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What Jedd Fisch, Jonah Coleman and Ephesians Prysock said after Arizona’s win over Washington State

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Arizona football earned a dominant 44-6 win over No. 19 Washington State on Saturday, improving the Wildcats to 4-3 (2-2 Pac-12). Our recap can be found here and our players of the game here.

After the win, coach Jedd Fisch, running back Jonah Coleman and cornerback Ephesians Prysock spoke to the media. Here’s what they said.

Fisch on his overall thoughts on the game: “Was a great football game. Hats off to our staff. I thought our coaching staff did an incredible job preparing our players this week. And I thought our players did an incredible job preparing. They came back from a three o’clock or four o’clock in the morning landing on Sunday. And we got right to it and we prepared and we had triple overtime loss against USC. And we know we’re good. And we got to show it today. And we spent the whole week preparing to have our best outing of the year today. I believe we did that against a very good team, Washington State’s top 20 in the country. And we went on the road and played our best brand of football. So excited about our offense, excited about our defense, excited about our kicking game. And, more importantly, we as a staff we’re excited about the direction of our program. We know that we’re in a spot right now where Arizona football has gotten to a spot where now we’re competing with everybody in the country.”

On what he liked about the defense, especially after giving up a score on the first drive: “Well I like the fact that we held them to 30 yards rushing, I think it was, or 38 yards rushing. They were under 200 yards I believe total or close to it, 230 yards in total offense. I believe they’re a top two passing team in the country or top three prior to this game. I believe they’re a top 12 scoring offense in the country. We held them to six points. We took the ball away, I believe four times or three times, I know two interceptions and least one fumble recovery. A fourth down stop on their own 36 yard line, a fourth down stop on their own 21 yard line. So I like everything about the way our defense played today.”

On what led to Arizona’s defense getting takeaways: “We always say turnovers or takeaways come in bunches. We dropped a couple this year and we caught them today. That was the key. EP caught one. Tacario (Davis) caught one. And it was fun. It’s a full momentum changer. It’s how you score 40 or 50 points in games is when you take the ball away. And when we don’t take the ball away it’s very hard to get that many possessions to score that many points. When you do take the ball away, it’s a lot easier.”

On what he liked about the way Noah Fifita managed the game: “Again, I probably can answer that question with everything. I think we had it was about 80% completion today. 78%, something like that. Threw for over 350 yards. No turnovers, threw the ball away when it wasn’t there, took a sack when he had to take a sack and did a great job of running our offense. And that’s what makes these quarterbacks special is how hard they work to run what’s an NFL offense. The same offense they see on Sundays they get to do here at Arizona.”

On whether Fifita's play has Fisch reconsidering the quarterback hierarchy: “I’ll just talk about the game today.”

On what he liked from the running backs: “Jonah had three touchdowns, DJ had a touchdown, Speedy had a touchdown. I think that’s what the five were and then we had the three field goals maybe or something like that. I can’t remember exactly. But I believe that’s what it was. And those guys all they all played great. We hit Jonah on the third play of the game on a 70 yard pass down to the one yard line and then he was able to get in. We were able to really mix the run and the pass. They were able to be productive catching the ball, they were able to be productive running the ball, and truth be told as we’ve said, we’ve got some really, really good running backs. We also have a guy named Mike Wiley, who similar to Jayden has been out for the last three weeks. So we’ve done this the last three weeks without our starting quarterback, without our starting running back.

On Arizona’s ability to develop young players: “I think that people have to realize now that when you come to Arizona, you’re going to get developed. They’re going to see the depth that we build. They’re going to see why we play freshmen. And that’s because freshmen wind up turning into sophomores and being able to make huge impacts in our program when the game of football happens, which injuries do occur.”

On stopping the run and making WSU one dimensional: “I think the goal always is to become one dimensional, to make an offense one dimensional that’s the goal. We felt as if we had a really good plan for their running game. And if we could do that, and then know that they were going to have to throw the ball to beat us, that then allows you to put together the type of plan that you want to have that gives you some chances to blitz, gives you some chances to play different coverages, gives us chances to intercept the football. And so it started with trying to give them no real space in the running game.”

On when he made the decision for Fifita to start: “When I saw that Jayden wouldn’t be able to protect himself in the pocket.”

On adding Jeremy Mercier to the flex: “Yeah, we went back to our roots a little bit when Desert Swarm was Desert Swarm. And we had coach Akina and put in a little bit of flex defense this week with Coach Nansen. And we thought it was gonna be a great little add to what we’ve been doing and continue to get as many defensive linemen in the game as possible has kind of been really what we’ve been doing and that’s that’s continued.”

On spreading out the passing attack: “It was really based upon the way these guys were practicing. They’re practicing at such a high level and it’s it’s tough to just see one or two guys when you got five or six guys that are playing all at a really good level of practice every single day. So to be able to get Jonah and Speedy and DJ all involved in the passing game specifically, and then a lot of it is checking them all down or I think Jonah we put a play in for him the third play of the game, but he’s got such elite hands that very similar to Mike Wiley in that regard. And then Speedy got a couple of check downs which were great. And then Montana (Lemonious-Craig) I think he had the most amount of catches since he’s been here with five, but that really came from just the way that coverages were spun towards T-Mac. I don’t really, a lot of it were they bracketed Jacob (Cowing) a lot, so there was a lot of zone coverages there at Jacob’s sides so we weren’t really able to get in the ball down the field. We tried one time on a corner route but. Guys got to step up and Noah did a great job distributing the ball and got (Tanner McLachlan) down the sideline one time.”

On what a win like this one can do for the program: “I think Oregon would say they’re a really good team, even though they had a close loss against Washington. I don’t know, I think that we are a really good. Yeah, it was close against Stanford who went ahead and just beat Colorado on the road last night. It was close loss in triple overtime to USC or a one touchdown game against Washington, or an overtime game against Mississippi State on the road, but our team believes that they’re good, they know they’re good. And they can’t just always hear it from me or from our staff. So what sometimes you have to do is you have to put it all together and we put it all together last week. We missed on a play. We missed on another play. Maybe there was four or five plays in the course of the game that we would say, ‘Wow, that would change the outcome of the USC game.’ I’m sure Lincoln could say the same thing on this side. So the fact of the matter is we didn’t win that one, but we knew we were right there. We knew we were right there against Washington. So that’s two top 10 teams. And then we went ahead here and on the road against a top 20 team and won by 38 points. So I think that’s kind of what tells us that we’re pretty good.”

Prysock on his second quarter interception: “It felt good. The offensive formation put me into a position to where I don’t usually play. I seen him throw it and I went to go get it.”

Prysock on the message to the defense after WSU’s opening scoring drive: “Just keep swarming to the ball. I think that’s pretty much it. Just keep swarming and trying to take the ball away.”

Coleman on what he liked about his performance: “First off I want to thank my o-line. My o-line was giving us a push, putting me in the right position to make plays. Really it felt good. I can’t complain. Coach prepared me for this. The other backs like Mike Wiley and DJ Williams told me it was my moment so make the opportunities count, make plays.”

Coleman on Rayshon Speedy Luke’s game: “When his opportunities came, he capitalized. We tell Speedy, when you get the ball, man, go make a play. Let it loose. Let it hang. Coach challenged us, ‘go show ‘em. Are we for real?’ He did what he did.”

Coleman on Fisch drawing up an opening drive play for him that went 69 yards: “We assumed that 75% of the time they’re man coverage on third down. We got basically an under route and you get the guy in man caught up with the crossing route and it literally drew up just how coach thought it was and executed the play.”

Coleman on Arizona’s mentality late in the game: “We win the games in the fourth quarter. The game’s not won in the first and second quarter. We’re gonna keep dominating, we’re gonna keep pounding until they give up. They gave. So we executed and scored.”

Prysock on Jeremy Mercier’s role in the defense’s flex package: It was very effective. Jeremy Mercier is a great guy on on and off the field. We put him in when it’s time at the right time.”

Coleman on Fifita’s outing: “Noah is great. Stepping up your fiirst start against basically three ranked teams and to play like that and have the confidence and passion that he has for the game is just, that’s not common. Every time Noah takes a snap, every time, every play he plays like it’s his last. The confidence that he has it’s just unbelievable. And his confidence and passion rubs off on us and that’s how we’re able to do what we do.”

Coleman on Fifita’s growth since coming in against Stanford: “He’s comfortable and he was prepared for the moment. You know, next man up, walked on the field at Stanford (with) confidence. And we weren’t worried. We weren’t worried. We weren’t shook. We believe tin Noah and we believe in Jayden.”

Coleman on the feeling of getting over the hump: “Last year, it was always we were so close. People in the community (were) all ‘Good game. So close.’ Forget that. We’re not here to just be close. We’re here to win and dominate. So we took that about our job and opened up the candle.”

Prysock on the team’s attitude: “I think Jonah hit it. We’re here to win and stack Ws. I think our defense and offense is very good at a high level right now.”

Coleman on how this win sets the team up heading into the bye week: “It definitely makes us feel comfortable, but you can’t get comfortable, can't get complacent. We got to be ready to work on practice on Monday and we’re still going to have that hunger, that drive (as) if we lost the game.”