Quotes from Rudy Carpenter's Weekly Press Conference

Nov. 26, 2007

On playing after a loss:
'It's only our second lost of the season, so I think guys are ready to play. It's obviously our biggest game of the year for us right now. U of A is our biggest rival and it's a game we look forward to every single year. We have a countdown to the game in our weight room, so I would hope that guys don't have trouble getting up for this game. I know I will be up for it.'

On USC's talent compared to other teams:
'SC is a really good team. The thing USC has that a lot of other teams do not have is so much depth and talent everywhere. They can just keep bringing guys in and there is no drop off. Their front forward, defensive linemen and three linebackers was the best front seven we have seen all year. I know two of those guys will be first round picks in the drafts. Those guys are really good and they are a talented team all the way around. They are definitely by far the most talented team we have played and maybe one of the most talented teams I have played since I have been here.'

On this week's preparations:
'It is a big week for us. It is a rivalry game so there is a lot of emotion in it. It is a big week for both schools and for all of the players. The biggest thing is that it is a big week for the seniors on both teams too. It is the last time they get to play in a game, excluding the bowl game, and last time they get to play at home. It is something you want to do, sending the seniors out right.'

On the importance of the game to the fans:
'I think it has been amplified from the beginning of the season. We do our fan photo day at the beginning of the year and the only thing everyone says is beat U of A. They say they don't care about how many games we win throughout the year, but to beat U of A. So, I think it is obviously very important to all of the fans and very important to us as well.'

On the success he has had against the rivalry team and the difference in preparation:
'I think the preparation for every game really stays the same, but it is a rivalry game and I think there are always some tricks both teams might have up their sleeve and guys have to be ready for that. The success that I have had in the past two games is important to me. For me personally, to be 2-0 right now going against U of A and hopefully get a chance to go 3-0 this Saturday. Like I said, one of my goals since I have been here is to beat U of A every single year we play them. So, it is a hard thing to do because U of A is a good team, but it has been fun so far.'

On playing U of A each year right when they really start to play well:
'Yeah, I think that was the same case last year. They were playing very well towards the end of the season when the beat Cal, Oregon and Washington State. I pay attention to what they do and I like college football. Obviously I watched them play against Oregon a couple of weeks ago and they played very well on defense and on offense, so we are going to have to be our best.'

On blitzing:
'I think it is something we are going to practice this week in preparation for this game. Of course I think our offensive line and running backs can all handle it. It is something we are accustomed to right now, so we just have to make a couple big plays off those blitzes and hopefully we can get them to stop.'

On U of A's secondary:
'I think their secondary is pretty good. I think Antoine Cason is a very good corner; he plays the run very well and the pass very well. I don't think where all of the teams rank really matters. It is just a rivalry game, so I think all of that stuff just gets thrown out the window. We just need to play the game and see what happens. I don't think any of that other stuff matters.'

On the sense of feel on the field against the rivalry school:
'I think once the game starts it just becomes any other game. We are still going to run the same plays, the refs are still going to call the same penalties and we're still going to have all of the same things. It is before the game or the week leading up to the game, where I think there is a lot of emotion. Guys talk about how much they want this game on both teams. I think there is more emotion leading up to the game and once the game starts it just becomes football. It really just comes down to executing, who plays better, less penalties and all of those things to who is going to win the game. I think that is obviously the important thing in rivalry games is for everyone to keep their cool and not get those penalties, which can really cost teams.'

On Willie Tuitama:
'I don't know him, but I have played against him twice and that is all. Before he got there they were struggling a little bit and since he has been there, he has helped give them opportunities to come close to bowl games a couple of years. That is hard to do, going to bowl games, and I don't think people understand that. I have a lot of respect for what he does and I give him credit for that.'

On Coach Erickson's view of the game:
'I don't think he is taking it differently. Coach Erickson has been a part of a lot of rivalry games and I'm sure he understands the magnitude of U of A and ASU. I don't think he will prepare any differently and he will have us ready to go.'

On ASU's offense:
'I think we are kind of where we have been all year. Up and down with some games good, some games not so good. We are still trying to find our way, which I think is also to be suspected with our new offense. I think we have done just enough on offense to be successful, which is why we're down two.'

On the screen game:
'Well, we scored 24 points, but it obviously was not enough to win. I think the screen game worked a little bit and I think the three-step game worked a little bit. Obviously there is still so much we can do and we just need to get better in some areas. With the style, it is something we do everyday in practice and it is something that I have done since I have been playing. Like I said, the screen aspect of it is something that was good for us. That was something that we kind of got away from all year and we finally got back to that, which was good for us.'

On this game and the bowl scenario:
'It's about the same. It's U of A. I know they are a rival and it is a big game for us and a lot of the fans. Then again, it's just another Pac-10 game that we are playing. There was a big bowl scenario last week, there was one the week before and there was a big bowl scenario against San Jose State. We are just trying to win as many games as we can. I don't think we are really looking at the big bowl scenarios because we can't really control any of that.'

On ASU's offensive line:
'We have had our issues everywhere on the team this year. With Brandon Rodd out right now, that is obviously a big issue for us. Brandon is our left tackle and is probably one of our best offensive linemen and we need him to be ready to play. So, hopefully he will be ready to play well. If he can't, it will still work out for us. We have a lot of guys who can come in and play and we can move guys around who have had a lot of game experience. I think Robert Gustavis could come in, which will be fine, so I'm not really concerned with that.'

On the seniors:
'I think the seniors here have been through a lot and since they got here. I know their first year, for most of the seniors here, didn't go to a bowl game and then they have been to three straight now. Then for their senior year they had to deal with a coaching change and they stuck it out and stayed. I think a lot of those guys made it real easy on Coach Erickson, when the switch happened. I think they really helped bring the team together and let everybody know that everything was going to be okay. Myself and other teammates look up to the seniors to really get feel for how they feel since they have been here longer and have more experience. Now, with all of the things they have been through they have a chance to possibly play in a BCS game if things work out for us, or if not a BCS game, a big bowl game. It's important for us to try to send those guys out the right way.'

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