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What Jedd Fisch said during his press conference to open Mississippi State week

arizona-wildcats-football-jedd-fisch-press-conference-mississippi-state-bulldogs-preview-pac12-sec Zachary BonDurant-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time this year, Jedd Fisch and his staff have relevant game film to study, both their own and that of Mississippi State, Arizona’s opponent on Saturday in Starkville, Miss.

The Wildcats easily beat NAU 38-3 in their opener, while MSU cruised past SE Louisiana 48-7 at home.

Here’s what Fisch had to say about his review of the NAU game film, his initial assessment on the Bulldogs and other topics during his Monday press conference:

On the impact of the new clock rules: “We only had four drives in the first half. It was a strange game, I think there was (10) possessions total. We wound up scoring on ... five of those possessions. It was a strange game, the new time certainly speeds things up a little bit. Offensively we were efficient. We did a nice job. If we avoid two turnovers in the red zone we could have made for a great day.”

On the defensive performance: “I would say without question our defense communicated fantastically well, played with great effort. We need to not have five penalties that are personal fouls. We talked about that as a staff, whether it be the unnecessary roughness on a punt, whether it be an unsportsmanlike conduct, with a shove late, whether it be to roughing the passers or whether it be targeting, we just can’t have those plays. That is not going to work against an SEC opponent this week. So we have to be more disciplined there. But in regards to being challenged to be more physical, they were, being challenged to run to the ball, they were fantastic. Being challenged to play a great effort, they did that, and being challenged to become elite communicators, they’re working very hard at that as well.”

On the blocked FG: “We spent a lot of time working those and that was fantastic.”

On Mississippi State: “Certainly a very tough opponent. I think that coach (Zach) Arnett has done a great job defensively over there and now as the head coach, I’m sure he’ll continue to do a great job. They are tough to move the ball on. He knows exactly all the answers to the test. You could tell he’s been in that defense for a very, very long time. Either running it, coaching it, being a GA in it, whatever it might be, he is an expert in that defense. So we got to work cut out for us there. Have not seen much of their offensive film yet. I do understand that they ran the ball for 300 yards, I do know that they’re a little bit more balanced of an offense than they have in the past, and we’ll have our work cut out for us there.”

On playing in SEC country: “We’re excited about the challenge. We’re excited about going down to Starkville. I’ve only been there one other time. It was not a pretty sight when I was there. We got beat pretty bad (in 2000) at University of Florida that year. Coach Jackie Sherrill put it on us that day. So we’re going to have a better game that, and know that the cowbells will be out, and we’ll be ready for them the best we can.”

On dealing with MSU’s cowbell usage in the stands: “I think you have to be alert for it. The cowbells are not allowed to be ringing when you’re in formation. They’re only allowed to be ringing when you’re in a huddle or when you’re going between plays. They’re not out when you’re going through your cadence, and I know that they’re very disciplined on that, since that’s a penalty. But other than that, I know they’re going to be loud. I know they’re going to be something we need to be aware of. We’ll have some cowbells piping in this week and we’re going to look forward to the energy that an SEC game brings.”

On dealing with the heat and humidity in the South: “I think we practice in heat enough that our guys can handle it. Yes, it’s a different heat, but I think an 85-degree day with humidity or a 105-degree day with no humidity are probably pretty comparable. I would put our guys conditioning up against anybody’s, so I feel really good about that.”

On Ta’ita’i Uiagalelei: “He’s gained about 25 pounds. He’s up to the 260s right now. And he’s playing at a level where he can play on a tight end as a defensive end. He can speed move inside on third down and give you pass rush ability. He plays with incredible effort. He’s running really well, because he’s like a 240-pound guy that became a 265-pound guy rather than a 290-pound guy that slipped down. He’s maintained his athleticism as he’s getting his weight. He’s also done a nice job on special teams. Obviously we saw part of that with the big block that went on the field goal. He’s a quiet, hard-working disciplined, you don’t notice them until you notice him guy. And he made some big plays against UCLA a year ago as a true freshman, he had a big sack in that game. And as we continue to see his improvement, it’s certainly showing up in a lot of different ways.”

On Ephesians Prysock: “Ephesians had a great game. There would be a play or two, I think, that they might have had a shot at, they might have had one catch on him. What I loved about him is he triggered. There was times that that jet sweep they ran on third and goal, down there during the the goal line stand, it was him that chased the guy on the top and came down and triggered him right in the hole there to stop getting in the end zone. He tackled really well. He’s got great range. I mean, you’re talking about a 6-foot-4 corner that can run. So when you have that, when you play man coverage it’s a lot harder to be able to throw around him because of his length and his speed. He’s getting more physical. He’s getting stronger in the weight room. He’s getting bigger. When I mean bigger, I mean he’s getting more weight on him, and he’s getting confidence, as he’s continuing to grow and build confidence he’s gonna be a really good corner for a lot of years.”

On the offensive line adjusting to a new starter at the last minute: “I think it was a little tricky just because of the fact that Raymond (Pulido) was taking all the reps with the ones for two weeks straight. And then all of a sudden, after your last practice, you don’t have him. So there wasn’t even a practice other than a walkthrough in a hotel ballroom that we were able to even get the communication right. It’s really a credit to Josh Baker and Jonah (Savaiinea), that when Sam (Langi) went in or JT (Hand) went in, that they were able to get all the calls out and they were able to help (them) and keep (them) confident. JT did a really good job, Sam did a good job. Both of those guys are gonna have to play again this week, unless something changes. And then Joe Borjon came in and stepped in that left tackle, probably for about 24 minutes, the second half of the third quarter on, and did a really good job. But Jordan (Morgan) is doing great. Jordan will be ready to go.”

On Pulido’s status: “We won’t know about Raymond really until I’m gonna say Thursday or Friday. When we’ll actually know if he’ll be cleared to play or not. So those guys are going to have to continue to step up.”

On avoiding targeting calls: “Lead with your shoulder, lead with your shoulder is the best way to say it. You just can’t lead with your face mask. You’re just gonna have to turn a little bit more than you normally would. Now if there’s any chance of a catch tackle do the catch tackle, because if you just go flying in with the shoulder and you miss you’ve got a problem. But if you just lead with your shoulder, tackle with your shoulder, keep your head out of it, and you’re just gonna have to deal with some of those plays that aren’t necessarily the same blow up shots. You go back in time and you look at all the blow up shots of old, and you want to try to get your defense going and you go and look at some on your phone and you’re like, I can’t show any of these. The blow up shots of old aren’t the same, aren’t allowed anymore. So you have to be ... disciplined, and you have to lead with your shoulder.”

On how Justin Flowe can get more snaps: “Just keep getting better. He certainly showed up when he played. You saw him get in there, there was a chance that he almost ripped the ball out on one play, closer to our sideline on the run. Came in very physical, chased down a wheel route on the backside and led to a tackle down the field. I think that his snap count will continue to increase as he continues to get more confident in the system and more knowledgeable in the system and is able to play within the system. And as he’s continuing to do that, his snap count will continue to increase.”

On Treydan Stukes’ status: “Stukes, nothing yet other than he’s improving. That’s another one that we won’t know until Thursday or Friday based on all the protocols that are in place. We can’t make those decisions. That’ll be told to us by the training staff.”

On the secondary with potentially two starters out: Gunner will have to sit the first half of this coming game. We have (Isaiah Taylor), we have Dalton (Johnson), we have DJ Warnell, we have (Martell) Irby. And then we have Prysock and Tacario (Davis), so we have a really good group right there that can rotate through, and I feel really good about that group of six. And then G7 (Celestine) came in and played well, too, in his five snaps. I think what we’ll probably see is tht the smoothest transition would just be IT for Gunner, but we’ll see what that other competitions look like. Genesis (Smith) came in, played really well as well. We’ll work through that in practice Tuesday and Wednesday.”

On Jayden de Laura’s TD pass to Tetairoa McMillan that looked improvised: “We were watching the TV show ‘The quarterback.’ There is a part of the game where Patrick Mahomes gets to take about five minutes and come up with a creative play in practices on Wednesday, and he gets to practice with the receivers. And I guess my Jayden came up with a creative play with T-Mac and they made an adjustment during the game, an on-field adjustment that, if they fall off this, this is what I want you to do. And they clearly were on the exact same page on that. We give them a five minutes of a Jayden period where he can come up with some creativity.”

On going 1 for 5 on 3rd down: “Yeah, we weren’t able to confer on the easy ones, right? So we gotta do better on third down. I know that sounds weird because we only had five, but you know we got to be better in third down. We’re gonna have more this week.”