Carroll, Willingham Talk About Saturday's Game At The Coliseum
Oct. 3, 2006
Press Conference Quotes
Pete Carroll--Head Coach, USC Trojans
We're cranked up about coming back home. The start of the season has felt like a road trip. It's great to have the opportunity to finally get back. We have a couple of weeks to look forward to, being here at the Coliseum and playing in our setting. It's a big deal to us. We haven't talked about the fact that we were going on the road for a long time or any of that kind of stuff. We just kind of let it happen. The fact that we are coming back is important and I'm glad that we're in the position that we're in--fortunate, I think, to be 4-0 right now but excited about our chances to improve particularly with the opportunity to play at home. Washington is a vastly improved football program. They have benefited from the transition that they've had to go through. They are playing extremely well in all phases. They're a confident team. They look like they've been together a long time. They look like they have been a successful team for a while, that they have a sense about the way they are handling their games where they're playing with confidence and doing a good job. They have got to be really pumped up about their season and as I'm sure you're noting, they're really pumped up about the opportunity to play SC at this time and hopefully, we'll be able to meet that challenge. Their team is highlighted with a fantastic player at quarterback. Isaiah Stanback is a great player and we've watched him grow up through the years. He's been through some hard times and he's benefited from the lessons and all he's learned and he's played very well with his team. He's as good a big time threat as we're going to face all season. In the style of offense that they feature him, he's the whole show. Run and pass, the ball is in his hands all the time. They've developed a very good running game along with him to make this a very formidable offensive attack and one that we're going to get checked out on. This is a great opportunity for them to make a statement. It's a great opportunity for us to come home and get settled in on this short home stand that we're getting and see if we can do something special with this opportunity.
On the wide receiver situation and where freshman Vidal Hazelton fits in
With Chris McFoy being banged up, it just calls on the necessity for Vidal Hazelton and Travon Patterson to step up. They've got to grow up real fast. A week ago, we knew that they were going to have to be involved a lot more. We really increased their focus and their attention and the reps that they were getting at practice with the thought that we may have to call on them soon and sure enough, here it is. These guys are kind of in the mode already to get more playing time and to have higher expectations for them so hopefully, they'll progress and they'll answer the call like our guys have in the past. We're fortunate that we've got one of the fastest guys on our team, Travon, stepping up. We have Vidal Hazelton, who has done a lot of great things for us in camp. We haven't seen much of him in the games, but he's had his opportunities. He's a very talented football player. Now they have to do right. They have to do things in the right manner, and play good, sharp football and if they do that, then they'll contribute for us in a big way for us.
On concerns from the Washington State game
We didn't do some things that we thought we would be able to get done in the game. We thought we'd cover them down better than we did. They were throwing and catching better than we expected them to. I think for them to run the ball like they did with the way they spread you out, that sometimes happens. I'm not as concerned about that as I was about some situations that happened in the past and these really were things that we could have stopped that we didn't stop. That got away from us a little bit. We've already made the adjustments and we did fine at practice with the exact same situations and things that we wanted to correct... stuff that could have been corrected and we didn't quite catch up with it in the game. I'm disappointed in that. More disappointed than concerned--that should have been something we could have fixed on the field.
On wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett
He's going to practice today. He's going to run around and catch some balls and see how far he can go and then the doctors will assess where he is after that. He feels tremendously better than he did last week so he'll be running and catching a little bit and we'll see how far he can take that. We won't know what that means until we get through the next couple of days.
On the inordinate amount of injuries this season
You come to expect the challenges and these are what they are this season. Guys are getting banged up but we have a lot of guys that can play too. I'm not alarmed by it. If it continues, we just keep dealing with it and do the best we can. I'm excited about the guys that get these opportunities and they've shown that they can answer these calls and so I'm hoping that we can continue to do that. On the other side of it, Sedrick Ellis is coming back and he's practicing with us today...it's been a quick mend and hopefully we can make it through this week and he'll perform in the game for us. So there'll be some guys coming back as some guys get banged up and it's the part of this process that's the most challenging. I know Washington has been pretty fortunate. They have had pretty consistent line ups for their five games so far and that's a real plus for them. We haven't been able to have that luxury but we're alright.
On freshman Allen Bradford and where he feels he should play (offense or defense)
We did get together last night and he's been questioning where he feels most comfortable. So we've talked through that and he's going to come back to offense for us and continue to work over there. He's just trying to feel comfortable with it. He's not upset at all. He's just trying to get a beat on it. After coming back to defense, he feels like he's better suited and he's more excited about his chances on offense for the long haul and he'd like to get settled in. I'm totally in agreement with him and I feel fine about that.
On senior defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis
He's one of our best players. We've played without him for a few weeks here and we've missed him. Fili Moala has really stepped up and done real well, however, Sedrick is our best nose tackle so to get him back for the running game and the pass rush is a great benefit to us. I don't know how much he'll play in this game, but just having him back out there and competing, his savvy and understanding of what he's doing helps everybody play better so this is a real positive for us.
On tailback Emmanuel Moody and the running back situation
We'll see what happens. I feel comfortable with the thought of mixing Chauncey Washington and Emmanuel and working C.J. Gable in. That's where we are with that. We've talked about this for a long time and I feel like we have a good sense for it now. I'm real positive about what Emmanuel can bring us. He's done it again. He's had four straight games of plays and playmaking. The way he changes speed for us and the way he takes the ball at the line of scrimmage is a nice compliment to Chauncey running up in there. So we'll see both those guys in good roles and as always, we'll do just like we've done. We'll lean the way we think is best to get the game rolling. That's no different than we've been for years.
On the Pac-10 race
I didn't make any predictions. I didn't know how it was going to go. But I think it's very tough. I think it's very difficult. I think it's going to be challenging for all of us, all the way along. I think everybody is matching up well and it's going to be good, tough games throughout. I think everybody knows each other pretty well that's been around the conference. It's going to be very difficult to wade your way through this and come out winning every game. It's going to be challenging for anybody to do that. Oregon is really playing good. Cal is totally back on track. Washington is the real deal and on and on. Hopefully we can play our game too. Everybody is still within striking distance and everybody has got a chance to play good football. Who can survive with the key guys in the right spots and stuff like that. As always, it's not who you play, but sometimes, when you play them... who they have available, so we'll see how this goes. I think it's shaping up to be a real challenging year for everybody to battle each week.
On Coach Willingham being the last coach to defeat USC at the Coliseum
It's a little bit of a different team. They look a lot the same and they play a lot the same. I think you can see his style come through on this team. I think they're handling their success really well and I think they're doing a good job. As they look down the road, sometimes you get all giddy and nuts about it and lose focus. He's not letting them do that. He's got too much experience as a head coach to let that happen. I think that's a good trivia thing right now.
On seeing Coach Willingham at multiple schools
You can see similarities and you can see the carry over in the style and what he thinks is important and the manner of team and stuff like that. The team usually takes on some of the head coaching and certainly, clearly, you can see a similar style.
On adjustments in the secondary
I won't be specific about that. There were very obvious things to us. As a staff, we needed to correct some stuff but in particular, these are things that I don't want to talk about in that regard.
On earlier start time for the Washington game
I think it's a great change for us. College football has changed somewhat but has traditionally always been Saturday afternoon. I think it's great to come to the Coliseum and play a day game and then have the afternoon where the sun is still up and you're leaving and you can enjoy the day and the experience and all that. Hopefully, we can do that with a win and really make it special for everybody. It's a nice change and we don't have this opportunity very much so we kind of enjoy the change up that it brings.
On possibility of Dwayne Jarrett playing against Washington
I'm hoping so. I don't know. I just know that he's going to go out and run around and catch some balls today and see what he feels like. I know that his mind is in exactly the right place to play if the doctors will allow him. We'll have to get some preparation through the week to make sure that he's ready but it's optimistic that he can go out and run and catch some balls. We'll see how he does.
Tyrone Willingham--Head Coach, Washington Huskies
On marked improvement this year
We are sitting at a good place. I think 4-1 is a good place to be. I would believe that most people that looked at our football team would never have thought that at this time, we would be at this place so that is an accomplishment in itself. But it is not all that we would like at least from our coaching perspective. We see more in our football team and hopefully, as we start to begin the second half of the year, we hopefully can push toward that. I think our young men are becoming more comfortable each day with our program and the things that they are required to do. I think the word that is often used would be 'buy-in'. I think there is a lot more 'buy-in' into what we're doing in our system. I do believe our assistant coaches and our administration are doing a good job in all the areas inside and outside of our program.
On senior quarterback Isaiah Stanback
Isaiah has always been blessed with wonderful talent and it's not just that an individual has talent but it's when you're able to put mind and body together and Isaiah right now, is tying those in fairly well. He's put in a lot of time and dedication to studying the game, and not only just the football game and the X's and O's but he's also put in time into understanding how to be a more effectively leader and I think those are really showing in the way the team plays around him and for him.
On the rest of the offense
Right now, one of our receivers who is having a kind of a hot streak is Sonny Shackleford who happens to be from that Los Angeles, Beverly Hills area. He's doing a wonderful job, making a lot of big plays for us and catching on. Our two running backs, Louis Rankin and Kenny James seem to be very solid for us. But as most people know, it doesn't happen unless you've got some people up front that are doing some very positive things. I think our offensive line, at times has been very solid for us.
On the Husky defense
We've been fortunate. We've got some excellent play out of Scott White and C.J. Wallace. Those two obviously have been our leading tacklers. C.J. comes from the secondary with his play and Scott has been our linebacker and he's moved from SAM backer last year to our WIL backer and has been a lot more active and a lot more productive. Of course, we need him to play very well this weekend.
On last time USC was defeated in the Coliseum (by Willingham's 2001 Stanford team)
I don't think it means anything special. Is it a nice fact? Yes. But I don't think it means anything in terms of this ball game. That was a different Trojan team that we played in that year and obviously this is a different Washington team that I bring into this ball game. I think these two teams will look at each other, size each other up, and get after each other pretty good.
On the current USC team
It's an amazing thing that there is so much talk today about some of our teams and where they are and where they aren't. As I look at the Trojans, they seem pretty solid to me. It's just that you're not always going to be scoring 50 and 60 points a ball game. Right now, they're probably going through the growth and development of some younger players stepping in, but they're still very talented and they're still very well coached.
On pros and cons of using true freshman
I just like to play our best player. If it happens to be a freshman, that's great. If it happens to be a sophomore, junior or senior, then your team is that much better. My responsibility is to our football team and that is to put our best players on the field so I would imagine that Coach Carroll is doing pretty much the same thing--playing his best players and giving them the opportunity to help this team be successful.
On USC quarterback John David Booty
I think he's done a pretty good job because he's kept his mistakes down to a minimum. When you have a young quarterback, it's those turnovers and those things of that nature that really frighten you. I don't mean to call him a freshmen because he has been in the program a while, but when you have a new quarterback that doesn't make mistakes, it becomes very difficult to lose because he's not putting his team in jeopardy.
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