Pete Carroll-Jim Harbaugh Discuss Saturday's Game At The Coliseum

Oct. 2, 2007

October 2, 2007

COACH CARROLL: We're anxious to get back to work on this week's preparation and take care of some stuff that happened in our football game last week that we need to fix. So we had a good first day, a real good evaluation of the game, and I think clear about what happened and anxious to get back to work. Obviously we're always pumped up about coming back to play at the Coliseum, so with another Pac 10 game coming up here against Stanford it's nice for us to get back on the kind of playing track that we know we can do.
I think it was really clear across the football team that there's a lot of good stuff out here for us, and we want to get back to it. The only way to do that is to start practicing and get into your game plan and all of it, so that's what we've done.
I'm looking forward to just being here. A couple weeks we get to be at home, so we're going to dig in and have some fun playing football right here in front of our hometown fans and make the most of it.

Q. You said you pretty much knew what happened but you weren't exactly sure why. Do you have more of a sense now why?
COACH CARROLL: Yeah, we lost a little continuity. The game sometimes causes you cause the problems for yourself by the penalties, and that kind of sets things out of sync a little bit. But then when we got our guys banged up in the offensive line it affected us. It affected the snapper and the right guard and the communications to the tackles and everyone else, as well as it affected John David Booty some.
We weren't really able to get really comfortable with it. We had hurt ourselves enough in enough situations that we kept the game close, but we just weren't at our best. That was just really obvious. Other than that, I'm not real worried about it. I'm not worried about it at all. I just want to get us back to playing so we feel good about our work and have a great Tuesday and get the feeling that we know we can find our continuity and find our comfort zones again and fit it back together.

Q. Are the penalties, looking at the film, you questioned some after the game?
COACH CARROLL: Yeah, every week we do. Every week there's always questions, and then you get the explanations. At least we get an updated version of what the league office thinks of the decisions that are made, and often they'll correct them. If they see them wrong, if there was a mistake, they'll correct it. They're free to do that and comfortable doing that. Officials get downgraded when that happens.
In this case we'll have to see. There were a number of subjective types of calls in this game, the hits on the sidelines and the pass interferences that are very questionable. They could have gone either way. For the most part the plays were very aggressive style plays, and the officials, they saw them the way they saw them. When they look at them again, I'd expect to see a couple of those adjusted and turned.
Again, I'm not bellyaching about it at all. It's a game when there was a lot of calls that are up can be scrutinized, so that's what's happening, and we're just doing the normal procedures. Usually by Thursday we get word. If there was reason to call, we'll call and ask some questions about stuff. I've already talked to (Pac-10 Conference coordinator of officials) Dave anyway, Dave Cutaia, about a couple of things.
I wanted to ask clearly the opinions of our officials, are the quarterbacks treated differently than running backs when they run with the football as they are in the NFL, and the NFL protects their quarterbacks in a particular manner, and I wanted to make sure that I understood how our officials were distinguishing that. And they're treated like running backs when they're running the football. They're just like anybody else. I don't know if that's always the case of how calls are made, but I do know that's what the statement was.
So I thought it was worth making a point to hear that from them and understand that, for our players' knowledge more than anything, so we can coach well and help our guys understand.

Q. Do you coach if a quarterback is running the sideline like that, what do you
COACH CARROLL: What they say is they're treated just like running backs, okay, and so we can we knock the fire out of them the best we can and minimize the gain as best as possible. However, it's the quarterback, and so I mentioned to our guys yesterday that we have to know that it's the quarterback and the officials may be sensitive to that, even though they're not supposed to be. So we're going to play the game accordingly and we're going to try to make really good decisions in those situations.

Q. Which you attempt to do when you're fired up and racing after COACH CARROLL: Fired up, and the hit was at the sticks, too. The hit was right at the distance marker. The guy is a great runner and a great player. That's just an example. That's just for us to learn from. It's not about that game at all, it really isn't. Hopefully we'll understand better so we can make good decisions that allow us to play the game without the factor of penalties and issues and stuff.

Q. Can you update where you're at health wise on the offensive line?
COACH CARROLL: Yeah, well, the situation they're all individual situations, but Kristofer O'Dowd gets operated on today and gets a little scope job, a little cleanup, and should be three or four weeks, hopefully three weeks. Chilo Rachal has a sprained knee, second degree sprain, two or three weeks, could be sooner than that.
Brian Cushing is I don't know, he's going to see the doctors tonight. He's still sore. He's way better than he was, but we're going to be to make sure that he's really back. Because of what happened in the opener, he's missing a lot of this football season right now. We're playing without one of our best football players, and we've got to do everything to get him back and keep him back once he returns, so we'll be a little bit conservative with him this time around.

Q. Two things were said during the telecast; both can't be true. One guy said that Sedrick Ellis might be the No. 1 pick in the draft, the best player, and then somebody else said that Stanley Havili is the MVP of this team.
COACH CARROLL: Well, they could both be true, I think (laughter). Just to talk about Sedrick is playing great football. He's really playing big time ball. He's dominating his area, he's making teams double him a bunch. We're moving him around some to try to keep him from that. But he's playing great football. He's just at the top of his game, and I've heard from a number of scouts that have visited us that he's one of the top players at his position in the country, and that makes you a No. 1 pick if you're a D lineman. That's a lot to live up to, but that's what they're talking about. I think that's a well founded statement and it's backed by what NFL scouts see at an early date before they make their grades and evaluations. It's just an observation from them.
Stanley didn't play very well last week. He didn't catch the ball like he normally does. He had a little bit of divided focus in that game for whatever reason, and he can't explain it, either. He'll be better. He's a freshman. I think we have to remember that about Stanley, that he's a terrific football player that's just getting these first time experiences, and once he makes the rounds he's going to be a tremendous asset, and he has been already in the season.
But in that game he wasn't as sharp as he's been, and a couple balls got away from them that he would normally catch, three balls he would normally catch, and he can catch almost with his eyes closed. As a matter of fact I threw every one of them to him in practice and he had no problem with any one of them, so we're back on track.

Q. What do you think of (Stanford head coach) Jim Harbaugh and the job he's done so far as he tries to turn around that program up there?
COACH CARROLL: I don't think there's any question that Jim is a unique competitor. He proved that when you're most visibly seen in the NFL as a quarterback, and he did a great job as a battler and a competitor and he did a great job in the league when he had his opportunities. He brings that attitude with him. He was successful at San Diego, he turned around the program, made it a championship program, and brings that same energy and juice to this job.
Jimmy never did make himself into a statesman. He's going to say what he's going to say, and he's not real politically correct all the time, and I don't think he cares. What I know about Jim, he's a battler, and I respect the hell out of that, and I think he's going to be really fun for our conference. He's going to be good for the University. He brings a different style and approach, and they're playing with a lot of fire, and that's who he is, and that's what you would expect.
I'm going to take what he says with a grain of salt about stuff, but I like the heck out of him. I'm anxious to play against him. I want to see how they show up and what they bring and see if we can get a win and we'll find out where we are from there.
He has not checked in with me about any of my career moves if you're wondering (laughter). I expect a call late in the week.

Q. If you're at the Pac 10 golf tournament and you have roommates that you get to choose, who do you choose?
COACH CARROLL: I'm getting a single room in that case (laughter). I think I deserve it at this point. I'm getting a single room.

Q. What about Stanford on the field? Any kind of different look?
COACH CARROLL: They have a well equipped offense. T.C. Ostrander is a good quarterback, a big pro style type of quarterback. They've got Evan Moore and Mark Bradford is their wide receiver, really good. Kimble is really running the football really well. Other than the Arizona State game where they really had trouble running it, they were two or three in the conference rushing the football after the first four or five games. They're committed to the running game, they come off the ball well, they look like a very solid offense. The freshman fullback is really good. So I think this is a very good team.
They put up they were down 21 0 against Oregon and the next thing you know it's 31 24 at halftime. That's in the first half. They did that in the quarter. They did that with long runs and long plays and execution. They're a committed philosophical team. You can see what they want to do and what they believe in. I think it's a very good group.
On the other side of the ball they've been up and down. They shut out San Jose and they've had some problems with Oregon and Arizona State, some really good football teams. I think in classic fashion of a new program they're finding themselves and putting it together and they've got some real bright spots. They're finding how to use their personality really well on both sides of the ball. It's a good philosophical base to come from, and I expect they're going to win some football games and have some big games this year. I just hope it isn't this week.

Q. Do you feel like Matt Spanos is he okay?
COACH CARROLL: Matt did fine. His arm is sore. He's sore, but he made it through it and he doesn't care about being sore. He's so excited to be back playing and contributing that he's going to have a heck of a week. Imagine, he only had two or three days that he even thought he could play in the game, two days, Wednesday and Thursday, where he thought maybe I can play, and all of a sudden he played 50 something plays.
He'll be better, and I think he's going to help us. He was our starting center. He's a brute in there, a big, strong guy, did very well in the game. The only problem he had, he caught his elbow brace on his knee brace and fumbled a snap. So we took off the knee brace and everything was fine. Other than that I thought he played very well. In one regard we bring back experience, we bring back a solid performer when we lose Chris, and that's a very good statement for our depth situation that helps us. I'm really happy for Matt that he gets a chance to contribute and play, and he's really pumped up about it.

Q. Did that limit you at all on shotgun with Matt Spanos' arm? COACH CARROLL: I don't know. I don't know how we're doing that. Our thought was yes, it does limit us. We're not going to have him throw the football back with a funky triceps not knowing where it was going to go. But we'll mess around with it this week and see how it is. We did not ask him to do that at all last week and we did not ask O'Dowd to do that much either. We backed away from it a little bit because of the center situation. We'll see how that comes around in the next couple weeks.

Q. Did you find it intriguing that five teams in the top ten lost this weekend?
COACH CARROLL: Yeah, it's the real deal, it's really hard. Just because you think that they're supposed to win doesn't mean they're going to. It's hard to do this. Very, very good teams that looked great early in the season got beat. Florida, Oklahoma, they looked like terrific football teams, and they still are terrific football teams, they just got beat.
It's really hard to win every week, particularly when you get into your conference. This is no different, this is no surprise that it was a hard game on the road against Washington for us, and I'm sure they feel the same way, Kansas State and on and on. Those are tough football teams. The scary thing for those guys is it's going to be hard to keep winning the rest of them, too. It's hard every week we go out. I think that's more typical than it isn't. I don't know why everybody is so shocked at that. It's hard to win all your games, and you really have to find consistency and survive the bad days, like we just did. That's part of it. You have to survive when things aren't quite right and the other team plays great. That's a great indicator of it.
The schedule separates. It's what happens. It's why you don't pass judgment now and you don't vote teams into Hall of Fame or players into the Heisman Trophy or any of that stuff right now. You wait and you keep playing and you hope in time you prove who you are and what you're all about. It's why you play 12, 13 games.

Q. What's the C.J. Gable situation?
COACH CARROLL: We're still working with him. He's going to the doctor today and we'll find out where he sits, for him and his future. There's a chance that it's the best decision to operate on him. He's going to have to get it operated on one way or another, and it might be the best situation to do it now and get him back for spring football and all that. Otherwise he'd have to do it at the end of the season, and he's not 100 percent.
He's been a warrior. He's been a darned warrior about it and would not back off. We keep pushing him and he wants to play in the worst way, and I admire that about the guy. He will not back off, and he's a stud. The doctors are trying to make sense of this and the trainers are going to figure it out for him and do the right thing for C.J.

Q. Stafon Johnson has an injury, too?
COACH CARROLL: He's got a sore foot. He got stepped on, pretty severe bruise to his foot, but it's not a long standing injury. There's no damage to ligaments or any of that stuff as far as MRIs and X rays show. It's just a matter of him getting back. He was in the boot yesterday, we just need to see him pop back. He's playing terrific football and we'd love to get him back in the lineup, and if we can, we will. He's determined, and he says he's going to make it back, but he's got to get some work done during the week to show that he can run. Home game, we can have everybody dress so we don't have to make any roster decisions in that regard, but it'll probably take us until the end of the week before we know.

Q. The cornerback situation?
COACH CARROLL: Cary Harris practiced yesterday, and it was a no padded practice but he got through it and ran great and made a couple interceptions in drills and stuff like that. He looked really good. He will also see the doctor tonight and they will make an assessment. This is a miraculous recovery if he can get back. But he's absolutely dedicated to playing this week. He was last week, too, and he would have if they let him, but he's pitching hard now. We'll see what happens.
Otherwise Mozique McCurtis will start with Terrell Thomas, Vincent Joseph will be in the nickel package for us this week, and on we go. Shareece Wright has got a it's going to be hard for him to play this week, but it might not be a two week deal, but we'll have to wait and see.

Q. The games that are typically predicted to be the tough games for you all usually don't end up being as close as expected, and you instead seem to develop a pattern or there's a game or two every year where you struggle against a team that nobody would predict.
COACH CARROLL: Well, think about it. Everybody in sports, nobody plays the same every week. Although the Patriots look like they are, four weeks straight, but they'll have their times, too, and they'll have to overcome it.
This is football. This is what happens. You don't know when it's going to happen. You don't prepare for it and you don't anticipate it. I know this, we never take anybody lightly, never. We respect everybody that we play, and the effort that we played with in that game was indicative of tremendous involvement and excitement to play the football game. But it didn't work out quite right. So that's what you're saying, I don't know how to help you on that one. I don't know that that's a pattern that I ascribe to, as well. It's hard. It's just hard. These teams are working hard, these coaches are working hard, these players want to beat us in the worst way, the fans are nuts about getting after us. It's awesome. This is what we're up against every week, but this is our world. Shoot, we wouldn't want it any other way.
So give credit to the football gods somewhere in here. Sometimes the ball bounces and it goes this way and that way and the deflections go right to them and there's a turn for a touchdown and sometimes it doesn't. You're going to have to overcome all that stuff. We're going to have to do it again. Maybe this week and maybe next week, the teams are going to have our number, whatever it is, or somebody is going to be hot and the wind is going to blow and things happen. That's why we talk all the time, you have to respect the game.
It wasn't about Washington this week, no disrespect to them at all, it wasn't about them, it was about us. That's how it always is. When we can't handle ourselves, we're tough to beat. The Trojans were tough on us last week (laughter). It was a struggle.
But it won't be I don't anticipate that happening. I don't ever anticipate that happening, but when it does we have to find a way to overcome it. That's why it was a very good victory for us. We went up against the odds and the deck that we stacked against ourselves. That was a heck of a win, and we enjoyed it for that reason.
You might think we went in the locker room and yelled at everybody. That's not what happened at all. This was a great win under the circumstances. How much harder could we make it on us? Thankfully Terrell Thomas got the onsides kick or we'd still be out there playing with those guys.
That's just ball. It's how you bounce back. It's how you leave those things in the dust. You learn from them and you move forward, whether it's a big win or a big loss or a struggling victory or a struggling loss. You have to deal with it well and get back on track and be the team that you know yourself to be. That's what our effort was all about this week.

Q. When games are going like that, and obviously the players can be feeding off your personality, do you consciously have this
COACH CARROLL: I walked out of the locker room and my shoes were tied together. I was screwed up at the start of the game, so maybe it started with me. I was struggling before I got out there, so maybe I should have known. I've got to take credit for this. I didn't get this cleared up with our fellows. We didn't respond well.
When we got hurt, when the two linemen went down, that was a shock to our football team. A shock can happen in the kickoff return or a turnover or in that kind of fashion. The injuries shocked us a little bit because how many times do two linemen get dragged off the field on carts. That just doesn't happen. Fortunately Chilo Rachal jumped off, but it was a shocker to us. (Offensive coordinator Steve) Sarkisian did a really good job, called the offense together, knew it was one of those moments and tried to make sure they were on track, but it was a few plays later we fumbled the snap and we jumped offsides. The guys that went in had the problems and then accentuated the issue. We just didn't put it to rest.
Meanwhile the defense played like crazy and gave us a chance to hang in there. That's how it has to happen. Somebody or some unit has to rise up to give you the power to win, and the defense was stellar in that game, and fortunately that happened. Another day we would have gotten beat.
Really, if you think about the Oregon State game last year, that was that same game but we didn't play very well on defense. We had a hard game where we gave up 30 something points on defense, and turnovers and kick return and there you go, and we run out of time at the end. So it was not the case this time around, and hopefully we'll figure out a way, the offense will bail the defense out I'm sure a number of times before the season is over.
Is that the answer to the question you asked (laughter)? I have no idea.

Q. We asked you before the season about your defense and how you thought it was going to compare to the defenses in the past. Can you talk now that the season is underway now you see the defense?
COACH CARROLL: This defense is different. This is a wild group. They play really hard and hit the heck out of everybody. They are determined to leave a statement that they ain't backing down for nothing, they're going to make every hit they can make, they're going to fly to the football. There were so many tackles in the last game where there were six or seven guys scrapping at the football and knocking the pile back and showing how much they love playing together.
This is an unusually intense group. In that regard, we're playing with more intensity and harder than our other groups have. It stands out, it jumps out. Maybe it's because we're faster, but it's also because of the attitude of the team.
I like to see when (Brian) Cushing gets part of this team, too. He's a big as factor as anybody at playing physical, tough football, maybe the guy of all the guys that set the tempo for this defensive back in camp. So when he comes back it's going to be even more so.
We still need to get the football more. It isn't because we aren't trying. We had one of our all time attempts at getting the ball last week. That's one of the things we gauge, how hard we're playing and how actively we're pursuing our philosophy, which is to go get the ball.
I love these guys. I love the way they're playing, and we're even shuffling guys in there, new starters. Thomas played great last week, 'Zique came in and played a heck of a game and on and on. I'm real proud of the way things are going. Keith played on a bum ankle last week. I don't know if you guys realize, he sprained his ankle on Thursday and should not have played and he played a great football team. Maualuga picked up for those tackles that Keith Rivers made the week before. It's an exciting defensive group, and I'm hoping that we can continue to grow and get better and take that football off our opponents and it'll be maybe one of the better ones we've had. We'll find out five or six weeks from now.
You really gauge your defensive effort in you subjective gauge it, but we have statistics about effort and missed tackles, really an indicator of how your team is playing effort wise, and our numbers were just rock bottom the last two weeks. If we can maintain that, it's going to be really hard for people to score on us, and they're going to have to fight really hard to get that done.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports....

Stanford head football coach Jim Harbaugh

Opening statement

'USC is a tremendous football team. I admire the way they play...their athletes and the way they are coached. This is one of college football's true dynasty teams and I'm very impressed.'

On his first season as a head coach at Stanford

'I like our team. I like the way they fight and compete with our opportunity to continue to play and get better. I like our guys, character guys. I love our university and our coaches. This is a week that is a tremendous opportunity for our ballclub. It's been my experience that when you prepare for the top-rated team in the nation that the energy is focused on the way you prepare. I'm excited for our team to go through that as we prepare practice this week.'

On team's offense

'Our quarterback, T.C. Ostrander, will not be playing this week. He will be out for the ball game, he has been ruled out medically and will be reevaluated next week. T.C. had a seizure on Sunday afternoon and the good news for T.C. and his family is that all the tests came back normal. We have talented players. (Running back) Anthony Kimble has been one of our leaders, been an all-purpose guy in terms of returning kicks, catching passes out of the backfield and been a workhorse around the ball. (Wide receivers) Mark Bradford and Evan Moore, two guys from southern California from the Los Angeles area, have had good careers here and both playing healthy this year and a big part of our offense.'

On who will start at quarterback this Saturday

'It will be Tavita Pritchard. He is very athletic, good arm, throws the ball accurately. I'm excited for his opportunity to be able to play.'

On team's defense

'We didn't play as well as a ballclub as we would have liked and made the kind of strides that we wanted to against Arizona State. Our defense did play better, not where we like it to be. We got pressure on the quarterback. (Linebacker) Clinton Snyder has been very good. (Safety) Bo McNally has done a very nice job. (Defensive end) Patrick Bowe doing a very good job. They are coming around and fighting. The one thing I'm sure that our guys will continue to fight. We had a goal line stand last week that showed me that they are going to fight.'

On bringing competitive spirit to the program

'We welcome guys that want to compete and fight. We are building that. We are getting more of that each and every week. You are finding out who those guys are. They make themselves known. They have a tremendous challenge this week and we welcome those guys that love to do that.'

On transition of some offensive players to the defensive side of the ball

'Erik Lorig has done a very good job at the defensive end position. He has been impressive as a starter. Austin Yancy has given us more athletic ability on the back end. Those moves are paying off and they continue to get better and more comfortable on that side of the ball.'

On working with current USC receivers coach John Morton

'He is a phenomenal coach, also worked with him at the Oakland Raiders. There is no one that works harder at the game of football. He is a tremendous coach and the impact that he had with the Saints last year was evident. Like all of the USC coaches, it is a great staff.'

On team's reaction to T.C. Ostrander

'There was concern for T.C. When we gave the team that information, he was with a few of our players at the time so the word got around. Their parents were there as well. They are very relieved and thankful that T.C. is okay.'

Now on Pac-12 Network
10:00 AM PT

Airing on:

  • Pac-12 Network
Get Pac-12 Networks
Pac-12 Networks Channel Finder