Arizona junior Jake Fischer has gone from an ACL injury to the man in the middle of the Wildcats’ defense.
And, in his first game after redshirting the 2011 season, Fischer was chosen the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week.
“It’s a honor,” he said Monday, “but there are so many other things I could have done better.”
Fischer made a team-high 13 tackles, including 2.5 for loss, and forced a fumble as the Wildcats slipped past Toledo 24-17 in overtime at Arizona Stadium on Saturday night.
He moved from an outside linebacker spot to middle linebacker a couple of weeks ago because of injuries. He figures to stay there, with converted safety Marquis Flowers and Hank Hobson (when healthy) at the outside linebacker spots.
“I actually prefer it,” Fischer said of moving inside. “I like being in the middle of the field and making all the calls and everything. That’s what I did in high school.”
Fischer was one of the Arizona players who was on the field for all 94 defensive plays on Saturday.
“I was pretty sore,” Fischer said.
“There was a little stiffness and everything, but it was actually good to have that feeling back. I know we all felt it. We all played as fast as we could, as hard as we could. Especially after a victory, it’s a lot sweeter.”
Coach Rich Rodriguez said the defense “hung in there” against Toledo, and fatigue didn’t seem to be a factor. Arizona held the Rockets to 132 yards after halftime and didn’t allow Toledo to convert any of seven third-down opportunities after the break. The Rockets converted 10 of 16 third-down tries in the first half.
The Pac-12 differed from the Arizona coaches, who actually picked sophomore safety Jared Tevis as the team’s defensive player of the week. Tevis made 12 tackles and broke up two passes.
UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin was chosen the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week after rushing for 214 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries at Rice. USC’s Marqise Lee was picked for the league’s weekly special teams honor for his 100-yard kick return. He also has 10 catches for 197 yards.