Transcript Of Sultan McCullough Chat
Sultan McCullough: Hello everybody! Good morning. I hope you all are having a good day!
Question: Describe what type of expectations do you have for yourself as a team player and an individual this upcoming season at USC?
Sultan McCullough: For my team, I just want to win! I have individual goals I want to accomplish, like a lot of yards. But I need the team. I want to be the type of back to get a lot of yards on every play. But I need the team. If I get 1700 yards, hopefully that means we win a lot. If we throw for 300 yards, that gets me more chances to run. I can't do it without them and they can't do it without me.
Question: Sultan, you are listed as the 'lightning' half of a thunder and lightning backfield. Is your speed really your biggest asset?
Sultan McCullough: I think that is one. But I know football better than many. I have played since I was 8. The speed comes after the line. You can be quick behind the line. But if you run full speed up to the line you can get hurt. I got a lot of speed but I can't use it all! You can't use speed and not cut. You need to set up blocks and stuff and after than you can burst and take off. All speed is not good--you need to know the game. If you don't know the game you can't use it. I mean, without the knowledge what do you have the speed for?
Sultan McCullough: Pete Carroll is mainly with the defense. He's a players coach. Norm Chow wants to win. He doesn't say much but his record speaks for itself. He is the best thing on the market. We have everything. Pete is a defensive guru and Norm is an offensive guru. We have everything in the right place to be successful.
Question: Sultan, you had a great year last year with out a dominant o-line, how do you see things shaping up this year with your o-line?
Sultan McCullough: This year they are young but if Carson has a great year it will help a lot. If they key on him, we will run wild, but if they key on me we may slide. He has a lot of talent and wants to be the best. I want to be the best too. We have a 6 man front and we will play smart. We won't force it. We don't have the line to pound it. But we have a good line. All they have to do is block for 3 seconds and we'll do the rest. We don't want to put the pressure on the linemen. It's on the skill people.
Question: What do you think of this year's schedule?
Sultan McCullough: We have 7 Top 25 ranked teams and I think we can beat them all. There is no 90s Nebraska or any other dominant team. If a team is not prepared they can lose. Anyone can lose. We can go 0-12 or 12-0 if we aren't careful. But we are careful and we will work together. Other teams might have better players and may be bigger and stronger but we are smart. The smarter team wins.
Question: What do you think about the renewed enthusiasm in the program, as evidenced by the 'Thundering Herd' fan club?
Sultan McCullough: I don't know about them. But everyone wanted change. You can't live in the past and think about the 70s and 80s. We can't go get OJ or Marcus Allen. We live for now. For Pete Carroll's 2001-2002 team. Our destiny is now. We have to come and play. The name of USC doesn't mean anything, it is the people representing the name. We have to represent the name this year because we haven't been doing that in the recent past.
Question: Sultan, thanks for coming here and talking to us. If you could play any team this year not on your schedule, who would that be?
Sultan McCullough: I would like to play someone like Michigan. Michigan or Florida State. One of those two.
Question: When you have the ball there's that sense that magic can happen, do you feel that way
Sultan McCullough: All the time! There are a lot of plays you can make something happen, but some players have nothing plays where they can break it open. They can turn no yards into the big gain. It's about being smart. You may not get a lot of yards on every play but it only takes one. You have to be patient because it will come.
Question: What did you do different in the off season to prepare for the new offensive schemes under Coach Chow?
Sultan McCullough: I think I conditioned better and worked on my strength. I worked on catching the ball. That is a big part of the offense. I am not a big back (195 lbs) but I am strong and can bench 500. So I have the combination. If we go no huddle or 6 plays running constantly, I will be ready. The off season prepares you. If you work hard you are ready. Those who don't, they get hurt. If you put the work in, good things happen.
Question: Can you talk a little about your new strength coach?
Sultan McCullough: Chris is a great coach. He has been through a lot of things. And I take my hat off to him. He was sick and overcame it. His faith and commitment to us while he was sick was amazing. He was here from 6am-5pm and working with us and we didn't know it. He committed himself to us and because of that we commit ourselves to him. If he can do it for us, we can do it for him. What he has been through is 50 times worse than anything I can go through. If I am running and hot and feeling like I am going to collapse, that is NOTHING. I can't complain about anything I go to. He dealt with life and death and anything we go through on the field is nothing. I put my hand out and take my hat off. It is all about commitment. He knows it all for us too. What to lift, what to do when you are sore, how to build. We have 15 guys squatting 500, lifting 400. He is amazing. Everything he has done is better than anything in the past. He is the best strength coach I have ever dealt with.
Question: Sultan last year it seemed like holes vanished so quickly. What did you take with you from that experience and translate into what is happening this year, with both the blocking and the renewed 'team' feeling?
Sultan McCullough: This year we will take it day to day, minute by minute. We don't want to go back to last year and that situation. We threw everything away and started clean, but we learned. We closed the books and started over. Those who were here know what we need to do. They know what we have to do to win. The new kids could have gone anywhere and they wanted to be Trojans. We made a change and that is why they are here. With the players we have now we can have a great season.
Question: Who are your teammates that you are good friends with, and have you had much of an opportunity to hang out with the incoming freshman?
Sultan McCullough: I haven't. Everyone checked in on Thursday. I was here Tuesday to meet the Freshmen. I wanted to see them run and wanted to see them as I was when I was a freshman. I want them to get to know me. I have status on the team but I was once a freshman like them. I came where they came from and I want them to know that. And if they need something, come to me! They did that for me and I will do that for them. It isn't easy but you have to go through this to be a better player. And who do I hang around with? Everybody. But Kareem is my boy. We were in high school and rivals at one time. But now we're the best of friends and we can count on each other.
Question: With all the talk about Oregon State's Ken Simonton and Oregon's Joey Harrington, how do you feel about your Heisman chances?
Sultan McCullough: That really doesn't matter. All the people they talk about for the Heisman, you need a winning season. Last year the team that the Heisman winner was on was 12-0. There are a lot of good running backs there but they don't all have winning seasons. You can shine but you need to win. If I rush for 200 and we lose that doesn't matter. If I rush for 70 and we win, I could get it.' I really want a national title. I will take that over a Heisman any day.
Sultan McCullough: Thank you to everyone for letting me talk with you. I give blessings to everyone who is a Trojan fan. Have a nice day!
TODAY | 6:00pm PTLive
TOMORROW | 7:00pm PTLive
Thu 10/19 | 3:00pm PTLive