play so we have to be on our A-game.”
On if he reciprocates Houston’s trash talk: “It depends. Sometimes it can get to the point where you try to keep your composure. At other times, it’s life, you lose it. But most of the we try to keep to ourselves.”
Arizona LB Tony Fields II
On how Houston compares to last year: “They seem like the same team. They have a new offensive coordinator but they’re still going to be more of a spread offense so we can really watch a lot of last year’s film and study that the same way we did last year and we’ll be good.”
On how different Houston is from BYU: “A lot different. BYU, we expected them to run the ball a lot which they did, but Houston is going to be more of a passing team. They’re more of a spread team than BYU. They’re not going to get in the I-formation as much.”
On 9 a.m. kickoffs: “As a youth football player, I’ve played at 6 a.m., I’ve played at 7 a.m. before so it’s not really a challenge for me. 9 a.m., you should be up by that time. I wake up at 7 every morning. That’s when I’m really struggling, but once 9 hits I’m wide awake.”
On Houston quarterback D’Eriq King: “He likes to pass the ball. Sometimes he’ll try to run out of the pocket. I saw one play he actually ran out of the pocket on third down, tried to lower his head on a safety. He seemed a little aggressive, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before with Khalil Tate.”
Arizona CB Tim Hough
On how Houston differs from BYU: “I feel they have better athletes on the edge. ... It’s going to be more three- and four-wide (receiver sets) for sure.”