Football Press Conference Quotes

Football Press Conference Quotes

USC Head Football Coach Pete Carroll

'I am pumped up to come home to the Coliseum for the Homecoming game with a win behind us. We feel like we got something accomplished last week at Arizona. It will be a big match up with Oregon State. We made some progress last week that we were pleased with. We were able to come back in the fourth quarter and make some big plays. It was difficult coming down to the wire. I like that we bounced back early in the game when we were down and we made some big plays to get us back in. I like the pressure that we got on defense. It created some problems for Arizona. I like our two-minute offense that showed up before the end of the first half and had a good drive. There were some positive things that I was pleased with. We look forward to a very big week on campus.'

Talking about team hitting its stride with two wins in last three weeks...

'I think we are feeling some rewards for our hard work. We have worked hard in these games and throughout the season. We are making a little bit of a move in the right direction. The Arizona State was a really good football game and the Notre Dame game was a solid one for us, but we couldn't finish it in the fourth quarter. We did a lot of great things early in the Arizona game, but we just got worn down a little. I think we are making progress. I'm concerned that we are a little banged up. We need to hold this momentum that we can muster to finish the season. The health situation could make it more difficult so it is really challenging our kids to stay out there on the field and get back out there.'

Talking about Oregon State hitting its stride as well...

'I think they played a very difficult game last week, Cal gave them a hard time. Oregon State had to hold onto a lead and do all those things that they did. They are a good football team. Their running back, Ken Simonton, is excellent and they look very much the same as they have been. Their style is exactly the same as their big year last year. Their quarterback, Jonathan Smith, does a great job for them and makes big plays. He is capable of keeping them in a game and turning it around for his team. This is a very difficult match up for us.'

Talking about the health situation of the secondary...

'I think Darrell Rideaux is in trouble. Kevin Arbet will make it back, so it probably doesn't affect us that much. We have a lot of flexibility with Antuan Simmons. I'm not really concerned, but it would be a big loss for us if Arbet could not play. He's made so many plays and been so integral for us in so many areas that we would miss him. He looks okay and we will take it easy on him.'

Talking about status of Sultan McCullough...

'He's not doing real well. We will check him out again today. The situation is something similar to what I have seen before and he's not doing well, but he wants to get back in. There is not much we can do about it right now.'

Talking about special teams last week at Arizona...

'I thought we did some pretty good things. We held down their kickoff returns and did an okay job on punts. We held their average down. David Davis is leading the conference in field goals, so I don't see it the way you may see it. Oregon State does some very good things in the kicking game and they cover kicks like crazy, so we have to shore up our special teams. One of the areas where we haven't done well is returning kickoffs. We haven't had the ball up field like we want to and with Rideaux out, we will have to shift some guys around. It's always a struggle, but I think our kicking game is consistent. We have basically had trouble with kickoff coverage.'

Talking about the play of Carson Palmer...

'We went into last week knowing that Carson was going to throw quite a bit. Carson is a good football player. He is going to make some plays when you put the ball in his hands. He made some terrific throws in the game and the two picks he threw were both deflected balls. He did a nice job for us. He throws the ball so well. Our problem is the running game.'

Talking about play of defense last week...

'I am really excited about the production on defense. With six sacks and four big turnovers, including a couple of scores, that is about as good as you can do in one game. When you put productive pressure on the passing game, we will make some plays because we have some playmakers out there. We are hanging because we are thin right now with injuries. A key injury could hurt us, but our guys up front are holding up well. Ryan Nielsen at the nose spot up front has turned out well for us. Shaun Cody's play at tackle has really helped us. We are just thin right now, but so are other teams.'

Talking about facing Dennis Erickson in the NFL...

'Well there is a little something to it, you know they know me too. They know that I'm a defense guy. I like to think that the familiarity helps me plan better. I have seen a lot of Dennis' offenses over the years and they have been very successful, so I don't know if that's going to help me or not. It's kind of funny to have a little background with him.'

Talking about play of running back Sunny Byrd...

'Sunny has a style. He's a downhill runner, he runs at people. We like the way he carries the football. I just think we are struggling at being really productive in the running game. We are still mixing like they keep telling you to do that, so we will continue to do that. Sunny had 30 carries last week with 70 yards. I think we have adjusted to doing what he's doing when he runs with the football. It looks like we have a feel for him now, but still our production is not where it needs to be. We just keep pecking away. We would like to be able to have a change of pace, hitting them with the big guys and then coming back with someone like a Chris Howard or Darryl Poston for a spark like those guys can. We need a breakout carry and I think Sunny is on the verge of that. It's not beyond him to do that because he is pounding the ball very well. I love the way he carries the ball. But again, until we get back to carrying the ball 120-130 yards, I don't think we pose enough of a threat to really make a big deal for us. This might be his breakout week.'

Talking about the possibility of playing in a bowl game...

'It's topical. The guys talk about it some. That's nothing something that I dwell on. I am more dwelling on what's going around us right now and what is in front of us. What's important to our team right now is finishing strong and on a high note. They want to put together some back-to-back games where we get the wins and start to get that feeling that we are accomplishing something. A little bit of that has to do with helping the seniors finish on a high note and really establishing our program with a foundation for years to come. It really goes back to playing well. We are battling to just play good football. We have improved in a number of areas when you look back to last year. We are happy that the penalty thing is somewhat in order and the kicking game has improved along with the turnovers. I'm just disappointed it hasn't been interpreted into wins like I thought it might.'

Talking about attitude that the team has created...

'I think we are playing with a good intensity. I think we get after it. When you play the Trojans, we are going to come get you. I like the way that we are running the football more physically at the line of scrimmage...it kind of ties in with that. I was hoping that we would be an attacking defense that makes things happen and we build on that as part of the foundation of that hallmark that we stand for. There are not a lot of defenses that are being praised around the Pac-10 because it's normally about the offense. There is an opportunity there to really establish yourself as a stalwart defense at our school and we are trying to get that done. I think we need to stay away from giving up big plays. On offense, it's getting that mix of where you have to establish the run. When that happens, Carson's going to tear it up because he has shown that ability. We need to give him the other side of the game that really allows you to open it up on the offensive passing game.'

Talking about kicker David Davis...

'He's doing a great job for us. We are very fortunate that he made it through the early part of the season, getting adapted in transition to our game. We just keep counting on him to kick the ball through the uprights. The 47-yarder he kicked for us last week cleared it by a bunch.'

Oregon State Head Football Coach Dennis Erickson

Talking about expectations for the season...

'I think every football team goes into a season with high expectations. Our goal was to try to compete for the Pac-10 championship and go to a bowl game. The first goal is out of the question now. Yeah, it is disappointing. We thought at this time of the season, we would be a little bit better than where we are now. There are a number of reasons that we aren't there. We haven't been as productive offensively as I thought we might be and particularly the running game. Defensively, we have given up the big play in certain situations, which we didn't do a year ago. If I had to take two things, those would probably be the two biggest things as far as our football team is concerned on either side of the football.'

Talking about winning two of the last three games...

'We have done some better things. We have made some big plays offensively. James Newson has emerged at wide receiver for us. He has made some real big plays for us in the passing game and that has been the real key. We have to try to keep people off our running game, which a lot of teams have done. We have run the football a little bit better in two of the last three games and even against Arizona State. Defensively, it has been the key in our two wins. We played very well against Arizona and last week against Cal on defense. That has been the key to our success.'

Talking about Ken Simonton...

'Obviously, Ken hasn't gained the yardage that he was hoping for this year. It's a number of different things, it's just not Ken. Playing as hard in all aspects of the game that he did last year, there are not as many places for him to run this year without getting the big play like he did. But Ken is playing well and is doing a lot of other things. He is pass protecting and is still running hard. As far as I'm concerned as far as how he is playing, he is having a very good year.'

Talking about Jonathan Smith...

'Jonathan at times has played well and at times he hasn't played well. That's kind of the nature of the position with everyone. There are times where he has thrown the ball extremely well and times that he hasn't thrown it well. I think anytime at that position, consistency is a key. We probably haven't had the consistency overall offensively that we need. But Jonathan has done some good things within himself. We just haven't gotten the big plays that we got a year ago.'

Talking about team's defense...

'We had some guys step up (after losing a lot of seniors from last year's team). Eric Manning up front has played extremely well for us at the tackle spot. Our linebacking corps, Richard Seigler, James Allen and Nick Barnett, has done a good job for us. We have a young freshman in Mitch Meeuwsen who is making a lot of plays for us at strong safety. Those are the guys who have stepped up the most for us defensively.'

Talking about this week's game and the Trojans...

'I am very impressed with USC and have watched them in every game they have played. They have had some luck that hasn't been very good. They have been unlucky in some situations. You can start with the Kansas State game. Some games on the road where they had a chance and a lot of close games. I have been impressed with the job that Pete Carroll and his coaching staff have done. They are playing with a great deal of improvement from a year ago and defensively, they are playing extremely hard and their linebackers are playing well. Shaun Cody has been very impressive as a true freshman. Troy Polamalu is everywhere for them. Their secondary is as good as anybody in the league when you put them all together. They are playing good on defense. On offense, I see Carson Palmer improving all the time and getting used to Norm Chow's system. Of course, in my opinion, Norm is one of the great offensive coaches and quarterback gurus around, but it takes a little bit of time for everyone in that system and I see them improving all the time. I see Kareem Kelly improving as he gets into that offense. They are a football team to me that has been impressive all year and they have a little momentum going for them. I see a lot of good things happening in USC's football program right now.'

Talking about Nick Barnett's performance last week against Cal...

'Nick was all over the place. He is a guy who is a little undersized, but he can run. He is about 210 pounds but he has got great speed and a tremendous motor on him. He plays outside for us and flies around and makes a lot of plays. Last week was his best game for us. He played some for us last year, but now he has gotten a chance to start. He has had a good year for us.'

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