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Kish’s goal as interim coach: Show the Wildcats he cares

Tim Kish will make his debut as interim head coach Thursday night. Photo by Michael Chow/The Arizona Republic

Arizona interim football head coach Tim Kish held his first weekly news conference with the local media Monday, and here are some highlights:

There was one comment from Kish that seemed to sum up his first week on the job, as he has tried to instill a lighter atmosphere around the program and attempted to inject some fun into practices.

He said the best piece of advice came from former Arizona swimming coach Frank Busch, a national-championship winning coach who is now the national director of USA Swimming.

“Frank Busch put it best,” Kish said.

“The players don’t really care how much I know, or how much the staff knows, they want to know how much we care,” Kish said. “That has really been our theme going forward. That has been great advice, and I have taken it to heart.”

Kish said that fired coach Mike Stoops addressed the team Friday.

“This is still his team, and I’m glad he chose to do so,” Kish said.

“I think it was very positive,” he added, talking about the players’ reactions. “It was a chance for him to put some closure on it for himself but to understand he’s still with the team. I think the guys reacted to it well.”

Kish said he has also received advice from others in the coaching profession, including “my best friend” — Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio — and Stoops’ older brother, Bob, the head coach at Oklahoma.

“All of them were very positive, very energetic toward the situation in terms of helping out,” Kish said. “And I appreciate that.”

Kish said Arizona mens’ basketball coach Sean Miller coach also addressed the team.

“Coach Miller was outstanding and challenged our team a little bit, which he can do,” Kish said.

“I just have the utmost respect for him and what he has been able to accomplish. No better person here on campus than he to come out and address the team.

“I’d like to get some other coaches to come out and do that same thing. We’ll see.”

Arizona has put players off limits to the media this week in advance of Thursday’s home game against UCLA.

In other news …

John Bonano will be the team’s place-kicker, the team’s third this season. Bonano kicked the final PAT at Oregon State, replacing Alex Zendejas.

–The status of S Adam Hall, who made his season debut at Oregon State on Oct. 8, is up in the air. Kish said Hall, who had rehabbed from a spring ACL injury, re-injured the knee to some extent and did not play in the fourth quarter of the OSU game.

“There is some concern as to whether he will back out on the field,” Kish said.

Asked whether that meant for this week or for this season, Kish said, “Both.”

If Hall, a junior, cannot physically play this season, he would qualify for a medical redshirt and would not lose a year of eligibility.

–As we reported last week, linebacker Jake Fischer is almost certainly going to redshirt. Another of the guys rehabbing an ACL injury, defensive tackle Willie Mobley, was never a candidate to play this season.

–Kish said he has given running backs coach Garret Chachere and wide receivers coach Dave Nichol more responsibility in terms of special teams. Special teams coordinator Jeff Hammerschmidt will move from the sideline to the press box to get a different view on the game.

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