USC, Penn State Dec. 29 Press Conference Quotes Trojan defense and Nittany Lion offense meet the media.

Dec. 30, 2008


Defensive Coordinator Nick Holt

On Penn State's defense...
'They're really balanced. They run the ball very well. They have a good running back. Their quarterback runs the ball reallywell. Offensive line is solid. They have good players all across the board. They really don't have weaknesses, offensively,that we can see on film. They don't make a lot of mistakes. They don't get penalized. They don't throw interceptions. Theydon't turn the ball over. They're very solid and they make you work on defense. They spread you out and run the ball andthey spread you out and throw the ball. [They are] a good play action team. We have our work cut out.'

'They have an offense similar to a couple teams we've played through out the season. In their run game and their personnelgroupings, they are a lot like Oregon State. With what they have done with zone play and play actions, they are very similarto other teams we play. They have shotgun runs like some of the other teams we play, like Oregon. They have a little bit ofeverything. They have the two back run play, when they bring in their fullback, like some of the teams in [the Pac-10]conference and like what we do. We have to prepare for everything.'

On Penn State resembling a typical Big Ten Conference team...
'I think they have more speed than the normal Big Ten team. It's all relative because they're all playing each other and theylook faster than the other guys. The receivers are all good football players.'

On the Big Ten Conference...
'We played Ohio State and we thought they were very good. We were fortunate enough to play them at home and catchthem early. We didn't get to see their running back [Chris Wells], he was out when we played Ohio State. We have greatrespect for the [Big Ten] conference. We know about Michigan and we've played them in the past. They're a little down rightnow because of the coaching change, but they'll get back up there. We played Illinois last year, as you well know, and wethought they had some great athletes there. The running back [Rashard Mendenhill] has the longest run against us allseason when he broke out in the third quarter and we couldn't catch him. So, we really respect that conference. We thinkIowa is a really good football team and they showed it by beating Penn State in a really close game. There are greatcoaches in that conference like there are in our conference. So maybe it's just cyclical, but I think they have some greatfootball programs in that conference.'

Linebacker Brian Cushing

On Penn State's offense...
'They're a really balanced attack and really good team we've seen this year. They'll attack you from all angles. Offensively,they are a very balanced team. Probably the best we've seen all year on film.'

On Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark...
'He's a dual threat type of guy. He can throw the ball long to a receiver or he can tuck the ball and run. Anytime you playagainst a quarterback like that you have to keep your options open and know that he can hurt you in many ways.'

On adjusting to Penn State's offense...
'You have to know what their doing on offense. You have to understand the game plan. You have to adjust to that andmake your own game plan.'

On playing with linebacker Rey Maualuga...
'We've been playing together for four years now. We understand each other a lot. It's a back and forth type of complementsituation. We help each other out a lot.'

On visiting Penn State on a recruiting visit...
'It was awesome. I went out there on an official visit. I really enjoyed going out there and seeing everything. Coach Paternoactually came to my house on a home visit. I enjoyed everything about it. I just wanted to get a little further away fromhome.'

On the east coast connection...
'USC has a lot of kids on its roster from New York, New Jersey, a lot of kids I played against in high school. A lot of kidsfrom back home will be watching.'

Linebacker Rey Maualuga

On USC and Penn State having two of the best defenses in the country...
'I feel like the Rose Bowl Game is going to be a great match-up, offensively and defensively. They [Penn State] have a greatteam coming in to the Rose Bowl Game and we have a great team as well. I know for sure this is going to be a great game.As for a high-scoring game, I think it will be neck and neck and come down to the fourth quarter.'

On the Penn State offense...
'The Penn State offense is disciplined. They are all quick and fast. [Quarterback] Daryll Clark is leading the way. EvanRoyster is a great running back. We have to make sure we are in the right place at the right time. We can't make anyshoestring tackles and we have to make sure we have two hands on the ball carrier.'

On putting pressure on Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark...
'We will bring pressure and try to confuse the quarterback. It will give us some good momentum early on. He's a goodquarterback. I am looking forward to playing against this offense. It is going to be a good game.'

Safety Taylor Mays

On USC's defensive match-up with Penn State...
'I think we are aggressive. We cover down field. Rey [Maualuga] is going to have the job of playing man-to-man on PennState's quarterback and we will do our best to not let them get in the backfield.'

On Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark...
'I think he is a duel threat being able to run and throw the football. He is not going to go down easily. He probably isn't goingto slide so we will have to take our shots on him and tackle him.'

Defensive Tackle Fili Moala

On the rhythm of the defense...
'We take pride in doing things right. With the rain, it has been difficult to always practice to the best of our ability. They[coaches] put us on some other grass the other day and we were flying around and beating each other up. We feel like ourteam is getting prepared for this game.'

On Penn State's offense...
'They have their own unique style to them. They play hard. They play very aggressively. They have a lot of guys that arevery capable. They fire off and are very tenacious. They have their own style to them.


Offensive Coordinator Galen Hall

On USC's defense...
'They have exceptional talent and exceptional speed. The front people have good height and can knock alot of passes down. They cover well. This is an exceptional defense. It will be a great challenge for us andwe're looking forward to it.'

'They run so well. You look at this defense and it really doesn't have a glaring weakness. They're downpeople can run. Their speed is exceptional.'

'They can come after you with just three people because they are so physical. They drop eight but there isstill pressure on the passer because their down people are active. They get rid of a block and they haveenough speed and quickness to get the quarterback.'

On Penn State head coach Joe Paterno coaching from the press box...
'It's probably easier with Joe [Paterno] up there in the press box because he can see things. We have anextra set of eyes. He can write a note down. The communication is better.'

On the pressure on quarterback Daryll Clark...
'Daryll set the bar very high. I think he was around 68 percent for a while. Everyone is comparing him tothe last game. We've had confidence in Daryll all along. He might have needed it more than we needed itin him. He might think he doesn't need an incomplete pass. He doesn't think he should do somethingwrong. He is probably tougher on himself than we are. He set a very high bar early.'

On watching film of the USC's loss to Oregon State...
'We looked at the Oregon State film. Are we going to be able to do what Oregon State did? I don't know.We'll try some of it. We won't try all of it. We're a different football team than Oregon State. It's helpful butis the answer to beat Southern Cal? No. We've got to do what Penn State does and hopefully it's goodenough.'

Quarterback Daryll Clark

On concerns about the Rose Bowl Game...
'USC is really tough, really good all the way across the board. We worry about what they are going to bringto the table. We worry about how the offense is going to execute. Once the game starts, you have to goout and play your best and hope for the best.'

On USC's defense...
'You have a lot of guys who can slide to the ball. They have a bunch of talented players who get after iteach and every time they're out there. Those guys are very intense in the game and the statistics show. Itwill be all about execution. It will be really important, every time we have an opportunity to score points, wedo it.'

'[USC is unique in the] frequency of their blitzing and how successful they've been getting at thequarterback and stopping the run.'

On practicing against Penn State's defense...
'As I've said, time and time again this season, `If things are going well against our defense then we're doingpretty well'. I think our defense is one of the best, hands down.'

On Penn State head coach Joe Paterno signing a three-year contract extension...
'I knew he was coming back. I didn't know for how many years but there was no doubt that he was comingback next year. Signing a three-year contract was icing on the cake. I keep trying to tell everyone, `he's notgoing anywhere'. He's still on top of the game and still doing very well. He looks very very well after the hipsurgery. He's walking around. He's trying to get himself in shape to be able to be out there on thesidelines.'

Wide Receiver Jordan Norwood

On playing USC in the Los Angeles area...
'It's almost like a road game. We've played on the road before and we've played in tough stadiums. Weplayed Florida State in Florida. Texas A&M in Texas. We've been down this road before and we're lookingforward to the challenge.'

On playing in his fourth bowl game in four years...
'It feels like it has come full circle, from playing in the Orange Bowl our freshman year. It's a littlebigger stage than that [at the Rose Bowl]. We look forward to the challenge and we just want tofinish our careers on a great note.'

Tailback Evan Royster

On if the season has exceeded his expectations...
'We knew we could come out and have a great season. We felt we had a good team. We felt we could goall the way. We still have all our dreams in tact. We are playing in the Rose Bowl Game, you can't reallycomplain. I came in wanting to do the best I could for my team. I have to give all the credit to my [offensive]line. They've done a great job this year. I would say they have exceeded my expectations.'

On USC's defense...
'They are definitely a great defensive team. They come out with a lot of athletes and they play together wellas a unit. We've found some holes in their defense, so we can open it up and try and run the ball againstthem.'

On his health after the end of the regular season...
'I felt pretty good. I was getting around 20 carries per game. They [coaches] really did a good job of keepingme fresh [during the games]. I never felt horrible after any games.'

On how practice has been leading up to the Rose Bowl Game...
'I feel like there is more intensity. We know it is a big game. We are coming out and practicing hard. I thinkwe have really buckled down the past couple of days. We are just trying to prepare and get better.'

Wide Receiver Deon Butler

On his career coming to an end at Penn State...
'After the Michigan State game, we realized that was our last home game and now we have one last time toput on the jersey. It has definitely hit us so we are putting in a little extra effort.'

On USC's defense...
'I've seen what everyone else has seen. They have a lot of athletes that run to the ball. They are wellcoached. Their defense definitely stands up to the name it gets. They run fast. They rally to the ball. It isgoing to be a real challenge. They are going to make you drive all the way down the field and not make anymistakes. I think their defense plays very similar to our defense.'

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