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September 4, 2007

Stoops talks personnel, NAU

On top of reviewing the BYU game, at his weekly press conference on Monday, UA head coach Mike Stoops also spent time discussing some of his personnel as well as talking about Saturday's matchup against NAU.

On Louis Holmes and the DL's play against BYU:

"Louis played well; I think he knocked the quarterback down four times. I don't know if he got credited for sacks. I thought our ends played decent, all three. (Jason) Parker), (Johnathan) Turner and Holmes all played pretty well throughout the course of the game.

"We didn't get great pressure from the inside and that really was a problem… Lionel (Dotson) has played well, Yaniv (Barnett) has played a lot of football. We've just got to get production."

On positives from the game:

"No (injuries), that's another positive. We didn't turn it over throughout the course of the game and Willie (Tuitama) made it through all but two plays so I guess we take those as positives. I think we did a better job, but still not good enough against a quality team. We have to continue to work on protecting our quarterback."

On NAU:

"This is a tough preparation. They're very athletic is what you notice, especially offensively. I think they have some exceptional players. Their running back, (Alex) Henderson, is a big time player. (Alex) Watson and (Skyler) Moore are both terrific receivers with good speed, good size. They're very athletic, they spread the field and they do a good job.

"They're not going to sit there and run lead plays. They're going to spread the field, make you defend the quarterback and defend their speed. There's a lot of quarterback run game, zone read, shotgun run game, so they present some really tough matchups and we're going to have to have a great week of preparation defensively.

"They kind of move around and improvise for maybe the lack of size of a big Pac-10 team just because getting defensive linemen is hard for us all. They improvise in a 3-5, kind of a stunt move around to try and create confusion and it can be disruptive. It's going to be another difficult preparation for our offense."

On Appalachian State's upset of Michigan and how it opens everyone's eyes:

"I don't think there's any question, (NAU) has a lot of similar characteristics offensively. They have weapons at skill positions and a quarterback that's very elusive. Hopefully our guys, that will get their attention and understand that this is a very good, well-coached team.

"You always think this is a matter of time before this thing gets turned. The longer those teams hang around, the better chance they have to win and that's exactly what happened. You gain confidence as games go on, especially when a superior team is playing a lesser team and the pressure goes on (the superior) team. That's kind of what happened. They say it could have been worse. I didn't see any of the game but it seemed like they played well all the way through it."

On Delashaun Dean and the other young standouts on offense:

"Terrific hands, big receiver. Terrell Reese (as well)… those guys are coming. We played a lot of young (players). Rob Gronkowski, Earl Mitchell, we've got a lot of freshmen and sophomores in there and we're really pleased with the progress that those guys are making.

"The young receivers I thought played well. We have to do a better job of getting Mike Thomas the ball. We tried to create some plays for him too. He had some catches but we never got him really in the game as much as we would have liked. It was hard because we didn't have much tempo, couldn't get first downs, couldn't get anything going."

On D'Aundre Reed and Ricky Elmore:

"(Reed) missed the last week and a half with a bone bruise. He practiced but just was ineffective. In the last scrimmage he fell on his tailbone and it's really been bothering him. Rick Elmore should have played more. Rick is probably ahead of D'Aundre in our depth chart. D'Aundre is our fifth end and we'll continue to try to get both of them ready to play.

On Nicholas Grigsby earning playing time:

"He'll be a factor before it's all said and done if he can continue to improve. He brings a dimension of speed and quickness that we need at that position. I would imagine he'll play a substantial amount - possibly - Saturday. The running back position is very difficult in this system. Whether he can grasp it all, we'll see, but I would imagine he'll get some touches."

On changes in the depth chart at running back:

"We're going to give all three of them an opportunity, so I'd imagine we'll see all three of them play. I thought Xavier (Smith) ran the ball well, we just have to create more running room for all of them.

"Whether (Chris Jennings) starts, I don't know, we're going to give all three of them (a chance), whoever practices the best this week would start. I would think it would be Xavier or Chris."

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