With Arizona (3-4, 1-3 Pac-12) heading into its bye week this week, Jedd Fisch spent a large portion of his Monday press conference talking big-picture with reporters. Arizona’s head coach talked about recruiting plans for the staff, about getting better on defense, and more.

Here’s everything he said, with video of the press conference below:

On the schedule for the week

“A couple days (off). We’ll give them a couple days. We’ll be back at it Sunday, full steam ahead. Sunday will be preparation, all USC. We’ll have a couple days here and there. They had yesterday off. Our goal is to see how good we can be. I tell them they’ve got the springtime to get off.”

On recruiting this week

“All of our coaches will be on the road on Thursday and Friday. We’ll be hitting 28 games or something like that. I know I have four games that I’m going to get to in the two days that I’ll be out. … We’ve got coaches heading out west West over water, and then we have coaches that will be… I think we’ll have four or so in Arizona and four in California and then two in Texas.”

On what determines where Fisch goes

“I like to get my eyes on quarterbacks. I like to get my eyes on — if we have a school that has numerous kids that are available to look at, it’s not a game with just a player, I like to do that. Certain games have a lot of prospects, those are always good. There are certain programs that are just very well-established that I like to just be able to go out there and see, see the good football that occurs there. And then there might be a need or a want to get to a certain place.

“You know, I’ll probably have to go out a couple times here in the next few weeks on a Friday night just to be able to catch a game if I can, or a quarter or a half, and then get back. Otherwise we’ll be full steam ahead after (the bye). The rest of our coaches will be really position recruiting. They’ll be looking at their own positions.”

On the message to recruits or the reception to that message being different this year compared to a year ago

“A little bit. Reception’s been great. But the messaging… The way it looks for us is pretty simple. Last year we were trying to figure out exactly what we were gonna be. This year, we’re pretty confident that we’re gonna be a really good offensive football team.

“We’re a top-10 passing team, and they’re all young players. So, if you’re out there as a recruit on offense, you’re gonna want to be a part of a team that’s very explosive, that scores a lot, that throws the ball a lot, that has a sophomore quarterback — unlike most of the other programs we’re competing against that have senior quarterbacks.

“If you’re a defensive player, you have an opportunity to come in here and compete to start right away. We have a lot of veteran players on the defensive side, so you have an opportunity in that regard to make kind of the same impact that our offensive guys made this past offseason.

“You look at our game against Washington a year ago, there was not one player that touched the ball against Washington in 2021 that was on the field in 2022. Not one offensive player, not one skill player.”

On the focus split between 2023 and 2024 recruits

“We’re very focused on ’23 right now. Position coaches are focused on ’24, I’m very focused on ’23 and ’24 a little bit. As we’re building, this group that’s coming in is going to be a huge part. The young freshmen that we have are going to continue to get better — as we see every week — and then the guys that will be coming in to join that group, we’re going to probably try to bring in 16 or 17 guys midyear in January again. There will be a lot of new again, but that’s OK.

“Then, based on numbers we’ll figure out how many (recruits on) offense and how many (on) defense. You guys can check to see the numbers, they’re out there.”

On making halftime adjustments and what’s leading to Arizona getting outscored in the third quarter

“I don’t know. We scored 25 points in the second half (against Washington). We scored every time we touched it (except for the missed field goal), so I don’t know the answer to that question. I know we went out there this past and we scored four straight. We scored three touchdowns and a field goal, and the only other drive we had was the last drive of the game.

“I think it was 21-14 at halftime and if you were to just look at the second half it was 28-25. I don’t know if there’s any correlation whatsoever there at all about halftime adjustments. I think both teams continued to play well. We certainly scored every chance we had on offense. We played the No. 1 offense in the Pac-12 and they kept scoring as well. We stopped them on a fourth down, they missed a field goal, we were down 18 and came back to make it down three, and then we had a third-and-11 we thought we stopped them but there was a flag thrown and we didn’t and they scored a touchdown there.”

On defensive issues in the third quarter

“I think we’re just giving up too many touchdowns period. I think that’s what it comes down to, that we need to continue to get better in that regard. I don’t see it more as a halftime adjustment.

“In the Oregon game, they were pretty good the whole game. I think in the Cal game it was 24-21 at halftime and then they kept scoring, but we never really stopped them from scoring in the first half either. It was really more of just the game was going that way.

“I think that’s what college football is looking like right now as well. When you look out there and you see Tennessee-Alabama and you see 52-49. You look out there and you see Oklahoma vs. Kansas and you see (700) yards of offense and 52-42. I think Michigan ran for (418) yards against Penn State and it was (16-14) at halftime and then it was 41-17 final. You look at the USC-Utah game, it was 43-42, both teams combined for 1,000 yards. I just think college football right now, for the most part a lot of teams are playing with a lot of good offenses and offenses are doing a good job of scoring points. It’s certainly making it fun if you’re calling plays on offense and making it challenging if you’re calling plays on defense. The quarterbacks are showing up and we’re fortunate to have the one we have.

“When you go out there and complete 75% of your passes and throw for four touchdowns and not turn the ball over, it’s a good day’s work.”

On whether Fisch thinks big offensive showings are because of great offenses or struggling defense

“I think a lot of rules are in favor of the offense. I think 20 hours a week to prepare is very challenging on defense. When you look at it, you have a lot of different formations you can throw at teams on offense. In pro football, you don’t have those same formations you can use. All the unbalanced sets are very different. You have a ton of space with the way the hash marks are set up in college football. You have the RPO game, which is officiated a little bit different in college football. And you have a lot of kids who are great athletes playing quarterback right now.

“Defensively, you have to adjust to all of that. You have to actually defend all of that, and that becomes a challenge. I think that’s what’s kind of happening a little bit. Tackling is less and less going on in training camp. There’s a lot of awareness of full pads and how you prepare. All those things sometimes indicate a little more offense, a little less defense.

“But that’s no excuse. We’re going to do everything we can to become a much better defensive football team and be able to maintain being a good offensive football team and try to be a lot better than we’ve been on offense. I continue to watch our film and think we leave at least 100 yards out there every week. This week was certainly no different.”

On Josh Donovan’s status

“He has (been evaluated) and I think that he should be good to go. It’ll be up to treatment, rehab, but nothing structural. It was a knee (issue), but nothing structural that would affect his ability to play in two weeks if he’s feeling up to it.”

On whether the bye week comes at a good time from a health standpoint

“We’ve been fortunate — knock on wood — that our guys have stayed relatively healthy. A couple guys have been dinged up at different times. It’s nice to give Jacob Cowing a little bit of a break, just getting his ankle back to being 100%. Jayden (de Laura) got rolled up on at the end, get his ankle back to 100%. Josh, see how good he can get over the course of time. Tia (Savea), get him back. Isaiah Rutherford, he should be back. I would hope Mike Wiley (will be back after the bye), the timing comes at a good time for him. Speedy (Luke) is probably a stretch for USC, but we’ll see. His injury because of the surgery just takes a little bit longer to heal. But the rest of the team, I would say I expect everybody to be healthy — other than Speedy — for SC. Speedy, I would say, is at a question mark.”

On whether Luke would be held out to maintain a redshirt

“The new rule for redshirting guys is you get four games you can play, so we’ll have to look at how many games he’s played a snap in versus how many games we have left and then make a decision. If he’s back healthy and we have five left to go then he’ll play.”

On what the goal is during the bye week

“Get better. That is the No. 1 goal. Get better in every phase. Last year we were 0-7. This year, Week 7 we’re 3-4. Our goal right now is to see can we get better in every phase? In all three phases, in every aspect of offense, defense, special teams. Can we become a better passing team, rushing team, blocking team? Can we become a better tackling team, rush defense, pass defense, and a better kicking team?”