Pete Carroll Confrence Quotes

Oct. 4, 2005

October 3, 2005- Media Luncheon

Pete Carroll

Opening Statement

'We have a great opportunity here coming back to the Coliseum. It seems like it has been so long since we have been here. It is a great opportunity for us to come back and enjoy playing at home. We witnessed a couple of great stadiums on the road. It makes you want to be back in your own setting and have fun with your own fans. We are looking at a conference game that is extremely important to us. It is a game we need in order to get back on track and balance our attack on the offensive side of the ball. We need to play better early on in the game and smooth that thing out. We are working hard to get that done. It is important that we correct problems and issues. I want to see some movement made in that direction. I want to put together a heck of a football game and get off to a good start back at home again. I am looking forward to it.

On the health of Sedrick Ellison and LaJuan Ramsey

'Sedrick (Ellison) practiced yesterday, he is fine. LaJuan is still pretty gimpy on his ankle. It is going to be awhile before we know, it didn't improve over the weekend. He is questionable for this game. Kevin Ellison is still yet to be determined. They are going evaluate what they are going to do next. He just had an MRI.

On the first half against Oregon and Arizona State

'It doesn't have anything to do with our effort. We are trying hard. We are making mistakes, maybe trying too hard. So they are similar situations. Unfortunately we didn't correct them from one week to the next, which is what I am most disappointed in. If you noticed in this last game, most of our problems had to do with the noise. We were right in front of the student section when they were really going at it cheering. That is just more focus and more attention to the details of it all. Also the discipline of holding your position when other guys are moving around you is something that we succumbed to a little bit. Good tactics and good football on the other side. They were moving and we flinched. We can't let a couple of those penalties disrupt our rhythm and put us in that situation.'

On the special teams performance last week

'We had a couple mistakes in coverage that are correctable; we just have to get it done. We chased the football more then we needed to. It is the really fundamental things that we are working on to get better. We still have issues until we fix it. We made a couple of switches last week in personnel. The newness hurt us a little bit, the lack of experience. We have to make sure and make good decisions in terms of personnel in developing our guys and give guys a chance to help us out. We have to make sure we do right when they get their opportunities.'

On Matt Lienart after the big hit against ASU

'It rocked him. He was hurt. He took a good punch to the chin, and he came back and functioned. I don't think he was as sharp as he was earlier. He came out throwing the ball right on the money first couple of throws. Fortunately we had enough ways to go with it so we didn't have to have him throw the football 40 times for the game. That was to our credit and helped us out and we were able to go with the running game. He threw the ball very well the second half. The first six or seven got started well. It wasn't a problem. There was an area in the game where he was a little bit off. He wasn't alone, there were a number of guys that were struggling through it and trying to get back on track. One of the big issues is when you start to have some problems, guys try to fix them and you make more problems for yourself and that definitely happened. We just have to smooth our way through it and practice really well this week in those areas we get hung up in.

On the running game

'This is a good story for us. We are running the football better then we ever have. We are confident in our approach and it has become clearer. It is led by what the guys are doing up front. They are doing a great job of targeting in on the running game and being consistent and finishing on their blocks. They are giving us the feeling we need to count on it and make it the strength of what we are doing and our offense. I think it is a great asset to have that we haven't really had, in my opinion. I haven't really said this before that I felt this strong about our ability to run the football. We have taken a new step, and Pat (Ruel) has done a great job with these guys. In the unit that is solid and had a chance to be good, I think we have taken a big step towards being a focal point of our football team. That is a great asset. It affects all phases of your team. The physical nature, the aggressiveness, the control, the minimal risk you take when you run the football, all of those things all make you a difficult team to deal with. I would like to see it keep going.'

What the change in the running game is attributed to

'I think it is not so subtle. We are more experienced. At this point last year they had played four games together, and now they have played all of the games last year, all of spring, all of the off-season, all of that. Having Deuce (Taitusi Lutui) moving to guard and Winston (Justice) coming back to tackle. Deuce (Taitusi Lutui) is a totally different player. He is really playing well, he has lost almost 50 pounds, he is a tremendous competitor, he is finishing his blocks down field. He is doing things he wasn't able to do last year. We know that Winston (Justice) is very capable at the tackle spot. We are sharper, more precise, we are more physical, we finish better, all of those things come with experience and growth. I also think the way things are going formation-wise, and scheme-wise is putting us in a better situation to be more accurate with the calls and more productive with the runs.'

On the feeling of coming from behind

'It is more dramatic, there is more tension longer. We didn't lead in that game until way late in the ball game. The exciting part is when you feel the shift occur. You can see it in our guys the way they were getting after it early in the third quarter. They could already sense it. The good part about it is the way we dealt with it, patiently and methodically went about getting back in command of the game. That surge that you feel, and that crescendo that you feel is really exciting. You can sense that something good is on the way. It is a lot of fun and it is exciting. The other side of it is that it strengthens your resolve about what we are all about. It is so obvious that if we get on track earlier we can be in that much better shape. Both of these games were exciting and fun and it was great to see it. We will benefit from them.'

On whether the ASU game was too close

'We needed everything that happened. We needed the turnovers, the big plays, the big runs we needed everything that happened in that game. It was a 10-point victory but it was closer then that. All of it contributed. One of the things was the energy on the sidelines was different in the second half then it was in the first half. The sense of urgency and the connectiveness that happened at halftime and the early part of the third quarter was a big factor. We got stronger as the game went on after playing in 100 degree weather. That is pretty exceptional. That is something that we take great pride in. We were stronger at the end of the game.

On wheter it is hard to develop that sense of urgency

'I think the opposite is the truth. I am not worried about if we are pumped up going into the games. I am worried about how we are executing when we are out there. We are missing some of the emphasis by doing it with all of the excitement and the energy, and sometimes that can throw you off. It is so finely tuned that anything can get you a little bit whacked and it happened to us. As much as I would like to tell you that the noise wasn't a factor, it was a factor. We moved on things on the line of scrimmage that we normally don't move at because they couldn't hear. We have to be better trained at that, and that is my job. I did not get these guys as well prepared as they needed to be for the fact that they couldn't hear at all. It isn't as much about the cadence but about the other things that can draw you. Once that started and they weren't sure what they were hearing or seeing, it compounded. It wasn't until we caught our breath and got a hold of it. We fought it for a little while.

If they will practice for the noise this week

'We will do it this week. It is a big enough factor that I can't wait until next week. Wednesday practice we will make it really loud. We will create more realistically what happened and prepare for that. It was really loud in the second half, too, and we were fine. It is a matter of how we deal with it and where our focus is. The crowd was roaring in the fourth quarter and we didn't have any problems.

On having more energy in the fourth quarter every week

'I wish I knew how to explain it to you, but I don't. I know it is there. It has existed for a long time for us. It didn't matter if it was hot, a nighttime game, or if it was cold. We have found that the way to have a tremendous surge is to finish games. I think it has become characteristic, which I love. I couldn't think of a characteristic I would be more proud of. When all else is happening in a game, we know we can finish strong and make things happen. It is a great attribute of a team. I am proud of that. There is no question that a lot of it is mental. We feel very strong about what we are able to do as we finish games. I think that has been developed over the years with hard work and in the off-season of the program. And the program that Chris Carlisle has put together for our guys about the importance of finishing, and I think that it is coming through. It has bled its way through the program. It isn't something that has happened in the past two weeks, it has happened over the past few years. We are doing something that we need to hold on to.

On John Walker

'It was a huge game for him. Johnny has to come to grips with what he is all about and learn who he is in these game situations because he doesn't have enough backlog to fall back on. He played well at Oregon. It didn't look like it because one play got away, but after that mistake he has played really good football. He played terrific football again. You can tell someone how they are capable, but they need to see it. In this case Johnny looks back and sees the film and realizes he was able to do the things he does in practice consistently. You can only be supportive and help him feel better about what he is capable of doing and hopefully he can build on that. After a great couple of games here he will have a great mental outlook of what he capable of doing. I know it is already developing. It is very important.

On how tight ends don't have many receptions

'It hasn't been necessary in the games yet for that to happen. I think Dominique (Byrd) had four balls. He is doing a nice job, he is blocking well, it just hasn't been a necessary part of the game. It is going to happen. We continue to make it a viable part of our game and a part that we are counting on. It will popup here whenever it is necessary. We have a lot in our gameplan that goes in that direction. I don't feel bad about it at all; I know he is probably a little bit frustrated by it. It will take its time; he will catch a lot of balls by the time the season is over.

On instant replay

'We wouldn't have it. We were very disappointed last week. They are doing the best that they can. That is what you have to live with. What is really distracting is that you are on the field just standing there. You are just standing around, and you are just waiting. It happened four times last week. That is not the way the game feels. We went over four hours last game. Maybe everybody else loves it. I don't.

What to fear about Arizona

'They have a very good defensive scheme. They give you problems. Mike Stoops has been a defensive guy for a long time and it shows. They play really hard, they tackle very well. They worked Cal over pretty well. All except for a scrambled bomb that they hit for a touchdown and one big run that got away from them. They had two big plays in the game last week, and they played very well other then that. They gave us problems last year. We struggled with them. The focus of their team is their defense and their aggressiveness.

If USC is more likely to start relying on a running game in the first half

'We have a formula; we have a philosophy that we are a 50-50 team. I don't want to go away from that. I just don't want to go off sides. When we make a 20-yard play, we make a 20-yard play instead of walking backwards. Right now we don't have to change anything other then fixing the mistakes that we are making. We threw the ball very effectively last week, and we took the things that came off of the running game, which is a beautiful way to throw the ball. We are just about 50-50 for the season and that is how I want to stay.'

On David Kirtman

'David has always done well. He has always done everything he has had a chance to do. He has always answered the call. Maybe just in our own outlook we have limited how much he could be a factor. If you give him a chance he is going to make something happen. We really had anticipated sharing time with Brandon (Hancock) but he was really sick in the first half so David had all of the calls and came through great. That was a huge game for him. It seemed like David was the only guy doing anything in the first half. It kept the thing moving a little bit.

On receivers having a tougher time

'We are playing a really good team. It hasn't been as wide open has it was in the first couple of weeks. We had some very easy touchdown plays in the first couple of weeks. To credit ASU and Oregon, they did a very nice job of not allowing those to happen. We are still looking, but they are doing a better job than the first couple of teams did.

On Oscar Lua

'He has taken over and embraced the opportunity. He is a tough guy, and that comes through when he is out there. The guys like him and they feel good about what he can do. He is 250 pounds when he hit he hits with a load. Lofa (Tatupu) played in the 220s. You can see that happen a couple of times. The great short yardage hit that he (Lua) had, two other great hits he had in this game in particular at the last scrimmage. Oscar is an all around physical athlete. He showed it again with pass coverage, getting his hand on the ball and picking a ball off. He is giving us the same kind of play that Lofa (Tatupu) had given us. Even with some of the physical stuff, more so. I am thrilled about it. He has come through the hard way and he has earned his opportunity and he is maximizing it. Now he has to keep working, because those guys are in there at his heels. He is doing a great job.

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