After an encouraging performance in the season opener, the Arizona Wildcats will try to continue elevating their game on the road Saturday against the Washington Huskies and do something they haven’t done in their last seven tries—win a game.
Arizona heads to Seattle on an eight-game losing streak dating back to, interestingly, the Washington game last October when they were blasted 51-27 in Tucson.
The Huskies should be a formidable challenge again. They bulldozed the Oregon State Beavers in their opener last week, using a bunch of talented backs to rush for 263 yards in the 27-21 win.
UW perennially has one of the best defenses in the conference too, and that’s no different this year. Here is what UA players had to say about that, possible bad weather, playing a road game during the COVID-19 era and more during Tuesday’s media availability.
Arizona defensive lineman Roy Lopez on Washington’s offense: “They like to pound the ball and so as a D-line we kind of take that personal, which we should. Going into the game, when they look at yards allowed per game, run yards per game, it’s a correlation between the D line and the run game. As a nose guard, you just gotta hold the fort down in the middle and when the plays can be made, make the play. Or if you can cut off the play, get up the field, force them to cut back, cut the flow of the offense and just cause any sort of disruption, whether it’s in the backfield cutting off the play, or being a veteran, seeing things before they happen.”
Lopez on Washington’s diverse stable of running backs: “They have a few different backs and we’re watching film on every single one of them. and what they bring to the table, so when they come in the game, we can expect what they’re trying to do. And they’re O-line, they’re trying to really maul people. They’re big guys, so we’re gonna get on the film and look for things we can take advantage of.”
Arizona kicker Lucas Havrisik on possible inclement weather: “I really haven’t had too much experience with wet weather, but I think it just comes down to a mindset. Like, I know what it is. It’s Seattle, Washington. It might be cold, might be raining, might be wet, just the mindset that you just gotta make sure you got some good cleats, with some good grip, that’s important. And I’d say for us training-wise this week, we’ll splash some water on some balls and soak them. Because when the ball is pretty heavy, it’s a little different to kick. We’ll be prepared for that, though.”
Havrisik on being in communication with the coaching staff on what his max distance is for field goals in that weather: “Warmups will give you the best feel for the game most likely because hopefully the weather doesn’t change from warmups to the game. But I remember my sophomore year at Oregon State, it was a little rainy before the game and I told them, ‘this is my max distance for field goals, blah blah blah.’ So yeah, we’re definitely talking and communicating about situations, kickoff hang time, all that.”
Arizona wide receiver Stanley Berryhill III on the chance to snap the losing streak: “It’s going to be huge for the program, but we know we can do it, so as long as we execute our plans. Our defense played great on Saturday. We had a few mistakes with special teams, defense, even on the offense we had mistakes. So if we clean up those mistakes I think we could play and run with anybody in the country.”
Berryhill on Arizona’s eight-game losing streak starting with the Washington game last year: “I remember that we were up at half, we got a little complacent. They ended up coming back and beating us. I mean, we leave that in the past. Yeah, we have a losing streak going on right now, but with a 1-0 mentality, we’re trying to win the day. So if we win every day, you don’t know what’s in store for the future.”
Berryhill on Arizona’s offensive success vs. USC: “We all knew from the beginning since last year really that we had a future in our offense because we had a lot of young guys who played last year like Boobie Curry, and we had a lot of guys who didn’t have much experience, like all of us didn’t have much experience last year. So now that we all have experience, and the young guys got their experience, we knew that we had a special offense because we have all the pieces, So as long as we execute our game plans, it can be a great offense.”
Berryhill on Washington having one of the best secondaries in the Pac-12: “Yeah, they’re a great defense and they’ve been a great defense since I’ve been in college, since I’ve known about them. Their DBs are very fast, very physical, very patient, so we’re just going to try to execute the game plan we have ahead and get the ball out quick, make plays and do what we got to do.”
Berryhill on Arizona’s receiving corps: “We have size, we have speed, we have quickness. I think we have it all in our receiving corps and we always talk about being the best receiving corps in the Pac-12. If not the Pac-12, trying to be the best receiving corps in the nation. And with BJ Casteel, me and him are more similar guys. We’re shorter, faster, quicker. Then we have Tayvian (Cunningham), who could just take the top off as you guys saw on Saturday. We have Boobie and Drew (Dixon) who are huge receivers just like Ma’jon (Wright). I think we have all the levels. We have Thomas Reid who’s probably one of the smartest players on the team. He always knows where to be. He’s always there at the right time. So I feel like all that just complements each other. There’s just a big cycle of us going through it.”
Berryhill on Arizona quarterback Grant Gunnell: “Grant has always been an even-keeled kind of guy. Even last year when he played in those four or five games he got in, he was still the same guy he is today. He’s been a great leader since he stepped on campus and he knows his role, so he’s a great leader, he’s real vocal now. That’s what I’ve noticed more. He’s a lot more vocal than he was in the past, but he’s brought the offense together and we’re looking very good so I give him props for that.”
Berryhill on what he expects in Arizona’s first road game: “COVID protocol. Hopefully we all come back negative. I know it’s supposed to be raining there, so just prepare for the rain and the cold weather really. I mean there’s not much you can do other than prepare the best you can.”
Berryhill on what the team does at the hotel: “We’re basically just quarantined in our room the whole time. I mean, we have dinner, we have meetings, but other than that we’re in our room relaxing, going over the game plan with our roommates just stuff like that. Nothing crazy.”
Berryhill on how he passes time: “I just watch college football games. I use a little bit of TikTok here and there, just things to waste time because you get so anxious and get caught up in wanting to play that sometimes you just got to calm down and relax. So I just try to relax the best I can.”