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What Kevin Sumlin said after Arizona’s loss at UCLA

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The Arizona Wildcats extended their program-worst losing streak to 10 games on Saturday night, falling 27-10 at UCLA.

Our game recap can be found here, player interviews can be read/watched here, while below are coach Kevin Sumlin’s postgame thoughts via his Zoom press conference.

Kevin Sumlin post UCLA

Hear what Kevin Sumlin said after Arizona Football's loss to UCLA

Posted by AZ Desert Swarm on Saturday, November 28, 2020

On having to go to true freshman QB Will Plummer after Grant Gunnell’s injury on the first play: “He had earned that right to be the backup during practice, since we started in the fall. Obviously it had an effect, but how he had practiced you could see some things he did to move the football when he first came into the game. There’s always an effect on that with a guy who hasn’t played.”

On the challenges that come with going to a backup so early: “There’s a big difference. The majority of the reps always go to the starter. When that happens that early in the game, whoever that next guy is is gonna have to play the majority of, or the whole game in this situation. There’s always a learning curve there, there’s always a reps situation. You do get a little handcuffed with a guy who is not getting that (many reps) combined with, really, his first real action.”

On Gunnell’s injury: “It’s a shoulder. We’ll assess that tomorrow, and throughout the week.”

On Plummer’s mobility: “Their defense had a lot to do with that. They were pressuring him, a lot of off-the-edge pressure or corner blitzes, some internal pressure. Obviously his mobility helps him in those situations to escape, and he utilized that. That’s something we’ll look at.”

On pivotal moments in the game: “One of the big moments was when we went for it on fourth down and didn’t get it, in the first half, which was a big swing because they scored. But to come back in the second half, our defense got some stops, we had some long fields and made some yardage. Even that last play, the field goal, we dropped the snap and it makes it a one-score game, at 20-13. There are a lot of pivotal moments, but off the top of the the head those two are really big.”

On the possibility of challenging a spot and a fumble no-call: “The first down, no because I think we went backwards and (Brian Casteel) was still alive trying to make moves. The fumble was under consideration. We didn’t get it challenged.”

On if he didn’t challenge because UCLA snapped the ball too quickly: “Yeah, pretty much, but right there, from where we were, we were holding it as quickly as we can. We just didn’t get it done, didn’t get it challenged.”

On the psychological toll of botching the field goal in the fourth quarter: “You make the field goal and it’s a one-score game with time left to have a chance to tie or win. Psychologically that’s difficult, but in this game you’ve got to fight through that.”

On walk-on Tyson Gardner starting at LT for Jordan Morgan: “Jordan has been struggling the last couple of weeks with an injury. That wasn’t a performance thing. As you saw last week, (Tyson) came into the game because Jordan has been having a nagging injury for the last couple of weeks and it wasn’t getting any better.”

On the message going forward: “Everybody in that locker room is frustrated. The overall message is, we’ve got to come back and we’ve got to go to work and you’ve got to trust in yourself and trust in each other. The only way to climb out of this thing is to get to work and keep working. There’s some things tonight, there were some people—particularly defensively—that at times did some good things, but we’ve got to be (able to) find some consistency and continue to work and believe and trust each other and trust ourselves. That belief, you can’t waver there. Your work ethic starts on Monday, and that belief has got to continue. That’s the only way you can climb out of something like this.”