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What Jedd Fisch said at press conference to open Oregon State week

arizona-wildcats-football-commentary-analysis-jedd-fisch-coach-decisions-quarterback-delaura-fifita Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona didn’t play over the weekend, getting a much-needed bye after seven straight weeks of competition including three in a row against ranked opponents. Now comes the stretch run, starting with another ranked foe in No. 11 Oregon State coming to Tucson.

So rather than ease back into things, the Wildcat dove headfirst into game week with a full practice on Sunday.

“We had an outstanding practice last night, one of the better ones we’ve had,” UA coach Jedd Fisch said Monday. “The guys came back full pads, full energy.”

Here’s what else Fisch said during his presser to open Oregon State week:

On Oregon State’s ascension from Pac-12 doormat to top-15 team:

I think they’re 16-4 the last 20 games they’ve played. You look at what Coach (Jonathan) Smith has done: 2-10, 5-7, 2-5, 7-6, 10-3, 6-1. You can see a tremendous build.”

On if he sees similarities to OSU in terms of his attempt to rebuild Arizona: “I don’t know, we haven’t gotten to year five or six yet. But I would say that if you look at just the way his team has developed, the type of football they play, the brand of football they play, I think we have similarities in that regard. We believe in a lot of the same things, a lot of the same principles. We believe in how you high school recruit a certain group of players and develop those players and try to help those players move on as part of your program into the next level. He came from an offensive background. He was an offensive coordinator at UW, so we have similar beliefs in terms of coaching the quarterbacks in there as well. I’ve admired from afar, I’ve become friendly with him through the years, so I’ve been able to get to know him better and better and better. You can see the progress that Oregon State has made under his direction, and hopefully we’ll be able to take those same leaps and be sitting at 11th in the country one day as well.”

On Arizona’s injury situation: “We’re in a good spot there. I think we’re pretty close to everybody being able to play. I think we’ll see where (Raymond) Pulido lies here over the next couple of days, where he is healthwise. But other than that, my goal is to be able to have everyone dressed and ready to play come Saturday night.”

On playing Pulido is he’s healthy or looking into redshirting him: “If he’s ready to go he’s gonna play. I think he’s only played one quarter, which was just the Stanford first quarter. We still have three more games out of these next five. Postseason doesn’t count any longer for redshirts, that’s a new rule that’s gone into play. The redshirt only is the 12 regular season games. I would be very surprised if he’s physically ready to go this week. So I think you’re really only talking about a 4-game window there. So then at that point in time, I think we’ll end up having a conversation of, can he play three of those four games. If he can, that would still allow him to have this for years. And also, if we’re fortunate enough to be able to play in the postseason, he’d be able to do that as well.”

On the quarterback situation: “We have two really good ones, so we’ll see what that looks like come Saturday at 730. But right now I know that I feel really good. I looked at where our guys fit in, in the Pac-12. And I think they’ve thrown 17 touchdowns among the two of them. We have seven interceptions. We’re 73 percent completion. Another additional four touchdowns by Jayden on the ground, so I think we combined for 21 touchdowns. I think we’d be fourth in the conference if they were one (player). So we’ll just wait and see what that looks like. See how it progresses this week, see how healthy everybody is and then go from there.”

On if the bye gave Arizona a head start on planning for OSU: “We did about, I’d say, 75 percent good on good last week and 25 percent on Oregon State offense and defense. Regarding the game planning, it enabled us to get ahead. I probably spent Thursday and Friday during the day a lot on game plan. I know the defense do the same thing. Offensively all of our coaches that participate in different aspects had their work done. (OSU) didn’t play either, so you don’t really have to worry about getting another game in of information. So it does give us a little bit of that advantage, to kind of get ahead a little bit, and then really try to put the best possible plan together we can.”

On recruiting during the bye: “Very good reception out there on the road. We were in a lot of different states and a lot of different places. And I think people want to be a part of Arizona football and they’re beginning to get excited about the direction of the program and excited about wanting to join. They see the type of development that occurs here. They see the way the class of ‘22 and the class of ‘23 have not just been brought here based on empty promises, but they were brought here and are a huge part of the success of the program. When you look at all the things that this class of ‘22 has done, they’ve done a lot of great things. And so when we were out on the road, we’re able to share that, we’re able to message that. And so if you’re a high school coach, and you hear that, you’re very excited to share that with your potential players.”

On having a full practice on Sunday: “I like to treat the bye week in the same way we do the first week of the season, which would mean Sunday’s a Tuesday, Tuesday’s a Wednesday, Wednesday’s a Thursday, Thursday’s a Thursday and then Friday isa Friday. So it gives us a chance to be able to get the most amount of hitting done earlier in the week and get the most amount of running and get our legs back to the second half.”

On how different OSU is to Arizona’s last 3 opponents: “Schematically they are extremely different. They’re a much more under center team, they’re not a spread team. They are willing to play with a fullback, which we haven’t seen really since you UTEP. They have some really good skill players on the perimeter, which is what we’ve been going against every week. They have a very good quarterback which, we’ve been going against every week. But what they do and how they use them and what they do in their running game is very different and unique. Defensively, similar in some regard. They’re a cover 4 team and a man team, a lot of teams play a 4-down front that they play And they just play it at a very, very high level. I would say their defense over the last few years is one of the best defenses in the Pac-12, statistically along with what you see on tape, so they’re going to be a quite a challenge there.”

On Rob Gronkowski being named host of the LA Bowl: No thoughts on that, but I am excited that Gronk is going to be our honorary captain for the UCLA game. So that’ll be a big deal. So that’s exciting. More excited about that part of it, to get him back on campus again. Gronk has continued to support our program since I’ve been here and I’m very grateful for that. So we’ll have him back on campus next Saturday.”

On which young players have stood out in practice, and if any have made the in-season jump Jacob Manu made last year: “No one has necessarily made that jump just yet. But a lot of it has to do with the fact that a lot of our scout team players are really our backups this year. We’re not nearly as much of the true freshman on the scout team and the other guys are older. A guy like Levi Su’a has made a big jump, Malachi Riley has made a huge jump for us. Taye Brown, a true freshman, has done a tremendous job. Kamu (Ka’aihue), a true freshman. Those those four guys stand out. Dorian Thomas is beginning to make plays on the practice field. He’s going to be a special tight end one day, I think there’s a lot of value there. He and Tyler Powell both. I would say that we definitely are beginning to see the fruits of the labor of some of the younger D-lineman that are going to start impacting games, Dom Lolesion seems to be able to have a pretty good role here moving forward as well. So those five or six guys have stood out in regards to how they’re playing as a freshman, as a freshman group, and then we’re just continuing to see who else can develop in those roles.”

On having players who are used to winning: “You can remember when we talked about hat recruiting class of ‘22 it was focus on high school programs that have won a lot of games to try to bring a lot of people into the locker room that know what winning feels like. And then with the portal this past year was to go and try to find players from winning programs. Justin Flowe from Oregon, whether that be Bill Norton who we brought him from Georgia. All of our freshmen and sophomores, all they knew was winning, so it was hard for them to even adjust to the struggles early on. So now they’re feeling that they’re very confident every time you go out there, and very disappointed when the outcome doesn’t go our way.”