The Arizona Wildcats came up one yard short in their season opening loss against Hawaii, and after getting a bye during the first full weekend of college football, have had more time than usual to dwell on the heartbreaking defeat.
Despite the late comeback attempt that culminated in Khalil Tate being brought down at the goal line on the last play of the game, stopping what would have been a game-tying touchdown, the UA looked mostly disappointing in the loss to the Rainbow Warriors and will now have to improve, particularly on defense, as they get set for what has to be a confidence building game against Northern Arizona on Saturday night.
While the UA’s offense got its act together after a slow start against Hawaii, Arizona’s defense allowed an unacceptable 595 yards and only forced one punt, numbers that will have to improve if Kevin Sumlin and company have any hope of reaching a bowl game in 2019.
On Tuesday afternoon, several players caught up with the media and discussed how the team can improve upon the Hawaii game, what the squad’s vibe has been since the loss and playing against NAU.
Here is what was said:
Arizona STUD Jalen Harris on the Hawaii game: “We took a tough loss, but we know we have to bounce back and practice harder to fix the mistakes we made. I just think we need to focus on doing our job. I think sometimes we all tried to do too much but I think we’ll be fine.”
Harris on if the team came out of fall camp too overconfident: “I think we were confident in our ability but I think we did get kind of too hyped up and expected more than what we got. We do have expectations and we just got to bounce back and just keep practicing harder to get ready for NAU to come in.”
Harris on if the bye week helps them to get ready for the Lumberjacks: “The bye week does help us. We’ve got more time to calm down and to prepare for NAU.”
Arizona wide receiver Stanley Berryhill III on the Hawaii game: “We started slow, I mean there’s not much to it. We started slow, we battled back, started slow again in the second half, battled back again, but when you start slow it tends to just get you.”
Berryhill III on how he felt coming back from injury: “I didn’t have a doubt in my mind. I didn’t let the knee injury affect me at all playing on the field. I don’t think about it anymore. It was good to get going but you want to win games.”
Berryhill III on playing some fellow Tucson kids this weekend against NAU: “It’ll be cool to play against them again. Terrell Heyward, Taylor Powell I played against them in high school.”
Arizona kicker Lucas Havrisik on what Coach Sumlin has said during the bye week: “1-0. Go 1-0 this week, stay consistent, stay positive, keep the energy up. Don’t focus on that game. We don’t talk about that game anymore, because it’s in the past, we can’t do anything about it. All we can do is go 1-0 the rest of the season.”
Havrisik on playing at home versus on the road: “Obviously, I think everyone loves home games. For me, I take it the same and I kind of like away games better because I kind of like trash talking to people. It just kind of gives me energy, especially when you prove them wrong. Especially after that field goal (against Hawaii) because everyone’s like, bro, everyone in the stands was like you’re not gonna make this. And then I looked back and was like, ‘do you know who Lukicks is?’ It was pretty funny, so I just love silencing crowds.”
Arizona offensive lineman Edgar Burrola on the team’s mindset after Hawaii loss: “We were all disappointed in what happened but coach told us that we have 12 opportunities in the season and we got to make each of the opportunities count. We’re excited going into NAU.”
Burrola on playing a smaller school like NAU after a tough loss: “We just have to remain positive. No matter who the opponent is, coach always says we gotta respect the opponent. So we’re just ready to play Saturday.”
Arizona wide receiver Tayvian Cunningham on differences and similarities between Hawaii and NAU: “They both play a lot of cover four. I know NAU plays cover four more consistently and that Hawaii kind of changed it up on us last week and did things we didn’t expect. I’d also say Hawaii has a little bit more size than NAU does, but other than that they’re both really good teams who are ready to play.”