Quotes from Rudy Carpenter's Weekly Press Conference
On his thumb:
'It's fine. I just jammed it on Keegan's chest. It was a little miscommunication in the run play. I wasn't happy about it because it was my throwing hand and it was hurting. Obviously it was an important time in the game, so I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to throw the rest of the game or at that moment, but I was fortunate enough that I was able to throw the rest of the game.'
On the accuracy of his throws after he injured his thumb:
'I think it actually got a little bit better. I don't know what it is, but it seems like this year I need something to happen, whether it's an interception or a fumble or an injury to calm down and start playing better. If I would have known that, I would have done it the first play of the game.'
On the adjustments as the game progresses:
'We came into half time and it was really not a secret what we needed to do. I think I just needed to start completing some passes. I think I just needed to relax a little bit, calm down a little bit and just start playing. I wasn't doing that in the first half. I made a lot of adjustments in the run game in the second half, just changing some of my running schemes and the way we were going to block it. That's one of the things the coaches do a real good job with, game in and game out, and I think that's why we've been so good in the second half of all these games, because they give us a chance to be successful in the second half.'
On how the team is playing:
'Yeah, I think we've been playing well. Obviously there is going to be times in game where you struggle a little bit, but I think overall we've done pretty well throughout the whole year. I think we are going to continue to get better as the season keeps on going. I think we have only gotten better and we haven't gotten any worse.'
On the performance of the defense:
'Remembering back to the spring ball, the offense beat our defense a lot because they were still learning a lot of new things and I think they were still trying to find out some personal situations. I think one of the biggest things is they didn't have Robert James and I think Robert James has been one of the biggest keys to how well that defense has been doing. I wasn't really sure how good our defense is going to be, but I think they are definitely the strongest part of our team right now. Troy Nolan, Justin Tryon and Robert James are all doing a great job and we need them to continue doing that for us to keep on being successful.'
On the winning the game against California:
'I think it was a big win for our team and obviously for the program. We have won seven straight but we haven't beaten a nationally ranked team yet. Cal was ranked number two in the BCS polls at one point, and I think people really wanted to see if we were for real and if we could compete and win against the best teams in the country. I think we did it and we came back and played good in the second half against a really good team. I think we need to show things like that, so people will really start believing in us.'
On the crowd noise:
'I don't think the crowd affected us or the noise, because it was at home so it is quiet for us (on offense). I don't know if it is going to help us for this week in Oregon, but crowd noise for the away team is definitely a hard thing to overcome. I wish our home stadium was like this for every game, it would be a real home field advantage for us. It's a hard thing to do when it is loud and hard to communicate and it is hard to play in that kind of noise.'
On how he feels others would describe him in the game:
'I don't really know. Probably just intense I would say. I think the receivers know and the whole team knows that sometimes I just get caught up in the moment of the game, with the intensity of the game and the emotion in the game. I'm a competitor. I want to compete and win and I think they know that. I think they like being in the huddle with m, and playing with me at home, I hope they wouldn't want to be with anybody else.'
On the importance of this week's game:
'I think they are only going to continue to get bigger as we keep on going through the season. It's one of those things that when you keep on winning and getting more attention, every game becomes the biggest game of the year. I think Washington was the biggest game of the year going into the bye week and then all of the sudden, Cal was the biggest game of the year because we hadn't beat a nationally ranked component. Oregon is now the biggest game of the year because we are two of the top teams in the Pac-10 and in the country. It is something we have to get used to as a team and I think we've responded well so far and all the games have been big for us. This is going to be our true test though, because it's going to be on the road and probably the toughest stadium to play in Pac-10.'
On the offensive line in last weekend's game vs. Cal:
'When we went back and watched the film, it was very apparent and evident on how physical our offensive line really was with Cal's defense. Towards the end of the game, it really showed because Cal's defense was so tired and they were worn down a bit from those guys being so physical, which is a big reason why we were able to hold the ball for five minutes and 40 seconds at the end of the game. Our offensive line is doing a great job, they've been playing well. That was big especially because we had a different starting running back in the game for the first time all year and we need them to keep on doing that.'
On how excited Coach Erickson was:
'It's a lot of fun for us because we get excited and we want to have fun. Coach Erickson has been there before, but it's fun to see him really having fun with us too and enjoying what we're doing too because we all put in a lot of hard work. I think that everyone likes to see that Coach Erickson isn't just a square.'
On staying healthy:
'Quarterbacks always have a tough time staying healthy because team's really want to usually try and get after the quarterback and get as many hits on that person as they can. I think for Dennis Dixon and I we've been very fortunate to have a good offensive line protecting us and giving us a chance to stay healthy. I think it also has to do with a little bit of luck as well, so it's hard to say.'
On the use of their tight ends:
'It was the first time we had Brent Miller back in a couple of weeks. Brent makes a big difference in our offense because he is the most experienced tight end we have. He knows what he's doing; he's smart; he's been around a lot. Of course we always want to use our tight ends as much as we can, but in certain situations we're going to go with the guys that we have. I think Brady has done a good job and so has Tyrice throughout the course of the year but with Brent it just allows us to have more packages in there with the run game and the throwing game to try and give them more opportunities to catch balls.'
On the Oregon offense and defense:
'I haven't seen much of their defense. I know it's a fairly same style of defense as Cal is. It's Oregon, they've got good athletes. They're going to be fast and strong and physical. Obviously we learned that last year. Oregon was another game for me last year where I struggled and didn't play very well.'
On how his life is different now that it was two months ago:
'I think it's really the same, to be honest with you. Obviously there are more people now who pay attention and who know what we're doing, but I try to keep it fairly simple and try to keep it the same. As far as the pressure goes, it's hard to say but I guess we'll find out on Saturday once we get into Autzen Stadium and we start to play. I'm just really having fun getting a chance to be a part of a good team and a winning and successful team. It's been awhile since we've had a season like this, so it just feels good. It's fun right now and hopefully we can keep winning.'