Head Coach Pete Carroll Discusses the Upcoming Game Against Notre Dame

Oct. 11, 2005

Pete Carroll

Opening Statement

'This is a wonderful opportunity. It is a great matchup for college football, for those former players from both schools that love this game, and for the fans. It is a beautiful opportunity for us to match it up. We are excited to be in this situation where we can draw this much attention and focus. It is a huge game for our program. It is a huge game for Notre Dame's program. I think it is interesting, the backgrounds of the head coaches... I know it is interesting to you that Charlie (Weis) and I have gone against each other in games in the past. This is about a bunch of kids that get to play in a great setting, in a great football game with memories to be made. We are thrilled about it. We are going to work really hard in practice to put together a great week. We take off on Thursday to take care of the travel. Those guys that are almost healthy are going to get healthy this week. I am sure for both teams everybody wants to be apart of this and be involved in it. I couldn't be more excited about the opportunity. I like our chances against Notre Dame. This is a fantastic and improved football team; the impact of the head coach is obvious. He has done a wonderful job to train their players to adapt to a new style of offense in 15 days of spring football and in the weeks of camp. To execute like they have is really a credit to their ability to teach, their philosophy and knowing what they want to do, because they can really put it together. The play of their quarterback is really emblematic of their philosophy and of their style. Brady Quinn is having a fantastic season. We have seen him for years; we have watched him grow up. He has always had games where he looked terrific but now he is just absolutely on the money. He is in control of his game and his team. There is a lot here with two winning football teams. It is everything we could have asked for.'

On special teams

'We are going to go back and fix our problems as we always do. We had some problems covering kickoffs, we missed some tackles. That has been our issue, covering kicks.'

On looking at first string guys for special teams

'We are working with some guys on the depth chart. We have been very young in our coverage teams, starting with the kicker. We have a couple of thoughts in mind, we will wait and see how they pan out when the decisions are made.'

On the difference Notre Dame's Head Coach Charlie Weis has made

'Their offense is really functioning at a high level. They can run the ball and throw the ball. They can protect very well. It is really a high efficiency offense. Their style of offense has always been very patient. They make first downs and move the sticks, and work their way down the field, much like New England has been doing over the years. It has been very effective, and it is the same offense. It is clear they have been able to get their thoughts across to their player, and they have been able to execute. They could easily be undefeated right now.'

On Notre Dame's sophisticated NFL-like offense

'They do a great variety of things. They do something in one game and you won't see it again for a couple of weeks. They execute them very well. The choices that they make and the things they implement in a gameplan are taxing and well designed, and they are able to do it well. In the NFL you get so familiar with your opponents you can't do the same thing week in and week out, people will catch up on you. Well they have brought that same concept. They have a broader spectrum of things that they do in their offensive game plan. The thing I am really impressed with is how well they can execute that. That is the reason why most teams don't do something like that, because you can't execute new things week in and week out. They do a wonderful job of coaching. This two-week opportunity for them really makes them dangerous.'

If looking at film will help

'It helps enormously. It is all that we have to go on. I do respect that we are going to see things that we haven't seen before. We have to be ready in a broad sense to handle and to adjust as the game goes on to figure out what they are going to do. We spent a lot of time, we have gone through a lot of history here to come to a point where we feel comfortable about the plan we are putting together. That has to encompass a lot of stuff.'

If Reggie is 100%

'We will have to wait and see when he gets to practice today. There is no damage at all to his knee, it is sore from getting banged on it, but he is going to practice today. We will ease him through the week until he is feeling 100%. He might feel 100% today. He is real encouraged, and I am not really concerned about it.'

Why the new offense works for Charlie Weis and not the many other teams that have tried it

'I think it has to be his command of what he has. He has to be a great teacher. You have to have the right stuff and in the right proportions, and you have to convey that to the coaches for one, and then to the players. Obviously he is running it and he has commanded the process of the teaching. This is a really good indication that a new coach can play. This is not the same football team; this is not the same offense. The players are the same but they are performing at a higher level because of the guy who is running the thing. I couldn't say enough positive things about how his abilities show what he is all about, early on. It makes for a great matchup. It makes for a very fun challenge, hopefully for both of us.'

On why Carroll decided against instant replay

'Its because they gave me a choice. Nothing went into it, they gave me a choice and I didn't want it. We had a chance to not have it so now we don't have it. I hope it doesn't come down to one of those replay situations.'

If their defense is as dynamic as their offense

'Rick Minter is a terrific defensive football coach. He was a great coordinator when he was at Notre Dame in the past. He carried the load as a defensive-oriented coach when he was the head coach of Cincinnati. He was brought up in the same background system that I was brought up in. He was at Arkansas with Monte Kiffin and we coached together at NC State. We were there together for three years. We have been friends and coaching buddies through the years. He has always been aggressive and effective, innovative and he does a lot of difficult stuff. They made a big jump because they put together a beautiful staff of their own.'

On the atmosphere at Notre Dame vs. USC

'It is a great stadium, it is very close. The student section is extraordinary. It is a beautiful football setting. To me the football stadium that is closed in and rolls up just like theirs does that is the way you picture it. Everybody is hanging over the field, the bench is close to the wall, you can't separate the fans from the game, and they are connected to it. That stadium has that, and of course it is very special. Of course it is very loud.'

How they are not going on a tour at Notre Dame as they did two years ago

'No, we are not going to do that again. We went earlier, we went to the hall of fame, and the grotto and we had a great time. It was more then we could do in that trip. I am glad we have done that before, to say we have done it, but we don't need to do that again.'

On the slow starts to the games

'I am concerned, I like to start smoothly and get rolling. If you look at it we had some terrific drives and some great starts on defense in the last games. In the course of the long drives we were faced with, we had a few turnovers that set us back. We fumbled and we threw the interception so we kind of stopped ourselves. Other then that we played some pretty good football. But that is what football is all about. That is why it works. You have penalties or you have turnovers. Those are the mistakes that keep you from playing at your level. When you play against good competition those can be factors that set the tempo of the game for you. That has happened to us in the past three weeks. Hopefully we can rid ourselves of that. I am not dwelling on it thinking that it is the kind of team we are. If anything it shows that we can finish. We just have to clean things up, play good football and do the best that we can.'

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