USC-Arizona State Press Conference Quotes
Oct. 12, 2004
USC Head Football Coach Pete Carroll
'This is an exciting time for us with an opportunity to follow up the great celebration of the Cal game last week with our fans at the Coliseum to come back against an undefeated team. Arizona State is flying high right now and we are excited about the challenge. This is a terrific football team that we are going to be playing. We come into this game with high hopes and trying to maximize this opportunity. We understand that we are playing a very good football team with a chance to have a terrific season. We understand they are healthy coming off a bye week. We have some situations that we have to deal with, specifically injuries at the safety and wide receiver positions. We are going to try to get resourceful and work things out. I'm very pumped up about it and this will be a great weekend.'
(ASU quarterback Andrew Walter)
'We have seen him so much over the years. We have watched him grow up. He is the best that he has ever been. He just won't give the ball up. He is a marvelous talent with a great arm. Not only does he have strength, but he is also accurate. He can throw the ball down the field as well as anyone in the country. Their receivers are experienced and this is the best that we have seen from him.'
(goal line stand against Cal)
'We pressured them on third down and they tried to run a little route in the back and Lofa (Tatupu) covered it well. The pressure was there, but we lost containment. Eric Wright made a great play on the ball in a scramble situation on third down. He just got his finger on the ball. On fourth down, we threw a coverage at them and felt like the four guys up front were chomping at the bit to go after them. We knew we would have a chance to tee it up on fourth and long. Shaun Cody had the best pressure and got his hands up in Aaron Rodgers' face. He kind of misthrew the ball and the guy they were throwing to was doubled, so it all worked out. It was a dramatic finish and great opportunity for our defense to be faced with a great challenged and they came threw. They felt rewarded by it.'
'I think Fred Davis will be there to help us depth-wise. He is not far enough along to make a huge impact. We are just getting thin so he needs to be there for the work load. He is a fantastic blocker so he can help us in that regard. He is a big body to throw the ball to, but we are not going to all of a sudden adjust our attention to Fred. We are going to go to the guys that have been playing and doing a good job. Chris McFoy and Dwayne Jarrett will likely be the starters and the rotation will follow. We are going to have to ask more from Dominique Byrd and Alex Holmes. Those guys have to be part of the offense and help us get some passing yards. The guys in the rotation have to step up.'
(catching teams off-guard with different players)
'That would be short-lived if it works out like that. We are not going to be that much different, we can't afford to do that. We have to continue to do what we have done up to this point. As every game goes, a new guy or factor will hopefully show up in our favor. It's likely that we will get it from the tight ends. Reggie Bush is always a factor for us. We are going to try to use him as much as we can.'
'We didn't get enough opportunities on our side of the ball. We lost those by the fact we couldn't get the defense off the field and couldn't convert on third down as much as we needed to on offense. For the last two years that we have played Cal, they have been the best team running the football at us. They have done a nice job against us. I was disappointed in the fact, which you probably can't see during the game, in some of the calls that I made to try and hit some things didn't work out well. It added to their consistency and that was trying to hard because they were so effective at controlling the ball. I didn't do a good job in that regard. We were forced to do some things. They blocked us well and they were extremely patient. Fortunately, it didn't happen when they were in the red zone. The red zone defense really bailed us out.'
(red zone offense against Cal)
'We did get tantalized with the field position opportunities. We had such great field position that we were trying to blow it away and not getting that done, we had to kick some field goals. In that regard, we like to try to score and we weren't doing anything differently...it just didn't work out for us. If you look back, if we had worked on being more patient in those situations...we might have been more effective. That was frustrating for us. We could have jumped out on these guys and were ready to do it, but since that didn't happen...we let them stay in the game and they made it close.'
(comparison to Cal to other teams)
'I liken them to Iowa and Michigan. Those were the two teams that were really all encompassing in all phases of the game.'
'They have matured. Their receivers that were coming on and making noise last year have been there a lot. Their tight end (Zach Miller) is doing a great job for them. Defensively, that is where they have changed the most. They have dramatically adjusted their scheme and it's working out well for them. Their defensive personality has always been aggressive, but they don't take as many chances as they used to. Therefore, they are not as easily available to strike against. They make it much harder.'
(opponents' passing game)
'We have to adapt to what they are doing. Cal had the ability to do both (throwing short or deep). Arizona State is the best team and going downfield and making you pay the price if you don't cover well.'
(USC offensive line)
'They are doing alright. They are playing pretty good football and continuing to improve. We still have to work through new things that happen to us during a game when we get a scheme that is different in a game plan. We don't adapt as well as when you are an experienced group and changes have to be made. You pay a price for that and it happened to us last week. It's happened to us every week. I think you just have to keep working. I don't see any phase of our offense that really disappoints me. We just need to get our turns and keep getting first downs. This is going to be hard this weekend.'
'Mike had a terrific game against Cal. He was active and made big plays on third and fourth downs. He is always a factor. He has great quickness and a great motor so when the opportunity presents itself, he makes his plays. The sack where he took the ball away from Aaron Rodgers, we only had three guys rushing. Mike just whipped his guy, got into the backfield and made a big play for us. He has a great work ethic and always bringing it every day. He is the most consistent guy in the time that we have been here. He is a terrific performer and prospect for the next level.'
'We really have a conscious developing that it's normal to be in these situations. It's normal to play in games like this. It started a few years ago to create that mentality. I don't want these guys to think that it's the game of their lives every week. You can't have that every week. Every game is important, but you have to deal with them in a normal fashion. We do it in order to stay steady and not go up and down with whatever the game breaks. I like to think that we do that and crescendo in games as well with the mindset we have. I'm proud of it. I think we are able to handle it. I said to you early on that we needed the Virginia Tech game with the buildup and the hype. We were going to have more of those games and we needed to handle it early. We are focusing well. We are not being affected by what happened, but by what is coming up. Every week is a new test and we are being tested again this week. I live in fear of a let down. It's why we have such a constitution about ourselves. It's why we talk the way that we do. We do it to maintain a mentality that most teams can't do. We are trying to separate from what is expected to meet the challenges each week.'
'He just came out of the chutes pounding the ball and the factor of that on the kickoffs wore on Cal. Every time, they couldn't get the ball past the 20 without an attempt. He drilled his field goals and kickoffs. He did a beautiful job. He reaped the benefits of the two weeks. Ryan, Coach Dennis Slutak and Tom Malone did a great job of working together and the results were obvious.'
'That was a great crowd. The players loved it, as well as the recruits that were in. They were all moved by the intensity of the crowd. They are so excited about having a chance to come back and do it again. The challenge is really for the fans. They have to get it going again...pack those bags and get cranked up again. We usually have a lot to say how they enjoy it so we will try to play well for them.'
(if Cal outplayed USC last week)
'Heck, no. We won the game and should have won the game way out ahead. Cal did a wonderful job executing and they are a fantastic football team. They just couldn't win on that day...they couldn't beat us. That was clear.'
Arizona State Head Football Coach Dirk Koetter
'The best thing about having a bye for us, even though we have had some momentum in our games, we were beat up. It wasn't with a bunch of serious stuff, but with things that you have guys instead of playing 100 percent...you have a bunch of guys playing at 90 percent. It was important to be able to give some of your main players a few days off to heal up. When we came back on Sunday, I really noticed the freshness in our legs.'
(quarterback Andrew Walter)
'(Cal quarterback) Aaron Rodgers put on quite a performance last week. Typically over the last couple of years, Andrew is going to throw at less of a percentage from a completion standpoint, but we are going to try to throw the ball down the field a little more. Instead of trying to pass for eight or nine yards, we are going to try to complete passes in the teens. That is just a bit of a philosophical thing. I think the difference this year is that Andrew doesn't have to be the whole show. In the past, if Andrew wasn't lights out, we might not have a chance to win. This year, we are so much better as an overall team that Andrew doesn't have to run the whole show and he knows that. He is managing the game accordingly. By far the biggest stat is his 15 touchdowns against one interception. He is throwing balls away, he is eating the ball when he has to do it. I think he is as good as anyone out there and certainly USC and Cal have one as well.'
(running back situation)
'It hasn't affected us yet and I say yet because we came into the season with four tailbacks who started at one point or another in their career. Two of them are gone due to injury (Cornell Candidate and Randy Hill) and one of them (Loren Wade) gone to suspension so we are done to one scholarship (Hakim Hill) is the only guy left. Hakim is a talented player and did a nice job for us at Oregon two weeks ago. He will be fine. We just don't have much proven depth behind him. We have a walk on player (Preston Jones), who should get an opportunity. We have a freshman (Price Wilks), who we would like to keep out and we have our return man (converted wide receiver Rudy Burgess), who played tailback in high school, that we have been working a little bit. Hill is solid right now. It's kind of back up by committee right now.'
'Because we played three night games, our games have ended so late that I think we have flown under the radar. We made the switch from the 4-2 to the 4-3. We got a great junior college transfer linebacker in Dale Robertson. We have three guys, Robertson, Justin Burks and Jamar Williams, who are in the 6-2, 245 range who can all run and hit. Those guys are really playing well and hustling to the football. We have seven seniors who are playing on defense and I think that's a big part of our turnaround. I think another factor is that we were much maligned in the secondary and I think Mark Carrier, who you are all familiar with, has added a competitive and toughness angle to our secondary that we didn't have before and I give Mark a lot of credit. It started with our corners and has permeated through the whole defense.'
'I'm sure you have heard all the accolades and they are well deserved. When you are the defending national champions and you have not lost for a long time, you deserve everything you get. USC is certainly a heck of a football team with great players. They are well coached. They have survived and stood up to everything that has been thrown at them. That's a mark of a great team. They know they are going to get everyone's best shot every week and they always find a way to get it done.'
'In Mike Patterson and Shaun Cody, I can't imagine a better tandem in college football. Patterson dominated the Cal game. Cody is sort of like our Jimmy Verdon...he plays wherever they need him whether it's tackle or end. Those guys are so hard to block whether they are in their slant, stunt or bullrush mode. They are two dominant players and I think they are the key to their defense.'