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What Arizona players said about USC and the Utah game being cancelled

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 19 Arizona at USC
Robert Congel
Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Let’s try this again.

After seeing their season opener at Utah get cancelled due to COVID-19, the Arizona Wildcats will (hopefully) take the field this Saturday when they host the 20th-ranked USC Trojans at 1:30 p.m. MST.

USC has won seven straight in this series and is a two-score favorite for the rematch.

A few UA players met with the media Tuesday to discuss what they saw from USC in its comeback win over ASU and the emotions they felt after the Utah game was cancelled.

Here’s what they had to say.

Arizona linebacker Dante Smith on the team’s mindset after having its opener cancelled: “The mindset of the team is 1-0 mentality. We’re disappointed about not being able to play but things happen in COVID, so Coach (Kevin) Sumlin really wanted to make sure that we’re OK. So we’re mad about that, but after that we’re on to USC now.”

Arizona defensive lineman Kyon Barrs: “Finding out our game was canceled last week, it made us feel heartbroken, a lot of us. But our coaches texted us, we communicated on group chats, came back Saturday, worked out, we all talked. We gotta come back this week and get ready for USC. We can’t focus on the past. We gotta move on.”

Barrs on finally getting a chance to play Saturday: “We all have been working so hard. With this whole COVID situation going on, we put our all on getting ready for this first game and we got it taken it away from us, so emotions are gonna show. And me, I was hurting, but I had to be a leader and push everybody to get ready for this week.”

Barrs on if he watched USC beat ASU: “I did get a chance to see. I think the Trojans are great team. We can’t go in there thinking that, ‘Oh, just because they almost lost or something like that. We can’t be complacent about there, so I think this is gonna be a good battle.”

Arizona guard Robert Congel on if he watched USC beat ASU: “I did. They do a lot of stuff. They do a lot of stunts. They blitz a whole heck of a lot. But sometimes they blitz themselves into plays. sometimes they blitz themselves right out of it. So it’s just going to be staying the course this weekend.”

Congel: “I think every single one of us offensive linemen and the majority of our team was watching that game live on TV. We’re all texting back and forth. So everyone’s getting ready.”

Congel on pulling off an upset: “I mean, no one’s unbeatable. Anyone can win any game. USC is a great team. They’ve historically have been a great team, but I feel really good about our team and we’ll see what happens Saturday.”

Congel on the key to protecting quarterback Grant Gunnell against a tough USC pass rush: “I think just working in practice a bunch of this week, build that quick-twitch mentality where you’re moving off stunts and stuff like that. And just studying this week. All of our guys are really focused, so we’re gonna be watching a lot of film this week to get ready to keep Grant safe.”

Arizona running back Michael Wiley on USC: “I think the Trojans are great team. We can’t go in there thinking that, ‘Oh, just because they almost lost or something like that. We can’t be complacent about there, so I think this is gonna be a good battle.”