Pete Carroll, Bill Doba Discuss Saturday's Game At Washington State

Sept. 26, 2006

Opening statement

For our second Pac-10 game on the road again going up north and looking forward to a really big challenge from Washington State. They have a lot of good things going on in the football team. I know they're a little banged up as coach Doba was saying up front. They've got skill guys and a defense that's been making plays and doing things and causing problems. We know that it's a difficult place to play always up there and it's an unusual trip with the travel and all. So we've got to make sure that we keep our focus and get going and get this thing back in order. We have a couple issues this week with some guys banged up that are different than what we've had. We look forward to some guys stepping into this opportunity particularly with Dwayne (Jarrett) being banged up if he doesn't make the game, but he's not giving up all that yet. Patrick Turner is going to be positioned in a role of big significance for us. We continue to try to develop a running game with the young guys. I'm really hoping that Chauncey (Washington) is back and ready to go with a great week, a solid week of preparation...better than he's had and he can really do what he's capable of doing up to this point. Chauncey's just trying to get out there on the field and right now, we feel like he's got a chance to be a big factor. Lot of things are still moving and changing and we're expecting to improve in a number of areas. We're going to have to play a really good ball game to get these guys. Their QB Alex Brink has been around for a while. He's run their offenses like all their terrific QBs have in the past. He reminds you of Jason Gesser in the style and the way that he can create. He's resourceful, he runs and moves and all that...knows their scheme really well as coach was talking about and you can see it. They've got very good guys to go to and we'll see a very different style of offense than what we've seen in the first three weeks. This is a classic Pac-10, wide-open, spread the field offense and has great success over the years and nobody's really slowed them down. So we're hoping we can find some ways to do that and give ourselves a chance to win. So we look forward to it--Pac-10 time again and we're always pumped up about that.

On Dwayne Jarrett's injury
Dwayne's got a left shoulder sprain. It's one that you come back from when you can tolerate it. He's going try to get it done. I don't know if he will or not. He didn't practice yesterday and he won't practice today. We just don't know how long that's going to last, could be a couple of weeks. (Fullback) Stanley Havili is out with a broken fibula. From there, we're looking for guys who are coming and going, not sure who's going to make it back. Kevin Thomas is trying to make it back. All of the guys we've been concerned about are basically at full speed. Jeff Byers is still banged up and we're not sure if he's going to make it. Sedrick Ellis is going do a little bit of running here tomorrow. We'll find out where he is. He's got a chance to make it back and certainly should make it back the following week. We're kind of coming and going. They're going both directions for a little bit. But we're not in too bad of shape and we're thinking that we're going to get stronger in the next couple of weeks as a couple of kids return.

On the fullback situation
Mike Brittingham is going to play there and Jody Adewale will play there. Mike's played a lot more the last two games than Wall. So we're going to go with him and he'll start at fullback. Jody will step up. This is his opportunity now to get some playing time. He's been with us a while and knows the system, is a real good receiver. He's done well all the time, now it's his turn. We look forward to him stepping up. Other than that, there's no major shifts or changes that you might be asking about or I might be revealing at this time.

On Dwayne Jarrett's possibility of playing this week
I'm not ruling him out. He's not ruling himself out. I think that the trainers will be surprised. He's got exactly the right attitude for getting back.

On Luthur Brown at fullback
It was just an experiment. Just to check him out and see what he looked like and see how comfortable he was. Just to get some information for us. It's going to be a long haul for him to catch up. Sometimes guys, you know he played fullback in high school so we stuck him in there to get a couple looks. It's going to be a long project for him to make it. We almost have to luck out that this time for a guy to transfer to the other side of the ball and really fit in. If we had to later on, we'd come back to Luthur is what we thought.

On Patrick Turner
I'm excited for Patrick to play and have this responsibility. He's done everything you can do to get ready. He's had a great off seasons, a great freshman year, breaking into the offense. He's in great shape, he's fast, strong, at 6'5', he looks great. We love him and we're excited for him to have this opportunity. I think he's going to do a great job. We're not going to hesitate to go to him at all.

On Sedrick Ellis playing this week
He's going to run tomorrow and we'll find out how he does in the next couple days. I talked to Sed and we're holding a good thought and we'll see what happens. We don't really know but the rehab has gone perfectly for him and he's in great shape to come back as soon as possible. Like I said, he'll be back this week barring any kind of setbacks for sure.

On Fred Davis' role in the offense
He's had twelve balls in the first three games. He's off to a great start at the tight end spot. We love going to him. We don't know how that works out - it depends on the game. He's always involved. He's always got a lot of opportunities in a game plan, the tight end does. If it's working out right, Freddy could end up with six or seven passes coming his way. It just depends.

On comparing this defense to defenses from years past
I think it's too early. I don't think I can tell yet. What I'm excited about with this defense is their attitude. They're very aggressive, very physical and play very fast. There are a number of players that bring a terrific attitude, defensive style that you really like to coach. You can't ask for more attitude out of guys like Cushing, Maualuga, Kevin Ellison, Terrell Thomas, and Lawrence Jackson and Ellis. That's a lot of names. Fili Moala is really coming to life and Chris Barrett played his best game ever. Dallas Sartz is the leader of that group. There are a lot of guys who bring a really good attitude and really love to play together. They're just finding it out. It's just being unveiled to us as we go week to week. This is a very exciting time and they also have a sense for how young they are. There's a long haul over the years they have to play together and we're just starting this thing and building it and there's a lot of upside.

Comparing 2003 offense to 2006 offense
I think everybody was surprised. It's hard for us to project back a couple of years. Everybody compares right back to the two Heisman guys in the backfield and all that kind of stuff and there's always the build up to make that offense what it was last year. You got back to compare in 2003 and check out what Leinart was doing at this time and what Reggie was doing at this time. Reggie wasn't even on the map yet. We've done extensive studies to make sure we know. We want to know the truth of what's going on. We're ahead in rushing yards, we're ahead in passing yards, we're ahead in efficiency, time of possession, turnovers, everything. All of the critical stats and that's really positive and it's important for our team to know that because they have a sense that they're not living up to expectations which I love. But we do need to know what the truth is. We have a chance here to have a very good offense, bringing some guys along a little faster. Our experience in 2003 has allowed us to emphasize the freshman even more. We learned a lot that year and at this time, Emmanuel is getting seven yards a carry and he's ahead of where the other young guys were at this time. That's because we realized that we could have shoved those guys ahead a little faster too as we look back. We're positive and upbeat about it and I love our third-down efficiency, I love our red-zone stuff. The things that really mark an efficient quarterback has always been third-down and red-zone and John David is doing a great job in those situations. We just need to strike a little bit from a little farther out and when that happens, I think we'll be really in good order. I think also, it's really important for Chauncey to come back and be a big factor. When we have been at our best offensively, we have always had an aggressive running tailback, a guy that can brings it down hill. Sunny Byrd started it, Fargas was the next up and then Lendale took over. And now we need Chauncey to fit the bill in that regard and so we`re really asking for a big contribution from him in the next few weeks and I think it will make a difference in our style.

On Emmanuel Moody and possibility of fumbles
I'm glad you brought that up. We're on this as much as anybody. We're trying to figure out every way to emphasize ball security and taking care of the football. We've sold our soul to be a great turnover football team every year we've been here. When you have young guys, the lessons have to be accelerated and I think he was a little loose with the ball last week too but he's done a great job. He hasn't given it up yet and he's done a nice job. We're hoping that he'll continue to extend his conscience, which is really what this is about--your conscience about how tentative you have to be to take care of the football. He's done a great job so far. We've had one ball knocked out that we've lost and that was a very good strip by the guy from Arizona. He punched right at the football, hit right on the money and got it and we didn't take care of it well enough. We'll continue to emphasize that in every way we can and I'm excited about what he's doing right now. He's doing a great job for us. He's really given us everything we ask for. In this game in particular, we wanted to get him the ball 20 times just to see if he could break some runs and we got 21 times and he broke a couple runs. He's very explosive at the point of attack. He's got great quickness and suddenness about him. There was a couple times in the game last week when you thought he was down and done for and he comes out and gets four or five or six tough yards at the end of a run. He's got a real nice finish ability to his style that will allow him to break some runs when other people think they got him down and gives him a second chance at some yards. It's very positive so far--nothing but good stuff for Emmanuel.

On Washington State DE Mkristo Bruce
Well, he only rushed over one guy at a time. And that tackle, he wore out on both sides. It seemed like he had more than five sacks. He was so much of a factor in that game. They couldn't slow him down. Most of it was straight pass rushing at the tackle. He ran right, broke the edge down and hammered the quarterback. He looks bigger than he weighs. He's 6'7', under 250 lbs. but he looks like he's 280 lbs. or something when he plays because he's looks so powerful. He's a very substantial force in their attack and we better take care of this guy. I hope he'll line up on Sammy a lot because it'd be a good match up for him but I think they'll move him all around and make it hard for us to find out where he is. It will be exciting to see if we can hold him out of there.

Thought on play in the trenches on both sides of the ball
We've had a lot of success defensively in the running game. If there's a stat we're behind on, it's sacks at this time compared to the years we've looked at. But we've been effective with our pass rush. We haven't seen a lot of throwing. We haven't seen a good emphasis in a throwing game. But we're about to get inundated with it in the Pac-10 here. On the other side of the ball, I think we're protecting the passer very well and we're growing as a running team. I think it fits together with the running backs and the newness and all of that. I think we're on the verge of where we really feel good about our guys up front. They know what they're doing, they're well versed and we're getting more aggressive and I think we're going to be more effective as the running backs fit well with the blocking schemes. I think we're going to be all right. I think we're going to see a lot of improvement. I think we can get quite a bit better. The average per rush should get better and we should be able to break some more runs here in time.

Assessment of John David Booty's performance
There aren't very many negatives. There aren't very many cons looking at John David's performance so far, other than he's been about an inch off on three or four passes that would have given him another 150 or 200 yards in passing. We just missed Fred Davis. We just missed Steve Smith on the sidelines the other night. We missed Steve big time against Nebraska, which was about a 60 or 70-yard play. Those are plays that we had grown accustomed to getting when we get guys in that kind of clear. That's because Matt's experienced and he did that for three years. He was able to benefit from the opportunities. We've missed those opportunities. That's the only thing. Our third down efficiency is at 60%, he's 66% completions, he threw an interception only because the guy fell down. He's managed the game. He did a really good job last week with a good crowd again like at Arkansas and he changed plays a number of times at the line of scrimmage and did it successfully. I have no hesitation and no reluctance at all to call on John to do everything we've ever asked our quarterbacks to do. I don't see any reason to think otherwise. He's practicing really well and he studies well and we have great confidence in him.

On whether good touch on passing can be taught or comes with experience
Certainly, guys can learn. But obviously, some guys have more feel for it than others. John David totally has it. He throws the ball so accurately day after day in practice. We're talking about three throws and Steve was out of bounds by an inch and the ball went through Freddy's hands and he just about had that one and we missed one big one a week ago. I'm not worried about this. We need to get our plays and get our guys open. But he does it every day in practice and that's the best indicator that he can get it done.

On defensive intensity and where it comes from
I think--just the individual kids that are part of this thing. It's always the make up total of what they bring and they're just exceptional kids. They're very tough, very physical, very relentless type of competitors and they're just what you're looking for. You can't ask for a guy to be more well versed athletically than Rey is at his spot. And you can't ask for a whole lot more from Brian Cushing. But to take it to another level, they have this tremendous competitiveness about them. They're just so physical and they're fast. Those combinations just make for really ferocious football players. Thomas Williams adds to that. Kaluka Maiava adds to that. I've got ten or eleven guys that I can name that we really are excited about when they're in there. Oscar Lua is a tremendous competitor and a very physical, tough kid. All of those kids really bring it. They've come out of their shells a little bit--the young guys. Both Rey and Cush were freshman and Kaluka was a freshman and they were reluctant to come out of their shell and there's nothing holding these kids back now. If we continue to coach them well and put them in good spots, they're going to make things happen. We didn't do a lot of fancy things in this game this week at all. We didn't get to a lot of pressuring and blitzing. Lawrence Jackson had a terrific game just being in the mix and being around the football just in our base stuff. Rey made a bunch of plays just in our base calls. That's a good sign. We don't have to create for them. They can create within the scheme and that's a lot of positives. I think we're just scratching the surface right now and just getting going.

On Rey Maualuga
He's so fast, so sudden and he's just getting going. He has so much upside. To see the physical side of his play and then to see the finesse play on the interception to keep that ball off the ground, that's a wide range of ability. The pass rush he had on the back that picked him up two different times, one time he finessed him, and the other time, he ran right over him and hit the quarterback I think of Chris Barrett's sack. He has a tremendous range of abilities just making those plays so we have very high standards for Rey and he can contribute and he's just getting going. He's just a pup, just learning what's going on here.

On team's relentlessness
I think there are two things that we're really proud of. For years, we've finished really well and we've got a tremendously well-conditioned football team and a team that's stronger at the end of the games. In the first three games, all three of these games, we've finished going up and moving up. I've always attributed that aspect of our character and our nature to what (conditioning coach) Chris (Carlisle) has done with our guys in the off-season. They just have a tremendous finishing ability that we've relied on for years. The other side of it, I think you're seeing that Nick has really brought something also. I think Nick Holt and Kenny have done a fantastic job attitude wise with these guys up front. Dave Watson too--you talk about relentless players, these are relentless coaches. These guys will wear you out and they're getting it from the players so far. I think one of the special things about good defenses is their attitude. We have a blossoming attitude that could be pretty special someday. We haven't done much yet. We're just getting going but it's exciting. There's a lot of hope that we can continue to improve.

On depth
Well, I don't want to make it sound like it's an unfair advantage but we're very fortunate that Kaluka and Keith Rivers are playing great football off the bench. Thomas Williams and Oscar and those guys come flying in there, and Luthur Brown. That's really good quality depth as we've said at the linebacker spot. Those guys are all in the mix and all on the verge of jumping in. That helps us and it keeps us fresh. The other part, we only played about 40 plays last game so you ought to be fresh throughout the whole game when you do that. That could help us again this week if we're not piling up a lot of plays for that defense.

On loss of offense affecting the team
I don't think so at all. Time of possession, we're at about 39 minutes or something like that. We're way up on time of possession and our first downs are way up there. I think we're pretty highly ranked nationally on our first down totals. That is attributed to consistency and not turning the ball over and third down efficiency. It just has been interpreted in our points yet, but I'm hoping that it will. I think it's from turnovers. I go back to the first game and the illustration of five turnovers in the game puts the field position totally in the hands of the offense. As soon as we turn the ball over on the nine-yard line, we rammed it right into the end zone. We didn't have to work our way there, we just knocked it down in there and we've done that in the past and we need to get our hands on the football more defensively. We need more turnovers and we need more activity to really be playing effective for our team.

On rule changes regarding clock-starting
It's relative. It's not that big a deal. It's making a difference. I think somebody did the stats. It's 8 or 9 plays to 12 plays is where we've heard is the range. I don't want these games to end in a hurry. I'd rather play and stay out there as long as we can. We only get to play 12 or 13 year you know. The longer the better, but if we could turn it, I'd vote for turn it.

On former Trojan Mike Patterson's fumble recovery for a touchdown for the Philadelphia Eagles
The first highlight we showed in the meeting yesterday was Mikey's run. That was awesome. I had a ball watching him and he looked pretty good. He had pretty good strides. Sometimes those big guys don't look that good for 90 yards. He finished strong. Way to go Chris. Nice going--you take credit for him too.

On Matt Leinart with the Arizona Cardinals
If (Matt ends up starting on Sunday) comes true, that's awesome. We didn't talk to Matt last night, but we were all kind of giddy about that...hoping that that would happen and he'd get that chance. Another thing--what an extraordinary night of football to watch the Saints last night. The emotional display and whatever went on, and to have Reggie Bush right in the middle of it all and just trying his hardest to do something. He wanted so badly to break something as the fans wanted him to. That was an event. It was a memorable event. It was Monday Night Football but more so just for the whole area of New Orleans and all. Just to see the excitement, not just because they're playing football but they're winning too. The Saints are 3-0, man. It's nice to see things come together like that in such a special way for the people who need that boost.

Washington State Head Coach Bill Doba

General Comments
Well, we've been on the road against lesser teams. I'll be honest with you. I thought Auburn played very well. We played well at times, but we just didn't make big plays when we needed to. We gave up five big plays. Three of those were mental errors and assignment errors. Those are things that we could correct. We happened to hit Idaho off-stride and in surprise. I think the trip down to Auburn helped us prepare for Idaho. If we had played a I-AA opponent, I don't think we would have done as well against Idaho but I think it's a good wake-up call for our kids. The Auburn trip, their fans and people were first class and treated us with dignity and respect until we got on the field and then they kicked our butt. But ya'll come back now, ya hear? It was a good trip and a first class organization. Baylor was better defensively than I thought they were and I thought they tired in the 4th quarter. I think we kind of out-conditioned them and of course, we kicked a field goal right at the end of the game. Last week, I thought we just hit Stanford at the right time. It was a very frustrating game. The first quarter, I think we had the ball 13 minutes and 30 seconds to their minute and thirty seconds and 180 yards to two yards and the score was two to nothing. We kept shooting ourselves in the foot. Those are things that bother me and those are things that we cannot do against a quality opponent like SC.

On DE Mkristo Bruce
I'll tell you a couple things. One, he was a quarterback and strong safety in high school so he has some athleticism. He's about 260 pounds, but he's a blue-collar kid and he really works at his skill. He really works at his hands, his hand placement, his maneuvers and he's coached very well by Robb Akey, who works with our defensive ends and is our defensive coordinator. We work at it every day. We have a pass rush drill everyday. He's a kid who loves the process. He loves to come to practice. He's very positive and enthusiastic and he just works hard as a trait.

On the play of QB Alex Brink
He can play better. He could play a lot worse too. Alex is very intelligent. He puts us in the right play. We'll call a play and if the defense isn't what he needs to see, he has the ability to make the right change, to make the change to the best play possible. He's throwing at about 60%, 61%. He's not losing games and that's the key for him I think. This week, if we can not shoot ourselves in the foot then we always have a chance.

On wide receivers
Michael Bumpus was a kid that was originally going to go to USC and I don't know what happened. I think they took Jarrett instead and I can't say I blame them. He's a pretty good player too. But Bump has been great for us. He's our punt returner, he got great hands, real soft hands and he has the ability to find that little seam and get open and he'll catch it in traffic. Jason Hill is probably our number one draft choice if we have a draft choice. He's pressing just a little bit. If it's possible, he's trying just a little bit too hard. I talked to him this week and I said to just relax and have fun and play football and you can't think about the draft and the stats and all that kind of stuff. He's one of our captains, he's a great team player. Jed Collins scored a touchdown, and the first guy there was Jason Hill patting him on the back and getting really excited. And Jason was open on that play. He's just a quality kid. He's going to graduate in three and a half years. He's an excellent student-athlete.

On the USC team
I see too much. Not only are they very talented. I think they've had the top recruiting class or the top one or two in the nation for the last four or five years but they are very well coached. We watch their offensive line and it looks like a chorus line. They all step on a zone play in the same step. They come up, they keep their shoulders parallel to the line of scrimmage, and they get down hill in a hurry. Defensively, I think they're better than they were a year ago on defense. Maualuga has got my vote for All-American right now. He can run, 6'3', 250 and he's a super linebacker I think. The linebacking corps is scary to be honest with you. We're a little nicked up in the offensive line and that's where it concerns me the most. I don't know if Dwayne Jarrett is going to play or not but that's a big loss to them. He's become Booty's favorite target and he'd mine too if I were a quarterback, but Fred Davis does a heck of a job. It looks like those two have hooked up. Steve Smith is also an excellent receiver. If they do lose Jarrett for this game, it's not like they lose their whole offense. They've got two great running backs. I like (Emmanuel) Moody. I think he's really coming on and Washington hurt us last year if I remember correctly. There's a reason they're ranked #2 in the nation and I'm not so sure they shouldn't be ranked #1.

On possibility of a capacity crowd
I think so. It looks like it's going to sell-out. There's 300 or 400 tickets. I've had that many phone calls. I think I could give away that many tickets. I'm sure it will be near capacity if not sold out.

On USC defense
I knew they lost some good kids last year but I knew they had a lot of kids coming back. I think they've got to be one of the best defenses in the country. Defenses win championships. The last championship they won, they talked all about Leinart and Bush and everything but when they went down to that bowl game, that defense just manhandled them. Their D-Line that year I thought was the best D-Line I'd seen in years. They've done a nice job of mixing up the different fronts and stunts, their zone blitzes but I think the linebacker corps is just really exceptional.

On status of the Cougar offensive line
Bob Bird will not be there. Derek Hunter will be a backup and what we've done is move Sean O'Connor out to left tackle. The left guard will be Dan Rowlands. He was hurt and played sparingly last week but he should be okay this week. We lost Josh Duin, our center in the Stanford game and Kenny Alfred will move up to the center position. And he's a red shirt freshman. And then we've got Andy Roof back, which is a big help to us. He'll be the right guard. And then Harris will be our right tackle. If we get anybody hurt, you're playing. We'll be okay. We've got Jacob McKinney as a backup and Hunter's a back up in there. Coach (George) Yarno does a super job of teaching and every offensive lineman knows every position. As they spend more hours and more time than anybody. It's the toughest position to learn on any football team. We're a little thin there. We've had a few inordinate amount of injuries and you know, the years that we've been good, the offensive line ahs been the same the whole year through. It's a concern of mine and we're going to have to shore it up and do some things to try to help them out.

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