Pete Carroll-Jeff Tedford Talk About Saturday's Game At The Coliseum

Nov. 4, 2008

November 4, 2008

THE MODERATOR: Happy election day. Blue room or red room today?
COACH CARROLL: Cardinal and gold.
Hey, got a great matchup coming this week. Terrific schedule for us, in the middle of the PAC 10. Facing another team that has the chance to be the conference champion. The respect we have for Jeff's team, the program they've had for years, just kind of comes together here. Here we go again.

We're thrilled to be playing these guys in the Coliseum. We had a really good start to the season here so far. The kids are playing really well here, getting pumped up for the games in just the right fashion. Brought great energy here. Expect to do that again.

This is such a well balanced football team we're playing that we're going to have to hit it on all cylinders here, including the special teams, in every way.

Keep talking about they've transitioned their defensive scheme because it's drawn a lot of our attention in trying to figure out what they're doing. They've gone from 4 3 principles to 3-4 principles. They've done it very well. They have good numbers, a lot of turnovers, doing some really good things there. Really a good, balanced offense with terrific home run hitters at the running back spot, experience at the quarterback spot, the system, all of that.

This is a great match up for all of us. Pumped up about it. We're going to crank this week up and get going and try to put together a great week again. Do it one day at a time as we prepare for this thing.

Big time. Excited about it. Looking forward to it.

Q. In your 56 0 win over Washington, you dropped a spot in the BCS ratings, two spots.
COACH CARROLL: One, two...

Q. How are you going to improve this week? Do you have to beat Cal 70-0?
COACH CARROLL: If we were trying to affect the polls, we might have an answer to that question. Can't even think less about it other than to answer your questions. It still doesn't factor into what's going on for us. We have to win this football game, get a good week of preparation to do that. It sounds really mundane, all that, but that's what's happening.

We've learned over the years that's the only way you can go about this, to maximize your chance to focus properly. So it just doesn't matter. There's a lot of games to be played. All that will be determined in time. We'll see where the BCS election process takes us. We'll see what that's all about.

Q. Do you think that reflects the insanity of the BCS?
COACH CARROLL: I don't know if I'd call it insane.

Q. You drop two when you win 56-0.
COACH CARROLL: I don't think there's any explanation for it I can help you with. I don't understand how the thing works. I don't really know.

Maybe you guys will answer for it one of these days. Maybe you know and I don't. I'm sure you do. What is the criteria of the process? Is it to pick the team that has the best season, that has the season that you like the most and feel best about voting for? Or is it the best team at the end of the year, the team that would win a playoff system if you did have it?

I don't really know what the design and the direction of the voting is pointed at. Because I think there's two different things. If you're trying to determine who would win out if you had a playoff system, that would likely be the playoff champion, or is it the team that you think had the most exciting year and you like the way it happened and all?

I think there's a difference there. I think it's difficult to understand really what is behind everybody's choices. That's why I can't give it any concern because I don't know how it works. I don't know how the computer thing works. I don't get that part of it. I don't know how the computer knows how good another team is. I don't understand that. I don't know how they can evaluate who you're playing and stuff and all that.

That's why I'm coaching football (laughter).

Q. How often do you think of Oregon State then?
COACH CARROLL: That's one of those games. I've got a list of 'em that stay in the back of my mind, how they've affected our time, affected seasons, played a big part in it. That game's hanging. It's still hanging there. They got a lot out of it. We got hammered by our performance. It is what it is. It happened and it's truth and all that. It's still hanging there obviously.

Q. Since you're so good at all this stuff, how do you allow one game a year to affect you against a lousy team?
COACH CARROLL: I think any team that ever plays in any sport has games. You know, there's games. How many teams win every one of them?

Q. Against lousy teams.
COACH CARROLL: Those games add up and they weigh in (laughter). Again, it speaks to the challenge of how difficult it is to play well every single time you go out, regardless of who you're playing. It doesn't matter where the team comes from or what their season is like. It's on that day, you got to play it. It happens.

Q. You're so on top of things.
COACH CARROLL: Thanks for saying that. What is the question?

Q. You're on top of things.
COACH CARROLL: I wanted you to say all that nice stuff again leading up to the question (laughter).

Q. How can you allow that to happen every year? I read about the glorious times of USC.
COACH CARROLL: All I can tell you is we're trying to win every one, every time out. Sometimes things happen. Sometimes you overcome it, sometimes you don't.

Q. You have a plan. How have you fixed that plan?
COACH CARROLL: Is there a meter working on that boat of yours? You got your boat hat on there today (laughter).

Q. You have your plan.
COACH CARROLL: Yeah, I've worked really hard at it. Every game you work to make sure you've covered all of the aspects that can affect your performance. A big part of it is the mental side of it. A big part of it's what's happened before, have you left it behind, does it affect you, all that? In particular, coming off a high profile win like the one we came off of, that was an issue that I could see coming for months ahead. I had set my sights trying to make sure I didn't leave any stone unturned to get it prepared and it still happened.

I look at this week, the next week, every week in the same fashion. Each game kind of has a different element to it, in the story line. So we try to make sense of it so we don't fall prey or allow ourselves to be affected by what just happened, win or lose, in a way that can affect your next game out. That's really the challenge.

I mean, I don't know that it's rocket science. But, man, it will get you once in a while. But that's what we deal with. I love this challenge. I'd much rather be fighting that challenge of the game that you fall out on rather than trying to be 6 5 or something like that.

But, you know, I can't say I got it nailed 'cause it still happens, you know. I do look back and treasure the years when we were able to overcome the games that were like that and find a way to win. We had a very difficult game in Arizona a couple weeks ago that I was thrilled to get the win. They're a good team. They were playing for first place, all that, like this game coming up. But we really felt like as the game went on, we could have been in a lot different situation had we performed a little better.

Things get you. It's not always what you can control. Sometimes it's those other guys playing really well and doing really good things.

A lot goes into it. You know, I guess I'm glad we're not a machine 'cause we would have no feelings. We do get affected by stuff sometimes and we don't control it as well as we'd like. That's the great challenge we face. We'll keep working on it, see if we can figure it out.

Q. Rick Neuheisel felt you were outcoached in that game.
COACH CARROLL: I'm sure Rick has his own opinion. I'm sure that's probably not it (laughter).

Q. You're coming up on a hundred games at SC. Do the losses stay with you? You have many more wins than losses. Do the losses stay with you longer?
COACH CARROLL: Oh, yeah. They live in infamy.

Q. Can you celebrate the wins as much?
COACH CARROLL: No. I think after a while in coaching, you know, the losses stick much heavier in the back of your mind than the numbers of wins and all that kind of stuff. It takes you so far away from where you could have been. I mean, not to dig up a bunch of old stories here, but the Texas opportunity that we had was years in the making. So that one is such a big deal because it takes so many years to get to that point where you've won a couple of championships in a row, all that kind of stuff.

Now we live with the challenge of the conference thing, trying to see if we can find a way to win the conference again. You put all those years together, if you don't get it one year, now all of those years it took you to get there are gone now. You know, it makes is exciting, challenging, and a thrill to be part of.

But the losses weigh much heavier. I think anybody that's ever been in the game will tell you that.

Q. Rick has his opinion. What were your opinions? Were you outcoached in that game?
COACH CARROLL: I thought Mike Riley did a great job. I don't know what that phrase means about being outcoached. He did a fantastic job with his team. They were ready. They took advantage of it, all that. I mean, you can call it what you want.

Q. Where does this PAC 10 rank in your mind in the eight years you've been here?
COACH CARROLL: Well, we had a terrible season in terms of quarterbacks' health. The guys have just been pounded. You can go right along the schedule and see all of the teams that have had their guys banged up. Our guy's been banged up, too, but he's been able to make it. You guys know the list. They've all just been hammered. The quarterback is such a critical part, particularly in offenses that are so dedicated to throwing the football and moving it around and doing all the dynamic things that we do. The quarterback position is enormous.

You can go back to the example, where would Washington be if Jake Locker would have been around? He's a great football player, great competitor, all that. The impact he had. When he falls out... Look what happened to Oregon last year. We struggled through our deal with John David Booty a year ago. It's just that big of a factor. I think it just kind of mounted this year. I think it's unusual in that regard.

There's no question that it's helped us play better defense. Our numbers and the things we put up here at this point is a benefit of teams that have been banged up, all of that. And, of course, good play. I don't want to take anything away from it. It's still seizing the opportunity. But sometimes when players aren't there for you, the big time guys, it makes an enormous difference.

I don't know, other conferences, you can look around, conferences that are maybe at the top of their game, check and see what's happening with their quarterbacks, see if that's been a factor. I bet it hasn't.

Q. I think it's obvious you are being hurt by the perception the Pac-10 Conference is down. That seeming to be a pervading theme.
COACH CARROLL: Who said fair? It is what it is. We can only do what we can do. We can play the games we get on our schedule and do the best we can with them. I know the problem here is that everybody thinks that our life ends with the what the BCS says. I don't feel like that. We can only do what we can do.

Had we had all of our games won at this point, I don't think from the way it looks, and I don't know how this works, I don't know if we'd be the No. 1 team if we won all our games. Right now there's a lot of games left. There's four weeks. There's a whole month of this season. All kinds of stuff can happen. It always does.

You guys have asked me, I've heard these same questions year in and year out. We kind of keep waiting it out, see what happens. We're right there pretty close to the top of it at the end if we can win our games. That's why this month is so important. If we can get this win, squeeze out the next couple, we have a chance to be right in the thick of things in that consideration.

Most importantly for us is to win this conference. That's what we're trying to get done. It's always been our goal. We're going to keep shooting at that as long as we're here because that is within our reach and our grasp and our control. The other thing isn't obvious. If there was a playoff system, then it would be within everybody's control.

Q. Can you properly judge a team by the conference it's in?
COACH CARROLL: I think you have to do the best you can. Can you properly? I don't know. Who can properly figure this thing out? It's so subjective, I don't know how you figure it out. That's why even presidential candidates want to see playoffs, you know. Everybody wants to see 'em. Then we don't talk like this, you know.

Q. Would you be in favor of the PAC 10 adding a conference championship game at the end because the way the BCS system is structured, that enhances your chance for another quality win?
COACH CARROLL: See, I don't know what I'm talking about here. I'll take a shot at this. In our conference we get to play everybody, so you've worked your way through the conference. I think in some of those other conferences, I don't know the formats, I think they have divisions. It calls for an opportunity to play a lot. If we had divisions, then I think so.

The way it is, you get a chance to beat everybody. You come out beating everybody, the way it works out, it's not necessary. I don't think we should do it to appease somebody else because we're not playing to me we're not playing to win the BCS, we're playing to win our conference. Whatever happens at the end of it, until there's a playoff system, we'll go for the whole shooting match. There isn't one now, so...

Q. That hasn't soured you on college football?
COACH CARROLL: No. I don't like it, though. I think it stinks. I don't think it's the way it should be. But all we can do is keep kind of talking about it. The really interesting thing is who is making these decisions? You guys can't even talk to the people that are calling the shots. You can talk to people that have opinions about it, who say they know somebody that might have a play in it, but we don't even know who this is. It's kind of like the Wizard of Oz: Somebody behind that screen there, but we don't know who it is.

Q. The thought might be if you end up with one loss, an SEC team ends up with one loss, a Big 12 team ends up with one loss, look at how much stronger those conferences are. That's a thought. Does that make sense to you? This year they are really a whole lot stronger, it seems like.
COACH CARROLL: I don't know that. I'd like to play them and find out. We've played them over the years when they've been really strong and we've been able to beat 'em. I don't know.

I guess you're saying if you bank it on what you're asking, if you bank it on the other people you play, how good you are, then there is reason for things to come out scaled. But the astute viewer, which I would think the coaches who know the game, the people that are more tied to it that live it day in and day out, should have more say so. They would know best. They should know best. They're the experts. They should be able to figure it out in time.

But unfortunately we still have to ask for people's opinions and stuff like that. Even in years past, hasn't there been issues about people in conference kind of voting in a certain way that was questionable because they didn't want their conference or they did want their conference to survive?

Let's just play.

Q. Can't leave it up to the astute coaches then.
COACH CARROLL: I think that's the best body with the greatest expertise, the most obvious expertise. Not to say that the writers don't have an expertise. But I think the coaches should be the guys that should be weighed the most heavily.

Q. There are best bodies in Las Vegas where you would be favored over any team this year.
COACH CARROLL: The best bodies (laughter)?

Q. Odds makers.
COACH CARROLL: I don't believe what I just heard (laughter).

Q. Do you find that ironic? Last year you would have been a four point favorite against LSU.
COACH CARROLL: I don't know what that means. Where does that come from? That's still somebody else behind the screen. We don't know who that is either, so... I'm glad everybody's amused. This is good.

Q. You don't follow the BCS. You say you don't know much about it. Do you find yourself having to root for like a Texas Tech last week against Texas?
COACH CARROLL: Really, that's a little more personal. That was Texas. They got us a few years ago. Had nothing to do with the BCS thing (laughter).

Q. How about Penn State/Iowa coming up?
COACH CARROLL: I don't have much feel for either one. I don't care. I would always vote for Joe Pa.

Q. Are you rooting for UCLA over Oregon State?
COACH CARROLL: That would be good. We're talking about our conference now. We'd like to win this championship. That would help our cause to win the championship. We'd like to have the opportunity to control what goes on at the Rose Bowl also. That would be a good thing.

Q. Considering your formidable past success at USC, do you think the expectations of your program have become too fanciful?
COACH CARROLL: No. I love that our expectations and standards are what they are. Your guys' expectations aren't higher than mine. We want to win every single game. We'd like to win them going away.

Q. When you stumble, there's great scrutiny.
COACH CARROLL: You guys get to do that. You guys get to do that. That's part of the deal. You guys get to do that. I agree. I agree. You and I have finally agree on something, yeah. But we did. So we have to live with it and go with what we have available. We're going to keep on cranking and see if we can get something done here.

Q. Quarterback situation or not, wouldn't you agree the PAC 10 is quite a bit down this year?
COACH CARROLL: I think that's the reason I think that's what's going on here. I think that's the big deal here. Go back to the weekend when the Mountain West kicked tail on the PAC 10 that week. That was a big shocker for everybody. I don't know how that happened, other than the fact their conference is loaded with good teams. Utah is good. Boise is good. All those guys play good football. But, you know, nobody wants to hear that.

Q. You would know better, but when you were talking to Bay Area media, did they bring up the NFL, the 49ers when you talked?
COACH CARROLL: You know, in all honesty, yes, they did.

Q. Did you give them the same brush off?
COACH CARROLL: No, I just talked about their new head coach Mike Singletary.

Q. When you look at the film of Jahvid Best, remind you of anyone?
COACH CARROLL: He's a good player. He's really good. He wears the same number as Joe McKnight. They're kind of built the same. They look real similar. They have kind of a manner about the way they run that's similar. They really run with speed. Natural comparison is Reggie Bush. Are they like Reggie? Reg was really unique style wise, an extraordinary burst. Even if all those guys, they raced in the hundred, it would be a great race in the hundred meters. They all ran about the same time. I think Reggie played just a little more explosively than anybody we've seen since.

But he's a great player. He can do anything that you want. He can catch the ball. He can run well. He's a good blocker, too. He can certainly score from anywhere on the field. Shane Vereen is really good, too. A 1 2 punch that's really fast. All three of those guys are track guys. They all have a similar factor about them.

Q. Coach Jeff Tedford is known for his quarterbacks. Is there a defining characteristic to their running game that they have?
COACH CARROLL: He's a really good coach. He's a great offensive mind. He has been that for years. Way back when he was getting things going at Fresno, he's always been a highlighted coach in terms of putting up great numbers and stats and high profile players, all that. I don't think he's anywhere near confined to quarterbacks. I think that's something he's been labeled with.

Obviously, as you just pointed out, they've had a terrific running game for a number of years. They run 200 yards a game again. He's just a really good coach. I think that kind of coaching, that kind of balance that he stands for in his offense allows for the expression these guys' talents. He's really good at it.

Q. On this election day there was a comment in the Columbus Dispatch, they were listing all the coaches. Said you would be the secretary of defense. Is that accurate?
COACH CARROLL: I don't know. I don't even know what you're talking about. I don't know. Which Columbus are we talking about? Georgia or Ohio?

Q. (Question about the season thus far.)
COACH CARROLL: If we were measuring it right up to this point, we're playing the best. We've got a big finish here coming up against really good teams and good coaches. To this point, we're right up there. We've had good fortune with the teams we've played as well. I understand that. A couple teams have been struggling on offense. So we got to still wait and see.

Our numbers in the turnover areas are hovering where you can get good. We're not quite there yet, but we're plus six or seven, plus seven? We're closer. You have to get in double digits before you're having a good year. But we're getting close.

Some of the stuff in here, the second half play, has been really extraordinary. We've given up a two yard drive and a 15 yard drive for touchdowns all season in the second half. That's pretty good stuff. But it's only as good as this next time out. That's already in the past. We've got to do something about it again against a really good team. If we do it again this week, play really good D, we're getting closer to being one of the best groups we've ever had.

Q. Did you say you're going to have good finishes against really good teams.
COACH CARROLL: I said if we're fortunate enough to have a big finish.

Q. You look at the rest of your schedule and think there's some really good teams.
COACH CARROLL: I know these teams can beat us. They all have in the past. I know they can.

Q. What did you think about Marc Tyler?
COACH CARROLL: He played really well. Whenever he's had his chances, I think he played back in the Virginia game, like the last time I remember him getting some good, serious time. He's been banged up a lot. He's really good. He's physical. He's creative. He can make you miss. Two and a quarter, big enough to run through stuff. He catches the ball really well. He's developing to be a good blocker. He's a very willing blocker. He's a good all around football player already. Just getting warmed up.

When we got a chance to get him healthy last week, got him out there, we wanted to get him as much time as possible to get him going. With Joe down, Allen Bradford down, it's not the same situation that you might have perceived at the beginning of the year. We got four guys available to go, five if we can keep everybody going. We're working at it. I think Marc is going to figure in. We trust him. Tough with the football. We got to get him more shots to make sure he's really secure with that ball. So far he's been really good, really liked him.

Q. How do you think college football will end its season and how far off do you think it is from a playoff system happening?
COACH CARROLL: We should end our season with a championship game and a big party afterwards.

I don't have that nailed. The reason is you still are going to have to go to some type of an evaluation process to get to the final teams that would be part of the final tournament. The 64 thing, is that how many teams they go with in basketball? The 65th team is pissed. I understand that. At least you've covered a lot of ground there. In our time, we don't have time to do that. You'd have to get it down to eight teams. Somewhere there has to be a selection process who is going to eliminate somebody who has a better record than somebody above them. You're still going to upset some teams.

But I think in taking eight teams, you're most likely not going to leave a team out of there that would win the whole thing. Could be. It could happen. So you're getting closer to it. Just three weeks later you can figure it out. Three games later you can figure it out.

Q. Is it realistic in the next however many years?
COACH CARROLL: It's all you got to do is say okay and it's done.

Q. Why hasn't it been done?
COACH CARROLL: I don't know who the Wizard of Oz is. I don't know who's doing this. I don't know who's behind all of this.

Q. Have you talked to your own president about this issue?
COACH CARROLL: No. I think I heard him, Dr. Sample, talk about representing the mentality of it a few years back. One of my close friends, a guy named Ted Leland that was at Stanford, we kind of grew up together, football and all. He said a long time ago that the presidents are never going for it. Nothing's really changed on that. So I've kind of held on to that thought. He was involved with all that stuff at the highest levels, in those conversations and all.

The reasons sound really kind of weak when we talked about there's enough emphasis on football already, there's too many games, whatever. We're talking about playing during Christmas vacation. School is not even in, all that. Basketball plays all those games. Baseball plays the longest World Series process anybody could ever dream of. It's weeks and weeks and weeks. It's awesome. It's great for the game, for the sport. It's fun. It makes sense. It's the American way. Keep on playing till you find out who's the last guy standing. I don't get it any other way.

I think it has to do with money. I think it has to do with control, the amounts of money they can make in certain ways. That sometimes gets in the way of clear thinking.

Q. Certainly done away with the argument on every other level of every other sport.
COACH CARROLL: Every sport.

Q. Even football every other level.
COACH CARROLL: Yeah.

Q. Is this system better than the old way?
COACH CARROLL: I don't know. I think every year everybody is trying to get it better, refine it. I know there's people working hard to not be embarrassed by the way it comes out. More credit to 'em, all that. They're just people that are trying to make the system right because there's a system. If there wasn't a system, those guys could do something else. Fun talking about the whole playoff system here.

Q. Who did you vote for today?
COACH CARROLL: I did vote, as a matter of fact. I voted early. I was a little bit behind on some of the issues. I haven't been keeping up on it. I had to go like you do in the SAT test, you don't guess at the ones you don't know the answers to. I skipped some of the stuff.

I voted for Obama today, was excited about it. Fired up for it. That's a good one to end it on. Thanks.

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