Jan. 29, 2009
Innings with Pittsburgh's Joe Jordano
Innings with Duquesne's Mike Wilson
By Phil Stanton
week, we are going to have head coaches from Arizona and the
Pittsburgh area give us their thoughts on Sunday's Super Bowl
between the Cardinals and the Steelers.
Today we continue with Andy Lopez from the
University of Arizona. Lopez is in his eighth season with the
Wildcats. Arizona posted a 42-19 record in 2008, winning the Ann
Arbor Regional before dropping two of three to Miami (Fla.) at
the Coral Gables Super Regional. Lopez has accumulated nearly
940 wins in 26 seasons as a head coach, including more than 250
in seven seasons with the Wildcats. Lopez is one of three head
coaches to take three different schools to the College World
Series (Pepperdine, Florida, Arizona). His 1992 Pepperdine squad
won the national championship.
Lopez gives his perspective on the NFC Champions,
the Arizona Cardinals.
First Inning – What was the defining play of
the season for the Cardinals?
I don't know if there is really a defining play
or even game. Their success has been so fun to watch. I really
think Coach Whisenhunt has done a tremendous job setting the
tone for the club. That has helped them have a chance to win
every week and I've watched them every week because they are
always on TV here in Arizona. They are a lot of fun to watch.
Second Inning – Which player from the
Cardinals would you most like to have on your baseball team, and
what position would he play?
Oh wow, I'd love to have either Larry Fitzgerald
or Anquan Bolden. Both of those guys are simply amazing. On the
baseball field, we could probably play with just two outfielders
if we had those guys. Put one of them in left center and the
other in right center and let them roam around.
Third Inning – Which player from the Steelers
do you fear most?
I would have to say Troy Polamalu. I remember
watching him play at USC and saying, "wow, what a good player!"
He plays with a level of intensity that you wish every player
could do. I would definitely be concerned if I saw him come up
to the plate in baseball.
Fourth Inning – Who on your team would make
the best Cardinal, and what position would he play?
That would be senior third baseman Brad Glenn. He
was a big time football player in high school at Tulsa Union. He
won a state championship in front of 40,000 people and played
fullback/tight end. He's a guy that is quiet and goes about his
business, but always has a toughness.
Fifth Inning – What do you admire about Ken
I think he is exactly what the Cardinals needed
as a head coach. He was a great hire to set the right tone for
that team and that is not to discredit what other coaches did up
there. My good friend Chris Mortensen (ESPN NFL analyst) told me
that Whisenhunt was going to be a coach that could be successful
there and he has done it in a very short period of time. He
definitely has brought that very disciplined, hard-working
mentality from Pittsburgh. It's evident he has changed the tone
of things up there.
Sixth Inning – Which previous Super Bowl did
you enjoy the most?
To me, Super Bowl XXXIV between the Rams and
Titans. That finish was unbelievable. It's one of those
instances that really define the narrow margin between winning
and losing, and as I coach I have seen that many times. I mean,
one-yard was the only difference. As a coach, you see both
extremes throughout your career, but that was a big of a game as
you can be in.
Seventh Inning – Does the success of the
Cardinals help all sports in the state of Arizona?
I think it does to some extent. It would be a
boost for this state and I think every state could use some type
of a boost given the tough economic times. I'm not sure a win
would directly impact UA athletics -- I would hope it can
somehow -- but really it would just give more recognition to our
state, which is a good thing.
Eighth Inning – Why will the Cardinals win?
I think the Cardinals will win if they can score
early and get a lead early in the game. They really seem to put
in a good game plan to utilize Fitzgerald and Bolden early in
games. It will be tough to score much against that Pittsburgh
defense, but if the Cardinals can get a little bit of a lead,
then I think they can hold on.
Ninth Inning – What will the final score will
21-17, Cardinals win.
(photo courtesy of Arizona Media Relations Office)