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What Jedd Fisch said at his press conference to open Territorial Cup week

arizona-wildcats-football-jedd-fisch-press-conference-2022-territorial-cup-asu-pac12 Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

Jedd Fisch was hired as Arizona’s football coach, at least partly, because of the result of the last Territorial Cup played in Tucson. That game mercifully had no fans in attendance, but Fisch is hoping for a big crowd on Friday when the Wildcats host ASU in the regular-season finale.

“Hopefully we can fill this place up,” Fisch said Monday to start his lone press conference of the week. “I think we know what’s ahead of us, and all of our focus is on the team up north.”

Here’s what else Fisch said ahead as Arizona (4-7, 2-6 Pac-12) gets ready to take on the Sun Devils (3-8, 2-6) to end the 2022 campaign:

On hopes for a big crowd: “I know everybody likes to talk about what time kickoffs are. One o’clock should be about as perfect as a kickoff can be. Not sure if there’s a better kickoff time than one o’clock. So one o’clock after Thanksgiving leads to nobody having anything to do other than go to the game. I don’t think there’s much work on Fridays. I know there’s no school on Friday. So I think Friday is available at one o’clock for everybody to come to see the longest rivalry game trophy game in the country. I know it’s gone back to 1899 when this thing started, so I gotta think we can fill this place up and have a great crowd on Friday at one o’clock.”

On the Washington State loss: “When it’s all said and done didn’t play well enough to win the game. We weren’t good enough, we weren’t in sync, we need to be better. I thought our defense probably had their best performance of the year, although I would argue that the performance against UCLA was pretty good as well. I think they’ve had 10 very good quarters of football in a row, when you look at the last two quarters of Utah, the four quarters of UCLA and the four quarters that they played (against Washington State). A couple scores here and there that we let up, couple scores here and there we gave to them in regards to turnovers on offense.”

On the receiving corps: “Dorian (Singer) is now at 1,014 yards. Jacob (Cowing) has 1,001 yards, so pretty cool to have two 1,000-yard receivers on the same team with still another game to play, only in a 12-game season. TMac is over 700 yards, first time ever Arizona that three guys are over 700 yards in the same season. Tanner (McLachlan) has the second-most catches (for a UA tight end).”

On what caused some of Jayden de Laura’s interceptions: “I would say two of our interceptions came from just us making mistakes that we haven’t made all year, that I can think of right off the top of my head. With Tanner we threw a pick over Tanner’s head, which never should have happened. Tanner should have just ran right past that Mike linebacker, I’m not sure what caused Tanner to kind of stop there. There was one where our left tackle didn’t pick up (WSU’s) No. 8 on a blitz, and we were throwing to Cowing on choice route where he was breaking in and we wound up throwing a pick six at the corner. Jayden was throwing it like he was hot on that throw, he shouldn’t have been hot, that was an easy protection with the left tackle, but he was hot because there was a guy running free. So he threw it as he was hot and Jacob knew he wasn’t hot. So it’s one of those deals that unfortunately, we had a protection breakdown that caused an interception for a touchdown. One interception came from a tipped ball that he threw to Jonah where he probably could have just kept running at the end of the game. At that point in time just run and get us yards.”

On how much the Territorial Cup means: “I think it’s a huge game. I think it’s a huge game for older guys that have been a part of this program for a while and having not gotten a win. I think it’s a big, big game for our young guys, that they can help send off our older guys, and take the momentum of winning this game into the offseason. I think it’s a big game for our staff. There’s been a lot of great improvements in our team as a whole all season long, and it’d be very exciting to be able to finish strong at home. I think that all in all, with our team, they’re continuing to improve and they’re continuing to get better.”

On rivalry games: “You have the inner-city rivalry when you talk about USC and UCLA. You have the within-the-state rivalry. Florida/Florida State, where I was at. Miami/Florida State. And then you have the neighboring state rivalry, which was Minnesota/Wisconsin for the axe. Obviously, Ohio State and Michigan. And then you have this one, which falls more under the within-the-state rivalry. Two hours away is pretty close. You’re somewhere between LA traffic and within within the city versus within the state. I understood when you have two state universities going against each other the last game of season it’s a big rivalry. It’s Auburn/Alabama, it’s Florida/Florida State. It’s Arizona/Arizona State and I’m excited about being a part of it. I know how important it is. I know I was hired after the game in 2020, so I understand the significance of this game. And I think it’s one in which that our guys also recognize, there’s (27) players on our roster from the state of Arizona, and a lot of them are from that area. So a lot of them are from that northern part of the state, and it means a lot. You listen to them talk and you listen to what matters to them, this game is a big deal. It’s a really big deal. And we got to make sure that we prepare and play understanding that.”

On the schedule for the week: “We’ll treat Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as we would a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. And then Thanksgiving morning, what we’ll do is we’ll have all of our players’ families here for breakfast with our coaches’ families, and that will be from 10:30 to 12. And then after that we’ll let the parents leave and then we’ll head out to have our normal Friday day, which would normally we’d do it in the morning but we’ll do it again afternoon. We’ll go from 12:30 probably to about 4 or 3:30 and then head to the team hotel. Stay together as a team the rest of the night on Thursday. And then Friday, obviously with an early start, we’ll just get rolling. Play the game, give the players to Saturday and Sunday off before we’re back together for a meeting on Monday.”

On which players will participate in Senior Day pregame activities: “That’ll be determined here, probably over the course of the next 12 hours or so. I’m going to meet with all of the academic seniors, meaning guys that have been here for four years and all of the seniors whose eligibility has run out. I believe there’s only six of those guys (where the) eligibility has run out, so clearly they’ll be walking, and then there’s 14 or 15, we’ll call it academic seniors, guys that have been here for years that will then make their decision on whether or not they want to walk. And then after that occurs, then they can make their decision and we can make it as a team on whether or not they’ll return. Jalen Harris walked last year ... and then he returned. So I think sometimes we just have to figure out at this point in time, how many guys are going to walk and then how many guys are going to walk and then come back.”

On DLs Deuce Lane, Paris Shand and Tank Wilson missing the WSU game and their status for Friday: “They just had medical reasons they were out for this game. We’re waiting to find out where we are exactly, medically, if they’re cleared. We’re hopeful that at least two of the three will be cleared. There are certain protocols that we have to go through before they get full clearance. We’ll know better after we had the day of exertion in practice to get exactly a feel for where that’s at.”