Pete Carroll Talks About Saturday's Game At Arizona

Sept. 19, 2006

Opening statement

'I thought the experience at the Coliseum was extraordinary. I thought it was an awesome display of our fans and excitement about the season. The people from Nebraska enhanced the general atmosphere. I thought it was unique and special and I was grateful our young kids got a chance with their first time in the Coliseum to see that and feel that from the Trojan Walk to the end...leaving the field. That was special. We have come a long way. We have come to a point where that's as good as it gets on a college football Saturday. We are proud and pleased to have that kind of experience with the advantage that our fans gives us to be so involved in the game and give us the edge that you love to have at your home stadium. That was really cool. Coming out of the game, we have a couple of issues about guys getting banged up. Of course, (fullback) Ryan Powdrell's injury has been taken care of in terms of his surgery. He is on the mend from this point forward, but we will miss him desperately. He was a terrific up-and-coming aspect of this club. It's a tough break for us and for Ryan. He is back in school and well. Other than that, we came out pretty healthy. We will try to get some guys mended this week and get a couple guys back who missed last week's game. We look forward to a really good matchup in Arizona this week. It's Pac-10 time. You know way back when we started to take a look at the schedule to get through these first two games with victories would have really helped this young football team be better prepared for the Pac-10 schedule and that's exactly what has happened. The road game at Arkansas was huge for come home, to play well and understand what it's like to play at home is very important for us. We will bank on both of those experiences as we work down through all the challenges of the schedule. We have come a long distance, we have a long way to go. We can tell that we have growth that will show up in a number of different areas. If we do well and we are on the mark with our preparation, we look forward to having a really strong team. I'm excited about the youth, speed and toughness. We are off and running and heading to Arizona.'

...on losing fullbacks Brandon Hancock and Ryan Powdrell for the season

'It's a great opportunity for our team philosophy to come through. We have a young kid, Stanley Havili, who has come here to play. We talked to Stanley during recruiting and not knowing what our situation would be with Ryan, that we needed him to come in with an attitude to play. Now with this opportunity, like Mike Brittingham who came into the game on Saturday, both players will have an opportunity to play. It's kind of a classic situation for us to go to one of the freshmen and I'm anxious to see how Stanley responds. We are going to count on him to be a factor this week. As of yesterday, he took a lot of reps in practice and was right in there. We are going to continue to develop him. Stanley was already involved in special teams this season and he did well in camp. He can do all of the things that a fullback needs to do. It's just a matter of getting him comfortable and enough time so he can get the gameplan squared away.'

...on status of tailback Michael Coleman

'He's not well. It's been a long, hard recovery. He came out of fall camp very sore. He's working with the trainers right now, trying to get well. Within a couple of weeks, we can get him active if he can respond. Right now, he's not quite well.'

...on Havili and Brittingham sharing the fullback position

'At this point, we will figure it out. How we will share that, I don't know just yet. Mike would start the game if we played today and Stanley would play as well. By the end of this week, it might be different. We are going to push hard for Stanley to take a lot of the reps and see how he would do. Mike is ahead assignment-wise and playing fast, that's why he was in the game on Saturday. That's a big aspect, also the pass catching. Pass protection is a big deal as well. Right now, we are going to work through the week and have those two guys share the spot.

...on constant competition unlike other programs

'We have always preached to these guys that they have the opportunity to compete for their spots when they are with us. When the new guys come in, we want to find out what we have. That means in spring football, for example, Antwine Perez started in all of the spring for us. When we came into fall camp, he had to stay behind some young guys that came in because we had seen him for 15 practices. We already had an evaluation on him and needed to gain information on the other players. That's how we do it, that's not to miss a championship kid that's in the wings somewhere that otherwise can get lost in the shuffle. We found over the years that our guys do respond to that approach. Our expectations are that they are going to play and we transfer that expectation to them through the process and preparation so they come in with the mindset that they are coming in to play and not `I'm coming in to see what happens'...I'm coming in to redshirt. They accept that role. I think it works for us, it has worked consistently. If a guy believes he's a backup, it's going to be hard to elevate him past that. If we expect him to contribute in a big way, we are finding out that it works. That's why I'm talking the way I am about Stanley. I don't have any reservation about him playing. I think he is going to play well and he has already shown that during practice.'

...on impact of Powdrell's injury on the running game

'It was a shocking injury and it did affect us. I don't think we responded to get back to the point where we were before the game started...I think in time we got back to it. I don't want to put all of it on that incident because that isn't the case. But I did think it was a shocking moment. Our guys love Ryan and felt for him. I think we responded. That's not why we took a long time in getting our running game going. I think the next series of plays, it affected all of those guys.'

...on offensive line's play against Nebraska

'I would like to take some credit for the fact that we didn't do as well as we could have done. We missed some calls, missed some stuff with a couple of things here and there. Nebraska has a very strong front. That's a really physical group. They played hard and tough. They are experienced and well-coached. They get credit too, they get a say in that. All in all, we did about the same we did in Arkansas. We are still in the process of building it. It was a good test for us. It was a good, physical style of defense...different than Arkansas that played with speed and quickness.'

...on USC's quarterback hand signals being announced on television

'Once it's said, there is nothing you can do about it. I am sure that they were not watching the broadcast at the time (room laughing), I'm sure of that. It's just something that happened. I'm not worried about it. It's such an incidental little thing. There are plenty of signals.'

...on youth of the defense

'This is a very young, exciting defense. These guys have a real feel about playing with each other because they share this competitive spirit. It's very tough and physical group and you put it together with the speed and athleticism, it's a group that we can look forward to some great days. I don't think we have arrived, I don't think there is any statement to be made yet. We just have a bunch of young, hard-playing guys who can get after it. We are going to get better. They are just starting to feel it out. I like that a lot of guys are playing, getting big rotations of guys contributing...not just one or two guys leading the charge. It's a team defense that has a real chance to improve. Nebraska decided to run the ball at us, try to run the clock and keep our offense off the field and our guys responded. They allowed 1.9 yards per carry and they were determined to run the football...I was really fired up about that. We didn't take the ball away from them, we had our chances and that was the big factor in that game. It shows how explosive our offense was in that game, we didn't contribute to it defensively.'

...on freshman safety Taylor Mays

'He played a really good football game. He was on the mark with his assignments, always at the right place. He had his chances and made his tackles. He had a good game because of that style of was one that was a good first game for him. I said if he could just survive the game and we didn't know he was out there, he would have done well. That's good. Now, he will just continue to grow. He's a very unique kid. He's responsible and resourceful about applying himself and it's taking him beyond where most other kids would be at this time. He has applied himself so well to be a contributor. We are very fortunate. It was fortunate that Kevin (Ellison) was able to play with him. Kevin is a very bright kid. They are almost two peas in a pod in the way that they approach the game and how important it is. Kevin's assistance was a big factor in allowing Taylor to relax with the burden of making calls.'

...on freshman tailback Emmanuel Moody

'We are all fired up about getting him the ball, he's averaging eight yards a carry. We love to see that kind of explosive guy that can make some big plays so we need to get it to him. Unfortunately, the more we get it to him that number will probably go down. We are holding out hope that he is going to give us a lot of special plays. I think C.J. (Gable) has done well. Chauncey (Washington) practiced on Monday so we are looking forward to him having his best week. He's getting better. The balance of Chauncey the way he does it and what he brings to the game gives us a good rotation along with Emmanuel and C.J. I think we can see in that game (Nebraska) that there were some special runs by Emmanuel in that game alone. He made people miss, he was explosive, he finished runs and broke tackles. He made some things happen that were unique.'

...on process of rotating freshmen like Moody and Gable

'We are just rotating them. We are gathering information. We like what they have both brought to the team in camp. They have really seized the opportunity. We are still trying to find out how much to give these guys the ball and the style of runs. We know more about these guys than we knew before. It was a hard game early on because we didn't get many carries. By the fourth quarter, those guys really started to show up. We just rotated them in the last sequence to keep bringing it against Nebraska and see what we could learn. Emmanuel was a little more special in his ability to get open and find some space. That's where we are and it's turning out fine. All the worries about not knowing who the number one guy is that everyone else has, it has not bothered us one bit. We are doing fine with it. We are getting closer to have enough information on these guys.'

...on freshman Allen Bradford

'I think Emmanuel and C.J. benefited from being at the position (tailback) longer than Allen has. I think when you miss the early part of the installation when you really have time to teach the new kids about defensive alignments and principles, some of that stuff gets washed over. Allen wasn't afforded the same base installation as the other kids and because of that, he has not been able to stay ahead. He's a very talented kid and is going to be a very good football player. I don't believe to any extent that he is out of the competition at all. He would be playing more as Chauncey would be playing, we kind of fit those two guys into the same pattern and mold. We fit C.J. and Emmanuel in the other mold. That's an early definition of roles that we don't have a lot of information on as of yet.'

...on Arizona head coach Mike Stoops

'He's had an obvious impact on the program. He's an upbeat, aggressive and tough defensive-minded guy that has a real attitude about what he thinks about the game and his players have taken that on. You saw that in his first year. They played with great intensity and I don't think it got interpreted as much in wins, but you could tell they are a force to be reckoned with and they are coming on. They won three games last year and they have already won two games this year. They are in good shape for making a big improvement on their season. He is very upbeat and optimistic about this year's team. They have a great opportunity to make a big statement if they can get us. This is one of those great opportunities that a young team gets. He has had a big impact. In recruiting, he has done a very good job. They do it with hard work and intensity. That's who Mike is as far as I know. I think it's a clear illustration of him having a huge impact on the program.'

...on Arizona quarterback Willie Tuitama

'He is a very, well-equipped kid. He's a big, strong-armed guy. We have seen him in high school and in camps. We know Willie well and I have known his family forever. This is a good, all-around athlete. He had a big role in their finish to the season when they started to move the ball very well, he had a big game against UCLA and put a lot of yards in the books. They have a wide-open offense. They throw the ball all over the field. He is a classic, pocket-type of guy. I think they have great hopes that he is going to carry the program to be the guy for a long time. He has really good skill guys to go to and he has had a nice start to getting good kids around him.'

...on defense going to 3-4 formation

'We are predominantly in that position with four linebackers on the field considering that Brian Cushing is a linebacker. Brian plays the role as the 'elephant' in that we move him around a lot. He has the opportunity in that role to do a lot of stuff in terms of rushing the passer and being a focal point guy in positioning on the run. He is an excellent pursuit player that gets to chase from the backside a lot and he is a good cover guy. We are in that mode a lot. When we are in third-down situations, we use Keith Rivers in that to spell Brian and some of the time, we will use the classic 4-3 and that will change from game to game.'

...on regaining team focus after a severe injury

'You are always going to get a sense of the players on the field that something bad has happened. I went out on the field to get our guys away from just staring at (Ryan Powdrell) with the scene they were looking at. One of our doctors went out there and set his foot right away which was helpful to everyone who was watching at the time. We got our kids to the sideline and Ryan was in shock. I wasn't going to be able to help him much, so I went back to the team and really tried to capture their focus and talk to them about it while we had some time. It's a little bit of trying to jerk them into going into that direction. Our guys are so close and care so much about each other that it's only natural that it's going to affect them and it should affect them. They have to deal with it. We went back to the focus at hand. We were facing a difficult fourth-down situation.'

...on linebacker Oscar Lua

'He ran around a bit yesterday. He will practice today and see how he does. He really hasn't run with a full burst yet. I assume from the way that he is reacting that he will be available to us this week.'

...on linebacker Rey Maualuga's play against Nebraska

'Rey played very well. He did a really good job of running the defense. We had some difficult situations and multiple formations they were running at us and Rey did a good job handling all of that. He was very impressive, active and productive. We were pleased at his response in getting his first start. He was a big factor.'

...on biggest challenge coming from Arizona

'They have played us well. With their style of play, they don't take a lot of chances and put themselves in bad positions. They force you to execute. They are very well-schemed defensively. It's like Nebraska where they position themselves in spots where they are always going to be in the right place. That means they are not going to give you anything and I think that's what a good football team does, they make you earn your way. Strictly talking about the way they set up their defense, we gained a lot of yards on them last year but we didn't have a lot of points. They made us work really hard. They are very well-coached and that goes across the board. It will come down to getting the football. If they can hang onto the football and play with good scheming and the way they position their guys, that slows the game down. It makes it hard to score on people. They are not going to give a lot, we really have to go out there and earn our way.'

...on Nebraska continuing to run the ball despite trailing in the game

'I was surprised by that, surprised they felt that's the way they had to go. In their defense, they did a great job of not turning the football over. They weren't penalized a lot, they didn't put themselves in bad situations. They had a chance if we would make the mistakes that a team makes when they lose, they were in position to capitalize on it. Fortunately, we played a good football game in that regard. We didn't give the football up. A couple of times that we did that, the defense responded and took the ball in forcing a field goal or kept them out of field goal range. That was a game that as it wore down, had we made a critical error...they would have been within striking distance. I think that must have been the way they tried to play it and fortunately, we didn't give them that. That was a well-designed approach.'

...on quarterback John David Booty

'John David played excellent football. He took off from the last game and kept going. I think that's what he does at practice every day. He's rock solid and throws the ball right to guys as I always said to you. He is very poised and calm. The factor of coming home and how he would handle 92,000 at the Coliseum...he handled it famously, he was beautiful. He had no problem and enjoyed the heck out of the game. His numbers were almost identical to what they were the week before and he has given us a tremendous amount. Later in the game after he missed that long pass to Steve Smith, there was a sequence where we had a time out and he came over and threw back his head and kind of like `gosh' and I knew exactly what he was referring to...10 plays later, he was still mad about the fact that he had missed Stevie on the deep ball. After the game, he was still kicking the ground. He is a competitor and wants to do great. One of these days, he will throw for a ton of yards. His efficiency is excellent at this point and is giving us everything we need. He is giving us leadership. I think his calm on the field is helping the young running backs coming in and out of the lineup. He is rock solid. He is firm with them when they make a mistake when he has to correct a position. He is firm as a quarterback should be and I think he is doing really well. I could not be more pleased.'

...on not having a game plan around one offensive player

'It will be like always. We don't emphasize anyone necessarily. We have our stuff and things we are going to do and the game usually takes shape. We do have a tendency to go with who we think is hot and you saw us go to Dwayne and Steve. The calls were there and they had their chances and they came through, John David was hitting them. We are not going to do anything differently in that regard.'

...on kickoff return team

'We are going to give C.J. Gable a shot back there. We are anxious to see how he does during the week and we will make a decision. He has been the backup and Cary (Harris) is playing a ton of plays now. In the first game, Cary was sharing time and now that he is playing every play, I think it warrants that we at least investigate what C.J. looks like back there and see what we do with that.'

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