Pete Carroll-Mike Stoops Discuss Saturday's Game At The Coliseum

Oct. 9, 2007

October 9, 2007

COACH CARROLL: We are obviously up against something we want to really overcome. We had a game that we wish we could forget but we can't. We didn't get it done at the end of the football game on either side of the ball to win it, so we're faced with having to come back from that.

We feel like it's in scenario it's a similar situation for us last year when we got beat in conference, and you've got to come back and you've got to try to win every game and it starts by winning the first one, and you've got to get after it.

I think there's a lot of interest in this game for obvious reasons. It was a great win for Stanford, and Coach Harbaugh's team did a great job to get that done, and everybody has made a lot of that, and I think they deserve whatever they get out of that.

For us we have to do some stuff here and get right it's so obvious and so clear that we have to get rid of this turnover situation that we have been so good at for so long, and right now we have to stop it.

Without that changing, nothing changes. The football game goes away, the turnovers go almost always. We saw indications during the weekend in Saturday games and on the Sunday games and it was the same. That's football, and it always has been. That's why our philosophy has been so strictly attuned to taking care of the football and getting it, and we have to get back on that. So hopefully we can get that done.

We have a couple issues. We have some guys, not sure what's going to happen with John David this week. Mark is going to take all the first team snaps, and we'll just see what happens with John. I'm going to prepare Mark and Sark is preparing Mark so he's starting the football game. John's finger is much worse than it was the night that he hurt it, so it's going to be a while possibly. He's going to try, and we'll see what that all means. But I'm heading into the game with my mindset that Mark can start this game and lead us and get a win for us and get us going. He's been waiting a long time. He's worked like crazy to get to this point, and he's a really good football player.

We'll be excited to see him take his opportunity. It's like other guys when they step up, we expect them to play the very best and expect them to play just like the front line guy that left, and we'll do exactly the same in our expectations for Mark. It's a great challenge. You know, there's a terrific challenge at hand as there always is at this time, and we have to see if we can do it right. I'm excited about trying to fix this thing and get it on course. I take a lot of responsibility for it. I've always felt like this turnover thing is about emphasis, and if you emphasize it better than the other guys you usually get great results, and we've proved that for years. Now we have to get back out of it and get the football going in the right direction to give us a chance.

Arizona is a team that has not gotten off to the start that they wanted to, 2 and 4, but they really have a lot of good football players. They came into this season with very high hopes and expectations of having a great year. When you look at the film you can see why.

Willie Tuitama is a terrific quarterback now. He's grown into it already. He's been tested by fire over the last year and a half, and he's a big time thrower with a wide open offense that can do a lot of really good things. Their receivers are good. I think Grigsby has just come on the scene. You guys don't know about him yet, but he's a really good running back with a lot of shake and bake and make you miss that gives them a nice spread of offense.
Defensively this is the best front we've played. They're the most talented and the biggest and strongest group we've seen, so we have a very difficult opponent, which we would expect anyway, but these guys are more than their record really stands for right now, and we understand that. We know most all of these guys on this team through recruiting and through the process and through the past years, and we have to play a very good football game to get this win. That's what's happening, and we're determined to get it done.

To help you a little bit, the first thing we did yesterday was to get to the truth of what happened in the game and make sure we understand where we made our mistakes and where we need to fix things up and try to get back on track, and that's the first step you make I think you make towards getting going again. So that's behind us.

Although I know the questions won't leave it behind us, but it's behind us as far as we can control it and we'll direct our focus towards Arizona in every way that we can and put together a heck of a week.
It starts by having a great Monday. Monday was good yesterday. It was quiet out there on the practice field more so than normal because there was a different sense, and today we need to get back to getting after it and really battle against each other and put ourselves back in position to play well.

Q. A lot of the blame for Saturday seems to have fallen on John David Booty's head. How much of that blame does he deserve do you think?
COACH CARROLL: The quarterback always gets the blame, and they get the credit and they get the Heismans and all the rest. That's so obvious. Part of the reason of going through the film with everybody is so they can see the plays that happened so they understand when a receiver makes a mistake or a guy misreads a coverage that that causes the problems for the quarterback, as well.

John will be the first to tell you that he made a couple bad throws in that game and made a couple mistakes and missed a guy or two, but all in all, it's a contribution by more than one guy that makes us have a result like that.

I'll defend anybody's quarterback in that situation and will certainly stand up for John in that regard. But he knows, and I believe also he needs to play better than he did and not give them a chance to get the football in the fourth quarter.

When we weren't turning the ball over it's 9 0, which wasn't a great score in any regards but it was a solid start to a football game, and then we turned it over and it turned around. He knows he's involved, and the quarterback has all of that responsibility, all of that falls on his shoulders to some degree and he's got to hope for good complementary work from everybody else, and that's why I pointed it out, because it was really clear, it was obvious that there were some other mistakes that occurred that caused the turnovers.

Q. He hurt his finger in the second quarter, and then obviously it turned into a pretty big problem this week, or at least so far it looks like it has. How much of that do you think accounted or led to his problems?
COACH CARROLL: There's no question it had a factor. The problem for us was that he felt okay, and there were enough throws that you could see him throwing the ball all right. He had good zip on the ball, he had good touch. He wasn't having trouble with the snaps, which was the first thing I asked him, and there's a big impact on the snap, and if that wasn't bothering him but it was the energy of the game, it was all of that that kept him involved and kept him going.

When he went in at halftime and got X rayed and came back out, he knew he had a broken finger. He didn't know it at the start, and he would be the first to tell you he felt he was a little uncertain in the start of the third quarter, had a couple bad plays but then he came out of it and threw the ball well. He felt okay. He was throwing the ball all right. But all in all, I think it had something to do with it, sure. He floated a couple balls he wouldn't have. But it wasn't evident throughout. It wasn't obvious.

One of the big questions is how come you don't switch him. Well, because I thought he was going to help us win the football game. It's as simple as that.

Q. Did you ever think about not throwing it as much and keeping it on the ground and trying to maintain the running game?
COACH CARROLL: Yeah, but we didn't think that was the factor, not until you look back and see it now, one of the pictures in the last play that we have a shot of him. We couldn't tell. I wish I could have known that, but I couldn't tell.

Q. Do you have a deadline concerning the decision for the quarterback?
COACH CARROLL: No, not one in stone here, but we've got to wait until we have more information. We don't have any information what John feels like yet. Until we know that but it's clear in my mind and the offensive coaches that Mark is getting ready to play, and we need to have that mindset and organize the plan with that thought in mind, and then we'll see what happens.

It could turn out that if John is okay that we hold him in reserve and go with Mark through the preparation. Just knowing that he's not 100 percent, obviously he's got a broken finger. If we needed him in an emergency maybe we could do that. We have all those options, maybe we'll just wait it out, and there's no reason to jump to the decision right now.

Q. One loss and there is immediately talk about you changing the quarterback. What's the danger in doing that if it doesn't work out?
COACH CARROLL: Well, I think there's a couple things. This is just kind of football in general. If you've been in a system that goes with your quarterback and you stay with your guy, I was thinking about that, I don't think we've ever seen a quarterback hurt here since I've been here. We had a couple plays in the Arizona State game when Matt came out one time, so we haven't been through the situation. We've been solidly in support of our starter and it's worked out quite well. It depends where you come from.

I like leaving the guy as the quarterback. He's the guy that you spend all the time preparing, he's the guy that's gone through the rigors of learning and the experience. John has had a year and a half behind him as a starting quarterback. That's extraordinarily valuable to him. Whereas somebody might want to see a quarterback change or whatever, for whatever their reasons are, there's a lot of information that says you should stay with the guy.

And so and because in a game where there's four interceptions and two of them he really couldn't do a whole lot about it. You just have to go to the truth of what's going on and make sure you make good assessments regardless of what public opinion may be.

Had we been a system that alternated our quarterbacks, it wouldn't even be a question, but that's not we would move a guy in and Mark would have played a lot more. We believe in the starter and the fact that that brings and the stature that that brings and we've stayed with that for a number of years, and we'll see how that works.

Q. From a competition standpoint, has he been the best quarterback on the field in practice every week?
COACH CARROLL: Yeah, he has. He's certainly been in command of the stuff. He gets more opportunities to show that than Mark does. Remember, when John had to have his back surgery a couple springs ago, Mark was our starting quarterback for the entire spring, and we've seen him, we've worked with him, we love him. The players understand what he's like. They've played with him. They know that he's a really good player.

Remember also the factor that I mentioned to you coming out of camp when we didn't have Mark, it was absolutely obvious in our camp that Mark wasn't out there because of the juice that he brings and the style he plays with in practice and his energy and all of that. We missed him. So he is a big factor. But he has not had the opportunity to be the starter yet.

We think we've assessed that correctly to this point, and if Mark gets a chance to play, it's like anybody else, you get a chance to compete, you get a better shot to show what you can do. You know, we're in an interesting situation. We'll see how this goes.

Q. What is the status on your injured players?
COACH CARROLL: Don't know. He's better. All the guys, Brian Cushing and Chilo Rachal are better, but they're not released yet. I wouldn't think until Wednesday would we have a chance to get any of those guys released until they see the doctor Tuesday night. They're all pushing to try to get back to show that they can, but we don't know yet.

Q. Can a player lose his job to injuries in your system? When John David comes back when he's healthy, is he a quarterback?
COACH CARROLL: I don't have a rule about that. It's kind of an old sports rule, a guy can't lose to injury. I think you go with what you feel at the time and see how things are going, and I'm not that's with any position. I've never told a guy because you started and because we always give the guy a chance to show himself. That's basically what we've done when he returns.

I can't think of an instance where that has happened clearly, where a guy went out for injury and came back and never got his job back. Maybe I'm missing it. But no hard rule about that.

Q. If it does happen to be Mark, what does he do differently?
COACH CARROLL: They're very similar. They both have big arms. They both are accurate throwers. They both move about the same. There's a little different personalities, so they bring a different personality to the game. But Mark has always been a real gunslinger at practice. He takes his shots at big plays and will fire the ball around with a lot of confidence. Not as conservative as Carson or Matt or John has been in that regard. But he's always been a good guy to coach and a guy that really gives you something, gives you everything he has, studies really hard and works really hard, will stay late, all of that kind of stuff.

We've always been really excited about the time Mark is going to play. We love the guy, and we've loved him from the day we watched him come out of Mission Viejo and come here with a tremendous attitude to learn and a hunger to take the spot over.

It takes a while and it's a hard position to play in our offense, and we've proven that. Matt became a great quarterback in his third year, not in his first or second year. It took John three, going into his fourth year, to get it done. We understand that there's a time frame there.

Mark, he's chomping at the bit and ready to go, and it'll be very exciting for him to get a chance to play.

Q. When you say J.D.'s finger looks worse, has he had problems working the ball?
COACH CARROLL: Well, yeah, the swelling and all that didn't show up the first night, and it's it just looks like a sausage, you know. It comes down to whether he can grip the football and when he releases if it comes off clean. There's a tendency for the ball to wobble and the ball to fly when you hurt your fingers, so we'll see what happens.

It was interesting, I went through this deal in New England with Drew Bledsoe. He cracked his index finger in a game late in the Miami game, and in heroic fashion stopped the game a couple times, said I don't think I can throw, my finger, can't feel it. We called time out, he came off the sidelines, it was fourth quarter, he went back in the game, come on, stick it out. No offense to Scott Zolak, but we thought we had a better chance with Drew Bledsoe at the time. I know Zo will get back at me with that.

But he won the game on a 4th down play. He converted a play to Shawn Jefferson on the sidelines, he was throwing to the C mount and the guy on the sidelines caught the ball for a 1st down hanging over the sidelines at the sticks, and to win the game I think he threw a fade up the left sidelines and I think Shawn Jefferson caught the ball in the seam. So he was throwing to this guy and it went to that guy and we won the game at the end of the game. So you never know how it's going to work out.

He wound up getting operated on and played the next week with a pin in his finger and was a hero for what he had done.

Honestly when I knew John had a finger problem in that game, that thought was in my mind, that he would finish it and get it done and that was the best way to go because we had lucked out one other time, I think.

Q. We take it for granted, we always thought you walked on water. What was it like it's not just trying to win the game. There was a 40 point spread.
COACH CARROLL: Well, that factor isn't my factor. It's really a time all the way through that night and the next day, it takes a while now. What happens is the competition in my mind doesn't stop. You know, you keep competing to think about what could have happened, what you should have done, what took place and trying to get to the truth of what happened. That takes a while because you're so emotionally involved in it at all.

So it's a tumultuous time in a mind like mine. I promise you, it's working and I can't sleep. If I fell asleep I couldn't stay asleep just because your mind continues to function and go rather than the sleep mode.

You know, it's most regrettable to miss opportunities like that. These opportunities to play at the Coliseum, even though there's six a year, it seems like there's one in a million that you get a shot to go out there and win again, and to play in a fashion that gives them a chance to play a game and take a game away from us like that, regardless of what it is or what the circumstances are, it doesn't matter. It works you in a way that most people would not understand. I don't know how in your worlds you can do something in a fashion that would be comparable to that. You may know, I don't know.

Q. When do you sleep?
COACH CARROLL: Oh, yeah, finally the next night you collapse. There's a few hours in there. But it doesn't go away. These games, the wins go away, the wins really do float off somewhere; no matter how stunning or dramatic they are or dominant they are, they go away. The losses don't go away. Fortunately we haven't had that many of them over the years, or I wouldn't be able to think straight.

But they just kind of hang with you. 4th down wins and 4th down losses are really big deals because you know it's one last this or that. The 4th and 20 is a killer for me, that kind of stuff.

Q. I understand that 4th down stuff, it's a team that have never been in the game, halftime most people have expectations. You're arguing about how you should have won the game and you were losing with 49 seconds to go. So why did this game get away?
COACH CARROLL: That's a whole different question. First off, it's the game. In your minds you can't give credit to Stanford being a team that was able to win a football game, but they were. They played good, solid football. They didn't make any big mistakes, they just waded their way through the game, and at the end of it we had made so many errors that we gave them an opportunity to win. There was a million different chances.

This is just sports and how it happens. It happens more not as much obviously it wouldn't be differentials here, but when it does, it just becomes a game, all of a sudden the game is a close football game. It's 16 to 14 in that game, and now we need to play it like it's a tight game, whether we want to believe it or not.

You didn't realize that you alluded to part of the problem. Part of the problem was I felt we were going to win the football game the whole time, and I thought it wasn't going to matter and they weren't going to beat us, and in that we might have made a couple errors in judgment of how to finish the football game as opposed to assessing it's 16 14 and there's 11:50 left in the game or whatever it was, and we need to finish the game regardless of what we would like it to end like.
That's why I feel responsibility and that's why I don't sleep, and I might have been able to fix that for our guys. They just play the game, we've got to make that decision. I take that responsibility directly to heart and personally and that's why these don't go away. I don't know how to do it any other way.

Q. Does your mind go to the place that maybe just we're not as good as everybody thinks we are?
COACH CARROLL: Well, we're not playing as good as you think we should or whoever it is that makes those choices. That's the main thing. The key Lou Holtz said this 30 years or 20 years ago, whenever I was with him, I heard it and I never forgot it. He said the best players don't always win, the players that play the best do, and that's what happened in this game. They played better than we did to finish a football game, and they had to make a couple big time plays and they made them. It didn't matter whether Pritchard had played before or not, he threw the ball right to the guy when he had to two more times, on 4th down and on the touchdown.

That's what's so wonderful about sports is guys get opportunities to do things like that and they get to beat the odds and they get to go up against situations where they overcome, and they're dramatic and exciting, and it's good for the fans and for the underdog and all that kind of stuff. It's a good story. It happens every week.

Q. Do you get them prepared emotionally with all that stuff there?
COACH CARROLL: We just needed to just finish the game under the circumstances, and we didn't do it. We'll go at it again. We'll see if we can figure it out again. It's hard, and I think it's a good statement again about how difficult it is. When you play in a conference, around the country everybody finds out the same thing, and we certainly do in this conference. Our toughest games are by the people that are in our conference. That's because of good coaching, it's because of familiarity, it's because of the rivalry, it's because of all those wonderful things that make every weekend fun to find out what's going to happen.

Q. It's fair to say you've got probably at every position, position by position, among the most talented teams in the country if not the most talented team of individual players. As a coach how do you deal with the fact that on Saturday against Stanford the whole was less than the sum of its parts?
COACH CARROLL: It just does sometimes. It's just a game. You know, it's a game. And in a game things happen. You have to make plays. Not always does what you think is going to happen, happen, obviously. There's a bunch of people in New York that thought the Yankees should have won the whole thing, and they didn't. So they've got a lot of good players there, too, and they're battling their tails off to get it done. That's just the way it happens sometimes. It just doesn't match properly.

We're in a situation where we're highly scrutinized and expectations are extraordinary, and I love every bit of that. We wouldn't want it any other way. But with that comes this burden if you don't match up and you don't make it happen.

All of that having been said, it doesn't mean anything. What means something now is what we do about it and how we respond. There's nothing we can do about that last play, and so it is the very next step we take that's most important. We'll see what we do.

Unfortunately we had a little bit of a house call the week before and we didn't respond the way we wanted to, and the ball went right back to the opponent again. As simple as that is, that neutralizes all the factors you're talking about. You give them the ball, you give them the ball five times, it's really hard to win. It doesn't matter whether you interview John David Booty or Brett Favre. Listen to Brett's interview after the game the other night. Same story. That's how this game works.

It almost happened last night again on Monday night. Almost happened again, but they were able to overcome it, Dallas was. That's just the ballgame. Who would have thunk it? First time in 13 years on Monday Night Football they could play with those guys, but they did. And they did it in a number of different ways, and the game can be won other than offense and defense. It can be won on other factors in the special teams, in a lot of different ways.

That's why as we have played over the years, we have to perform at a level over and above all of those the game factors. You have to respect the game, and if you don't, it can kick your butt. The game caught us in this one and had nothing to do with the match ups.

Q. Going back to 2002, you guys ran through all the ranked opponents you played. Why is it your team has struggled against the teams that they should really dominate?
COACH CARROLL: I don't know. I don't think that's always been the case. I think we've done really well against teams that were struggling for the most part. However, this one didn't measure up that way. It's just we all know why. You don't have to ask me, we know why. We threw the ball to the other guys. Now, why that happened, because the ball went a little bit high or a guy ran his route wrong, and that's it. That goes back to where we are.

I will tell you this: John David had the benefit last year of playing with Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarrett and all those guys that have played, and our young guys are still they're still finding their way. They're talented, they're good, but we still have to bring them along and we have to keep them out of harm's way as much as we can as coaches. Their new factors, their inexperience factors don't weigh into the outcome of the game any more than they have than we can manage. I have to do a better job of that and we all have to do a better job of that. That's always coaching, but in this game I really wish I could have helped them a little bit more.

Q. Did the injuries on the offensive line affect you?
COACH CARROLL: I think it affected us in the Washington game without question. There's no question we had two outside penalties and a fumble snap right after the injuries happened, so we did get a little shook up about that. I think the snapper and the right guard, that was a factor. Matt played real well in that game, but it was just the transition hurt us a little bit.

I don't think it factored in at all. Matt played really well in this game, Matt Spanos, and Zack Heberer played a nice game for his first time ever. He was not an issue in this game. He did a fine job for us for his first start.

It shouldn't be a factor. It felt like at that time when it happened it was, and it took us a while to overcome it. I hoped that it would go away. But we still played similar. Understand this, no offensive line penalties in the game, so we totally shifted that from eight or nine the week before, that was fixed. Playing at home helped that. But I don't all in all, I don't think it's any factor. That's what I'm telling you. It was an area of concern, we needed to watch it, but I think we put it to rest. We need to run the ball better, we need to be more effective, on and on, but I don't think it had to do anything with those changes.

We have undergone there's some shifts in our team. We've got some guys we're waiting to get back. I don't know if that's been a factor. Our depth has been marvelously helpful to this point. We're extending it. We're extending how far you can go, and we'd love to see the guys we'd like to see (Brian Cushing) get back on this football team. He has not even been a factor in the football team this year, and he's a great football player with energy and a guy we love to play with. With Chilo Rachal not being here, we love the way he plays and on add on and on. Hopefully we can get those guys back. That's just going to help our cause. I think we're equipped well enough, but it's challenging us, though.

Q. What is Cushing's status?
COACH CARROLL: He worked out with the trainer yesterday. I watched the workout. He's doing okay. He can still feel it. It hasn't gone away yet, the stiffness in his ankle. I don't know how that's going to go away in the next couple days, but we're trying to work that out. He's going to test it again Wednesday and Thursday probably and see how it is.

Q. What happened to Spanos' finger?
COACH CARROLL: He got stepped on right at the end of the first half, and he almost sliced his finger off, his little finger. Lost part of the tip of his next finger, so he had some stitches right in the crease here of his little finger, and I don't know what they did to the other one, they glued it up or something, I don't know. And he came and he was getting stitched up and worked on at halftime. He said he was okay. He came in after Byers took the first series, I think, and Matt jumped back in and played. It was pretty ugly, but he'll practice this week somehow and he wants to play.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports....

Arizona head coach Mike Stoops

Opening statement

'We look at USC as a hungry and mad team. We will look to establish something quick and you have to be ready to play, something we didn't do last week. We are concerned about coming and playing better and stronger at the start. We haven't played the two Pac-10 road games very well and that's something we are conscious of and need to improve on. It will be a difficult task, going over there and playing a good football team. They are still a great team. Defensively, they create a lot of challenges for you across the board. Offensively, they are very methodical in what they want to do. Regardless of who they play at quarterback, they are still going to do what they do and they do it well. The turnovers have really led to their demise like most teams...very rarely is any team good enough to turn the ball over and win the game...that's been the problem for us at times. Certainly, this is a unique challenge. That's not a concern of ours about USC's mindset. We know they are an excellent football team and we need to go over there with a strong attitude and execute some things on both sides of the ball and keep it close.'

On pluses and minuses of the team this season

'Offensively, we are closer. We really like our personnel across the board. Our execution against good teams has not been what it needs to be, but that's a process that is going to take place throughout the year. We are getting better throughout the season. (Offensive coordinator) Coach Dykes and his staff has done an excellent job offensively, just finetuning it and getting the little intricacies that you need in order to be good. When you play a challenging schedule, it's something that we have to continually work's getting this offense to execute in tough environments like this Saturday afternoon. Defensively, I think we have been disappointed in our overall play. We haven't made nearly as many plays in competitive games and that's really led to our demise. I think defensively, we have struggled. We have just been a little off all season. It has not been just one guy or to replace this or do that. We are just not executing. We are getting guys out of place. We are just not playing quite as well as we did a year ago and hopefully that will improve the second half of the season.'

On what Sonny Dykes has brought to the team this season and play of quarterback Willie Tuitama

'Willie has gotten better. You go through a transition and the consistency is not where we need it to be, but I think Willie grows every time he steps on the field. I think Saturday, he took a step backwards, but we didn't keep ourselves in a good position because we got down. It's like USC against Stanford. When you get down, they are going to come at you at all angles and we are not equipped very well, it's something we didn't handle well on Saturday by getting down and having to drop back and let those guys rush is something that's very good. It's something we can't do, it's something most teams can't do. We need to do a better job keeping ourselves in manageable situations. We did a poor job of that last week and put a lot of pressure on our offensive line and Willie and we are just not prepared to do that at this time. (Sonny) is an excellent coach. We have the right personnel to do what we want to do. It's just some growing pains that you are going to go through.'

On if there is a different preparation for John David Booty or Mark Sanchez at quarterback for USC

'Not really. I go through the ends of games and watching them play games. They are not going to change what they do.'

On running game taking a step back last week

'I thought we ran the ball decently at times, but you know what it's like when you get sacked eight times, you lose 75 yards in rushing. I thought Nick (Grigsby) continues to show progress and had some excellent runs in the Oregon State game. I think he missed one play where he missed a hole, but overall, we are pleased with his instincts as a running back, his speed and quickness. He's a good player, from southern California and the Whitter area. We are pleased with development in a lot of areas. He really competes at a high level and that's the thing I really like about him.'

On combating USC's front seven

'Man, that's tough. You have to look at USC and then Oregon State and UCLA as having really good fronts. They are physical and fast. You have to work through the game and keep yourself in manageable situations and not take a bunch of negative yard plays, that's when you get into trouble. I thought Stanford did a good job of picking away and that's what you have to do against a great front seven like (USC) has. You have to move first downs and work on against them. Those are the little wins you have to have against them to keep it close.'

On parity in college football

'I think there is parity even at the highest level. I think it tells you two things. One, turnovers will kill you in any given game if you give them an opportunity to win games and injuries, no matter how deep you think you are, it plays an effect on your season. Most teams can overcome one or two, but when you start getting decimated, it hurts you a little bit. You can see offensively...changing all those integral parts on your offensive line really has an effect on what you do. I think that and the running know C.J. Gable is an excellent player and losing players like that takes a toll on your team. That's the parity of college football and I don't think the media as a whole understands that. That's just listening to those people on Saturdays telling everyone that this team can't do that. I mean, how many times are they wrong? The last two weeks, I would say probably a great deal. I'm not criticizing. That's just what they do. That's the parity of college football. I don't think it's ever been like this. That's something that in the Pac-10 we need to be a part of and I've been a little disappointed that I keep thinking that we are close. We just have to keep improving. Anyone can get anyone and it's probably no more true a statement than right now.

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