Why is Arizona so good? Opposing Pac-10 coaches explainby Anthony Gimino on Nov. 10, 2009, under Sports
With all due credit to ESPN.com’s Ted Miller, we now have a sampling of opinion from opposing coaches on what is making the Arizona football team tick this season.
Miller asked several coaches on today’s Pac-10 coaches teleconference with reporters a variation of this theme: Why is Arizona better this season? What have the Wildcats done to be so good?
Be on the lookout for something from Miller later in the week on his essential Pac-10 blog, and here is a taste of the reasons those coaches gave. Interesting that there are four different answers from four different coaches.
Oregon State’s Mike Riley — offensive efficiency
“I think Mike (Stoops) has had a good defense and system and guys have grown defensively. The system has been there and has been solid for them. I think where they have really made an impact is their efficiency on offense — the percentage passing by the quarterback, the good running game. I think that has been the missing ingredient for them until this year.”
UCLA’s Rick Neuheisel — speed
“I think they have as good of team speed as anyone around. Oregon and them are, in my mind, the fastest teams we have seen all year, and that includes Tennessee. I think they have done a great job that way.”
Washington State’s Paul Wulff — experience in system
“They have players who have been in the system and have been coached the same things over a four- and five-year period of time. They haven’t wavered in terms of how they went about it. They brought in some better athletes, and they all know the system and they have a tremendous amount of confidence in what they do. When you stay the course, and just keep bringing in the type of kids who fit your system, and you let them mature and grow up … then once you start having success, it just keeps growing.”
Washington’s Steve Sarkisian — secondary play
“The DBs do a great job of keeping the ball in front of them, not giving up deep balls. I think something they do well in comparison to maybe some other teams in the country, is their DBs have excellent ball skills. And they have been that way for years. These guys, when the ball is in the air, have the ability to make a play on the ball and create turnovers. I just think they do a nice job of coaching that aspect of the game.”