The Arizona Wildcats lost their 20th straight game, falling 41-34 at USC on Saturday night. They trailed by 21 at the half only to get within one score in the fourth quarter on two occasions.
Our recap can be found here. Below is what coach Jedd Fisch and quarterback Will Plummer had to say about the performance in Los Angeles:
Fisch on the overall game: ”I was pleased with the way our guys battled, the way Will Plummer played. I’m proud of the team, proud of the way we competed. Clearly we need to get better and we will.”
On LB Anthony Pandy: ”I’m proud of Anthony Pandy. I tell him after every game how much I love him. I think I probably tell him how much I love him as much as I tell my wife. All week long that guy just gives everything every day at practice."
On the second half and fourth quarter: ”I made the reference last week about going from losing big, to losing small, to winning small, to winning big. That was another great example of being there, but not over the hump. In terms of our culture, we made a huge point of emphasis on what the fourth quarter should look like. How you compete all the way through the fourth quarter. I think we all saw that there was absolutely no flinch, no letdown, no anything, and we got to play four quarters of football. We protected the ball. I challenged our team to see what a game looks like when we don’t give one away. Let’s see what that looks like. And I think our guys are continuing to understand it.”
On what was working offensively in the second half: “We just continue to get better and we’ll go on those runs more often. They’re understanding the offense better. They’re more comfortable. We’re putting a new offense in, a new defense in and a new special teams in, as well as a new culture. It’s a lot. So I’m proud of the way these guys battled and I hope this second half is the start of something really special.”
On Jamarye Joiner: "Idon’t know exactly the medical diagnosis, but he couldn’t continue on with a knee injury. Nothing that I believe would be season-ending, but I’m not sure. I love Jamarye. He was a wide receiver who was hurt in the spring game, had his second surgery and missed all of the summer and most of training camp, and just has been thrown into the fire of, now you’re a quarterback. Actually you’re running back, you’re a receiver, now we’re gonna go from you as quarterback to you at receiver within the same down. He’s just embraced it. I think he’s one of those players that the more you give them, the better he is. He made a beautiful throw, had another chance at one down the sideline with Jalen (Johnson). I’m really happy with the way Jamarye is playing. I think he’ll hopefully get back here and be able to continue to help us.”
On Will Plummer: “I love his grit and his toughness. He took one or two sacks and then ran off the field and he said, ‘Coach, I know, don’t even tell me. I know. Those are the sacks I can’t take.’ He made some great throws. He threw the deep ball. The first play of the game, we had a chance at it, but he threw a flat ball and then came back and threw a beautiful one. That touchdown pass to Tayvian that they called back, what a terrible rule. That was his first touchdown pass and he lost that opportunity. But we battled and he scrambled and got in there anyway.”
On building off this game: “It’s too bad we didn’t put the first half of Washington and the second half of USC together and then we would have earned it. We need to just continue to battle and I think we’re taking steps and they know it. Earning the right to win isn’t necessarily the game. Earning the right to win is how are you handling meetings? How are you handling your schoolwork? How are you handling the classroom? How are you handling community service? How are you handling yourself off the field? If you do all those things right for six days, in the seventh day, you earned the right to win. Our guys are getting there and they’re beginning to see it and feel it.”
On freshman WR Dorian Singer: "He earned it. Dorian got here as a walk-on, so he wasn’t with us until training camp. He is a special player. We’re gonna see a lot of Dorian Singer over the next four years and we’ll have to figure out a way to get him a scholarship ASAP. He is a special, special player, and we’re fortunate to have him here. He showed up on a big stage. I’m excited about Dorian in the future.”
Plummer on practice leading up to the game: “I thought we had the best week of practice we’ve had all season this past week. Our offense looked really good. We made a lot of big plays in practice. It seemed like everybody just kind of started to understand the offense. It was amazing to see. We still have a lot of points on the field.”
On the offense: “Something just clicked. I don’t know what it was. Everybody was locked in. Everybody was ready to just come back and work and it’s showing that we’re not going to just turn down, we’re not going to fold, we’re gonna come back to work every day and try to get better.”
On staying motivated when down big: "It’s not really difficult. This is what you dream of, playing in the Coliseum against USC. So if you have to get motivated to play in that game, then somethings wrong with you. I think everybody kind of understood the assignment that was ahead of us and we just fell short.”
On Jamarye Joiner "It’s been exciting. He’s a phenomenal ballplayer. He’s just a football player. He makes plays happen and is an explosive kid. So it’s been kind of cool to see how we can tie him in to the offense and use him more.
"Jamarye and I are good friends. He’s got nothing but motivational speech for me and same for me to him. We both cheer each other on. I was amped when he threw that touchdown on the first drive of the game. He was the amped for me too when I ran mine and so it’s a pretty good relationship. We’re good friends, I think it’s a good dynamic.”
On how much he's grown: “Miles. I got thrown into that game the second play of the game and wondered whether I was ready or not. I feel like the game has just gotten way slower for me. I’m seeing defenses, I’m understanding the concepts, and I’m getting better at understanding what Coach Fisch wants to do with football at certain times. It’s been huge to see that that stride in just 11 months.”
On taking more deep shots: “Coach Fisch met with me this week and he was like, “we’ve got to take shots, man. Don’t be reckless, but you got to take shots.” He said I trust you to take them, so at that point, I say, alright, if I have a one on one, we got to throw it. That’s what he kind of stressed on me is let your guys make plays, let your receivers who came here to play make plays. So hopefully we can build on that and allow them to even make even more in the next couple of weeks.”
On building off this game: "The offense that is being put in front of us is being run on Sundays by several teams and it’s explosive. If you run it right and if you do make the right reads in it and allow the offense to kind of carry you, it’s really explosive. Credit to coach and I think we keep building. The little details are really important.”