Pete Carroll-Jim Tressel Press Conference Quotes
Sept. 8, 2009
USC head football coach Pete Carroll
COACH CARROLL: Just a comment about last week. We were really happy and proud to get off to a good start, playing good football, and doing things like we like to see our team play. We played hard in all three phases.
Special teams had a nice start to the season under the new guidance of Brian Schneider. And we liked a lot of stuff that we saw there. It was great to get the win at home, and get started and all of that.
Obviously, it was really exciting to see Matt Barkley take charge of his duties and do a really good job with it. Everybody was watching, and I think the really exciting thing about that is he knew everybody was watching. He knew all the focus that was on him, and it didn't faze him, and he played the way he was capable of playing, which was really cool.
So it's a good start for us. We get ready. As this week goes, we start to pick up a couple of guys coming back to us. Kristofer O'Dowd practiced yesterday a little bit. And Averell Spicer practiced a little bit with us. So those guys are both looking to be ready for this week, which will be a nice boost for us.
And as we get ready for the match up, it's a great match up, and I know everybody's anticipated it...in a big way and because it's a Big Ten, Pac 10 deal and all. And, you know, long standing programs, and success and all of that and championship teams and things.
So it is really a great match up. They're an extraordinary program for all the obvious reasons. They've proven it year in and year out. Great history, great players and all that. And I think this kind of game will capture a lot of focus and attention.
So what we have to do is play really well under those circumstances and handle it properly. And take advantage of this great opportunity to win a big time game on the road that will help us, as other games have in years past. You know, if you can get this first big match up and put it behind you and get a win with it. It means a lot to the confidence, and the pressure going into the other games won't be so obviously, a big win as we go through the Pac-10 schedule.
I think it's an interesting match up. You've got young quarterbacks and that is something that is interesting from their standpoint last year.
Terrelle Pryor played against us for the first time extensively. I thought it was a big move. They hadn't done that earlier in games. They had the confidence in the kid for obvious reasons. He's a great player. He's a focal point guy. You can't watch them and not watch him.
So they've got Pryor going, and we've got Matt coming in in his first away game as a freshman. It will be a good matchup. We have a lot of good things happening...a big week of preparation for us. We're going to travel early and get out of here on Thursday. Take advantage of getting settled on the Friday day before the game. It will be a big event for our young that haven't been on the road before or in a situation like this. It's an extraordinary place to play. You know I was there years ago before the end zone was all fitted. It was extraordinarily loud. Great crowds and I can only imagine it's even more so...huge crowds and a very exciting match.
Q. (No microphone).
COACH CARROLL: We want to carry all of the same elements it takes to play well in that challenge. The difference in this game is really the noise. The rest of it is we're going to fabricate anything other than that. It's the noise that is the factor, and we have to deal with that really well.
This is just being, you know, a college fan as the kids are, and families and everybody's talking about the game. And everybody has a big build up to this one. But we have to keep it in the right perspective and make sure we take our ability to play well into the setting and do that.
If we do that, it's like we've done in other years, then we'll have a chance to win. If we don't, we'll get hammered, you know. So that's our whole approach is to stay the same, and to play like we're capable of playing regardless of what the circumstances are around us.
Q. Your comments on Pryor being difficult as a running quarterback. If this is true, would you see yourself adopting an on offense like this?
COACH CARROLL: No, we don't have an athlete like that, you know. I think you play with what you've got. I've always said that the most difficult aspect of defending an opponent is when they have a quarterback that can run and run on plays that aren't designed to be quarterback running plays.
When a pass starts and it breaks down and it takes off, it becomes a sweep or a draw or a scramble situation. It's just so out of the normal structure, that, you know, anything can happen. So that's an X factor that a running quarterback presents.
I particularly like running quarterbacks, I would love to have a guy in our system. But we always come up with guys that are not of that make up. That's why we're so excited about Aaron Corp and the fact that he brings because he can run very well.
This is a very, very unusual athlete to be this tall and this fast and have a great arm. I think you'll see he's not just a runner. He's working hard to be an all-around quarterback. He's showing that.
You look at him in the spring game last year. He was a fantastic looking pocket quarterback. Throwing the ball all over the field I saw it on TV, in case you're wondering. He's doing the right thing, developing and taking pride in becoming an all around complete football player, and he looks like that. He's going to be a great quarterback. But we haven't had a guy like that in the program.
Q. Who will you use to simulate him in practice?
COACH CARROLL: We have to use Garrett Green, he's our guy. He throws the ball well and runs well, that's all you can do. We don't have anybody else that can be like him.
Q. So much of last year's game was focused on the linebacker match ups and I've seen both teams transition there. What have you seen from their new linebackers?
COACH CARROLL: Well, the big deal was James Laurinaitis was such an extraordinary player for them. You know, everybody knew about him, and all that. And our guys were trying to match up to the stuff he had accomplished early in his career.
The guys are real active. They run sideline to sideline. They're just new players like our guys are. I didn't recognize them playing that much last year, you know. As we watched them, I was always caught by their starters.
But, like our guys, they're very athletic, and they can do all the same stuff. It's just a matter of them gaining experience and all. Their scheme looks is similar, though it's difficult to tell just from the Navy game because that is a different offense.
But I think they're playing pretty much the same stuff, and they've been a great defense for a number of years now, you know, so, I wouldn't expect them to change, and those guys will play very effective in their stuff.
Q. Coach Tressel indicated that it was close because he has a young team, and that option attack was something they rarely see. From your standpoint, why was the Navy game so close?
COACH CARROLL: Navy presents so many problems for the defenses that you just can't prepare for at the same speed and tempo. They're so good and so disciplined in what they do, that they take advantage of every miscue and it's a nightmare playing against them.
It's so elaborate. The triple option and so many different directions and formations can totally offset the physical match ups and they've been able to do that highly successfully, that's what happened in this game. They moved the ball pretty consistently against them although they couldn't ever break out, but they still could make first downs. That made for a difficult game.
They made a couple of big plays on defense to get the interception to set up the opportunity to tie the thing up. You know, and they did enough to keep it going. So I think, I don't know that everybody appreciates it from the coaching standpoint particularly from a defensive coaching standpoint, that's a nightmare game to prepare for. And that's I wouldn't be surprised that Navy has a really big year offensively. They really look like they knee what they're doing. They're really good at it.
Q. How are you preparing for the noise?
COACH CARROLL: Really well. Hopefully, we've done a lot in camp a number of times with having noise in camp. We'll work with noise today during service period and in normal fashion tomorrow throughout most of the practice. But you just what you have to do is focus more so. And you have to limit the communications that are going to turn into guesswork, you know.
But in our preparation in years past, you know, it's always worked out all right. You know, you go back to the most critical play we've ever had in a noise situation was back in Notre Dame. And the play of the game, Matt (Leinart) makes a check off at the loudest most impossible opportunity, and everybody on the field had to hear what he said, and they did. And so the game goes on, even though it's really loud.
So we'll do a nice job of focusing. You have to focus in the huddle. Everybody watches the play caller so you can see his expressions and make the most of the communication. And we have to make our calls. At times we'll miss some stuff. If we do, we do. And they will too at times. That's just how it goes, and hopefully we can minimize that.
Q. Some teams especially in the pros do a silent count thing?
COACH CARROLL: We already have that available to us when we need it. That's just one way of communicating.
Q. How does coaching against someone like Coach Tressel affect the play calling?
COACH CARROLL: We don't I don't know him well enough. I haven't played against him well enough to have a great backlog of experiences. I mean, like if you're a Big Ten guy that's been in there for a long time you'd know him better than we know him.
But he's got a real obvious, consistent way about him. They are a defensive-oriented team that runs the football, you know. That's their basic, you know, overview, and that's a great way to be a consistent winner. They practice so if they can hammer the football, they will. And then that's the way they've always liked to play. So there is a match up in knowing that part of them.
I wish I knew him better. I wish we would have seen him for years and years and watched him and studying him and all of that so we can really make it they have the same situation with us. But we have a great deal of respect. That style is the classic way to win football games. That's why they've been so successful for so long.
Q. What is the injury status on Curtis McNeal?
COACH CARROLL: He looks like he improved yesterday. The guys are pretty happy with how he felt.
He's had a nagging shoulder problem that comes and goes, and I think he's going to practice today and should be okay.
Q. How disruptive do you think this defensive line can be compared to some of the others? And how important is this game?
COACH CARROLL: I don't know that yet. I don't know. We're going to play some more games to find out.
We've got good speed, and we have a lot of success in the opening game. But I don't know that yet. Spicer coming back with all the experience he has, and he has very good quickness. He might give us a little bit more penetration and play making in the back field which would be great. But we're still coming together. I really don't have a good assessment on that for you yet.
Q. Can you talk about the rotation?
COACH CARROLL: Yeah, I don't know what that rotation was. It was everybody played. But we're going in with the same idea as we had last week. Joe, and you'll see a lot of guys play.
Q. Matt said he has no idea what it's going to be like (Indiscernible) what can you say to him? Can you correct the noise and all of that. But what can you say to him to kind of get him?
COACH CARROLL: That's between me and Matt. Just tried to bring him down to earth. That it isn't as much different as everybody might think it will be great fun for him. If you go back I love Matt's comments. He said he was nervous walking down the steps, and then after that, he wasn't. His first game ever, come on, man. He had to give more than that. He wasn't. He was very much composed.
I would think he's going to have fun with it. And he's going to be excited to see what it looks like to be in an on opponent's stadium of that stature and all. And then he's going to go play. I don't think it will matter to him at all.
That's just the way he's been and how he's handled things and he has such confidence and such comfort in his own skin. That will be extended into the setting as well.
In terms of fitting everything in his ability, he's such a brute. An amazing force in the game. When you watch it carefully, and we watched him this summer some. Just to see what he was all about. And he carries the tempo of the game with his physical side of running the football. He pounds you like a fullback would. And it's a very conservative style with that regard.
They know they can make four yards with him, and he keeps pounding away. He can withstand the hits better than most. If he was with us, we would have utilized a lot of the same stuff. He's a great competitor, you know. But I didn't get a chance to figure that out. Maybe another time. Maybe that's why we didn't get him, now that I think about it.
Q. Coach do you have anything planned?
COACH CARROLL: Treat him like everybody else. Pants him, throw him in the dirt, and squirt him with a hose like we always do (smiling). No, we're not doing anything. We'll sing to him. Yeah.
Q. Did you wash the Washington game?
COACH CARROLL: Yeah, got the second half of the game. It was exciting to watch it. It was a great football game. They were in that game the whole way, and just needed a play to happen one way or the other, and a couple of passes broke out. And they were right there toe to toe with him.
I thought it was a great demonstration of a new way of thinking and approaching the game and all of that. So I'm sure they have great hopes. And they have Idaho coming up, and they're looking to get going. It was fun watching those guys on the sidelines and the highlights and all the coaches. It was very good.
Q. Because Damian Williams catches better than they do?
COACH CARROLL: Couple reasons, you want someone that loves to do it. And he's got terrific hands. And he's got a knack about making people miss. And all of that together, I think he's a great canon to be back there, and what a great way to have two guys, he and Joe doing it, you know.
We'll keep working those guys. And Travon Patterson did a great job handling the ball late in the game, And I think Stafon Johnson did as well. So we're in great shape back there. I think there is something magical about Damian, and I want to make sure he gets the opportunity to show it, and help us create some plays for it us.
Q. Any updates on the sick guys? Jurrell Casey and Kevin Thomas, the guys who were ill?
COACH CARROLL: Yeah, we're day to day on that deal. I'm not quite today today yet. So I can't tell you what that is. But, yeah they're both hopefully back tomorrow.
Q. Lot of people make a big deal about the weight in the Big Ten. Do you feel that way about the Pac 10 at all?
COACH CARROLL: No. I don't know about that from their end of it. I've never felt that on our end of it.
Q. The last running back you had in the game?
COACH CARROLL: Yeah, Ahmed Mokhtar, he had a couple of carries, he's been pounding away at the surface team, and it was great to get him a couple of reps in there. He transferred in from Oregon State, via junior college, and it was a nice reward to get him a chance. I thought that in the overview of that game for everybody to have a chance to participate and so many guys get to play, was really a blessing for us after all of the hard work through the off season and in camp and all of that. We were very fortunate, and it was great to see those guys out there. He hammered it up in there a couple of times. It was good.
Q. Do you run into Ohio State while recruiting?
COACH CARROLL: Around the country we do. Not so much in California at times. But we get out in the far reaches, certainly, they're everywhere around the country, and do a great job. They're very strong on the northeast, and they do a nice job down in Florida as well. So they're a big challenge to us.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
Ohio State football head coach Jim Tressel
On opener and things needed to be worked on
'We thought it was a great weekend. As you know, it was American Football Coaches NCAA Sportsmanship weekend and it just so happened that we were playing the United States Naval Academy and there were a lot of festivities that went along with that. There was a real spirit of America in the stadium I can promise you that. It was really an awe-inspiring thing to be a part of, quite honestly. As far as our play, being a young football team there were probably more things that we needed to get better at than a coach would like to have. But we got experiences, it was an usual experience in that your facing that triple option in which we haven't seen here at least since I have been here. That made it important that we focus and handle an unusual thing especially for our defense. It turns out to be unusual for your offense too because you get less possessions and there are less plays in the football game. So it's a little bit of an unusual situation, I thought our guys coped with that okay. I thought we were playing fairly well to a certain degree and then we allowed some things to happen which turned it in to quite a football game. Fortunately, we did what we had to do to come up with a win and we were able to go back to the drawing board and see where we need to get better and it's a young bunch but they're interested in being good and that's all you can ask for.'
On growth of Terrelle Pryor
'A year ago when you saw him he was obviously thrust in the situation with very limited experience and he's still not a wily veteran by any means. He's a true sophomore that has a totally different supporting cast around him. He had Beanie Wells and Robiskie and Hartline and some vets around him a year ago. Now, from a playing standpoint, he's kind of a veteran. That's a little bit daunting for a young person that young to be the guy with the most experience. I think he's grown a lot through those experiences. He understands the game much, much better. I think he knows more of why he's doing what he's doing and why we're doing what we're doing and why the defense does what they do and all of those things. This will be a very valuable year for him as he grows and it was a good experience for him Saturday and the challenge he has on Saturday night is you know, then some and it will be a great experience for him.'
On status of offense
'Well right now with the running back position, Boom Herron and Brandon Saine had the bulk of the carries on Saturday and we feel as if we have a couple young guys who could share the load as we go as they gain a greater understanding of what needs to be done in the complete game. From a receiver standpoint, we are very, very young. Dane Sanzenbacher is probably the most veteran player we have out there and a young man named DeVier Posey we have high expectations for, but he quite frankly has been banged up a good bit of camp and tried to go a little bit this past Saturday and I think was able to go about ten plays. But we think at some point he is going to be a very, very good player. Our veteran of the offensive group is our tight end Jake Bauer who we think has done a good job leading and had a solid game on Saturday. Up front offensively Jim Cordle is our most experienced player. A year ago he played center against the Trojans and as time shuffled out throughout the course of last year, he moved over to guard and has since moved to tackle. He has got Bryant Browning next to him who is a veteran who played tackle a year ago and he's got some newcomers. It's an inexperienced offensive line but I think they're growing as we grow. Offensively, you're going to see a lot of different people you did a year ago and defensively we probably have a little bit more coming back. We did lose some great, great players. Malcolm Jenkins and James Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman and Donald Washington, so we lost some real good ones from the defense, but hopefully this young bunch will get old faster.'
On memories of last year's game
'Southern Cal is a very good football team that came out and did what they needed to do. They played very confident, very sound. You know, they're very well schooled, they don't make errors. They have a lot of big play capability at every position, but I think more important, they know why they do what they do. They know what the next step is and they work very harmoniously offensively. They feed off their defense and their defense feeds off of their offense and their special teams create those explosive situations that transition in between. So what I remember is a very, very good football team that we made way too many mistakes to be competitive with. It was a great experience for our guys to play in the Coliseum, you know one of the historic buildings in all of the sport and to have that opportunity to be in a game like that. I'm sure it's something they'll remember as they sit there with their grandchildren, and say `hey, I have played in that building, but it didn't come out the way we would have liked, but it was an experience that hopefully will make us better down the road.''
On thoughts of USC team this year
'If you took the jersey numbers off the guys and just had them out there without numbers, you'd think you were watching last year's film. Again, they know exactly what they're doing, why they're doing it, the way to do it. They're consistency is something to be admired by coaches. Sometimes that's difficult for people that don't sit and stare at film their whole lives. But the consistency of which they do their technique, that they handle their assignments, that they do what the team needs, that model of consistency is admired by anyone that studies the game. They're very, very explosive, again on both sides of the ball. I've been very impressed with the young quarterback to have the kind of command that he has at this moment in his career is pretty remarkable. It's just a very, very good football team.'
On difficulty of winning with a freshman quarterback
'I think it depends a little bit upon what you feel as if what part of the load he needs to carry. We were able as the season wore on to run it a little bit better and protect it a little bit better and so forth and be able to bring Terrelle Pryor along at his pace. If you threw a freshman quarterback in there and everyone else was a rookie, it would be frightening but the beauty that Pete Carroll has there with Matt Barkley being in the game is that the offensive line is perfectly choreographed and all those folks he's got around him handing it to and throwing it to and protecting it for him and so forth. That is as good of a situation as you can have, but still I'm sure that the offensive staff has got to make sure they only move to the pace that he can move in terms of what they have in the plan. As you watch SC over the years, one of the things that we as coaches try to do is do what our players can do and feature that. I have always stolen ideas from them and so forth off film when I thought I had a player similar to the kind of guy they were featuring on something. They have always done a nice job with their quarterback position asking him to do what they can.'
On Columbus' anticipation for the game
'Well Columbus loves football. They get excited just at the mention of a football practice. We have 10, 15, 20,000 people come to a practice sometimes if we open it up. They love the sport of football. Add to it that Southern Cal, which is storied in the history of football, storied in the history of Ohio State football with some very important games over the years having been played against them and the respect they have for their excellence, they're absolutely excited about the game. I think Columbus enjoys the fact that here we are Saturday night all eyes in the entire country will be focused right here in Columbus. We are very proud of our facility, very proud of the atmosphere that is in and around the game. So there's no question about it. The people here are excited.'
On the transition of linebacker and its effect on the defense
'Well the thing that we have tried to get across to our guys is that it really wasn't the person, it was the performance. If we can get the kind of performance from a standpoint of being assignment sound, reading your keys, being where you're supposed to be, in your pass zone, covering the guy you're supposed to cover, you know whatever it happens to be, then really it shouldn't matter who the person is as long as the job's being done. Sometimes we get caught up in the personality or whatever of the person, but if the guy that replaced James Laurinaitis can do the things he did, we'll be fine. That's what they have to aspire to.'