Pete Carroll Press Conference Quotes

Oct. 13, 2009

COACH CARROLL: Well, it's fun to get back going here in game week with a good break. We come back a little stronger and feeling good about that and have some guys returning that we haven't had. Kind of livens up things on the practice field, which is nice.

We look forward to this heck of a challenge that we're getting ready to go to Notre Dame. A trip that we're going to leave early, leave on Thursday to get out there and get situated and see if we can't put together a really good game for these guys.

This is the hottest Notre Dame team we've seen in a couple of years. All phases are hammering at you. Their offense is loaded. Defense is attacking and aggressive and making things happen. They've just had an extraordinary start to the season with great wins and drama everywhere, and big plays. All kinds of things.

I know they're going to be as pumped as they've been in a long time. We'll anticipate when we arrive on campus here on Friday. I'm sure we'll have a nice little crowd to welcome us, and we'll be gracious as always and look forward to it. So it's going to be a great weekend, and really just fired up about being in the middle of the preparation for this game.

Q. Where would you rank Notre Dame's passing attack among all the teams you've played this year?

COACH CARROLL: You can't be much better than they are. The efficiency he's throwing at right now, Clausen's on it. He's finding receivers. They're protecting him well. He's keeping the negative plays down. Only two picks in all the plays he's made so far. These guys are loaded.

I haven't seen the rest of the schedule, but up until now, this is the best passing team by far that we've seen. They pose the biggest challenge, and they've got big play guys either coming out of the back field or the tight end spot. Of course, Golden Tate is just having a ridiculous start to the season. So this is a very, very good attack, and they're challenging the heck out of us.

Q. You've got a lot of injuries. What does it mean to have Brian Baucham back after that terrible auto accident?

COACH CARROLL: Yeah, he just personally inspires the heck out of me. The screwball that he is, to be able to bounce back from this thing and tell the doctors I'm okay, I can practice. He's got marks and, you know, things all over him that could be attended to. He didn't care. He was just practicing. He had a great day yesterday.

So he's ready to go if he can manage it through the week. Just an inspiration, one, that he's alive, and two, that he's just kicking and fighting to get back out. Pretty cool story about this guy. So he'll be available to us if that works out. Just to have him back on the practice field is pretty cool.

Q. How do you prepare the team to play in different weather conditions? It's really cold at Notre Dame and the possibility of playing in snow?

COACH CARROLL: Couple of our guys have a little more impact on the spiritual side of things. They've worked it out so we'll get some rain today and tomorrow, and that is the best we can possibly do, you know.

Other than that, it's raining on their side, too. It's snowing or whatever it is. Of the temperature's going to be the same. We understand that. It's just how you deal with it in terms of what you can control. The weather isn't one of those things. Though we've had a little help this week.

I think it's what you make of it, you know. We can't control what they do. We can't control what the weather does. We can't control what the officials are going to do. Of we can just control our own stuff and that's where we're going to maximize our focus on that.

Q. How can you try to simulate weather conditions in practice though?

COACH CARROLL: We ask for it to rain and it does (laughing). We're not going to hose them down though if you're wondering. We thought of turning the sprinklers on, but we're not going to do that.

Q. (Indiscernible) what's the evaluation?

COACH CARROLL: They've played against some pretty good offensive players and schemes and things. Guys that have made a lot of things happen in their games and made some dramatic finishes to make it close, you know. So the drama's been on both sides of the playing field. They've had the benefit of playing a bunch of games at home and that's helped them, I know.

They have found a way, you know, to be involved and make it close and make it wild and all that, but also being on the top end of that thing. So I know that their defensive side of the ball are very aggressive. They are getting after you, they're trying to force the issue. Sometimes in doing that, you do get exposed a little bit. There have been some plays made against them. All in all they've caused people problems for the most part.

Q. Does their running attack complement their pass attack at all?

COACH CARROLL: They're a team that's interesting. They're willing to throw the ball a bunch if they think that's what's necessary in the game plan. Sometimes they'll go the other way. They're not a set style that you can tell what they're going to do in a game plan.

The Michigan State game they came out and played empty the whole first quarter, you know, ran the ball like twice or something and were moving the ball up and down the field. They adjusted from there and did some other things.

This is a team that you have to see what they think of you. It's going to take a while. We have to be flexible early in the game and adapt. See if we can get situated once they declare how they want to play it from that side of the ball.

That's how they've always been. It is kind of a wait and see what they think they need to do to win every time we play them.

Q. Have they had a running game or the running has been so so?

COACH CARROLL: Yeah, Armando Allen is a good football player. When they put Golden Tate back there, they run like crazy. They have a good running back, an experienced offensive line. They have all the schemes.

If anything, they're riding the strength of what Jimmy Clausen brings to them. They're such a high efficiency throwing game, why not? They're putting up big time yards and all that, so.

But the running game is definitely there. One that has enough variations to it, it taxes you scheme wise. They do enough that they're not just a zone team. They do a lot of things. So, they're fairly, deeply committed to the whole wildcat system and all of that. With Allen and with Tate back there, they've got a lot of different things that they can do. They give you a very difficult spectrum of things to prepare for.

Q. We've seen a lot of Wildcat teams this year. Is that something that you guys have ever considered?

COACH CARROLL: We've done it before. The last time we did it, we lost (smiling). That was Oregon State. So we haven't done it since. It's a terrific system. It's single wing football. Those of you guys that go way back, you can appreciate what that is, you know. It's a great system of offense if you have the right guy at the trigger position back there. It's interesting to see that it's not just a factor in college football, but the NFL's very much in tune to it as well. So it's just another phase of ball that we're going through.

We know all about it. We practice it, we understand how it works and all that, we just haven't felt the need to go to it yet.

Q. From a technical standpoint, what happened to the single wing from what it was in those days and UCLA?

COACH CARROLL: I think I would guess that there wasn't enough terrific players to play the tailback spot. That position is so demanding. Gary Beben was the guy probably in the early part of his career one on one were they done by then? That's the kind of guy that you need. You need a great football player that can run it and throw it.

If it's just a running game, then you have to load it up and stop it. But if you have a guy that can run and throw the thing, then it really becomes something. Right now it's a change up mode of offense. I would bet we're going to see in the next couple of years that shift. There will be some guys that will take over.

You can see what Tim Tebow's doing. He's a guy that has been able to do it all of it. Run the ball up inside, run it on the edge and throw the football. That makes it a championship offense. But there aren't many guys like that around.

Q. Was Vincent at Oregon like that?

COACH CARROLL: Yeah, he could have been. They didn't use it as much in the same fashion it was being used now. It's more of an option type of an offense. In the old days it was a very power oriented offense, where a quarterback was like another fullback, two fullbacks in essence that led plays. It was really a difficult offense. I happen to know because I used to be a single wing tailback, so...

Q. When you talk to your high school coach, would you talk to him about some of the stuff defending him?

COACH CARROLL: No, not necessarily. No. But if it continues to be a rage and people start to mix it in all situations, the variation of the spread offense, the fact that there are people in the shotgun is an offshoot of it. But until that guy becomes the downhill runner and the thrower it's not quite the same system.

The cool thing about it was the variations that came out of that offense because of the intricacies of numbers of backs in the back field. And Florida's pretty close with some of the things that they're doing right now.

Q. How do you prepare for a guy like Golden Tate?

COACH CARROLL: It's really a challenge. Really a challenge because they move them in all their receiver spots, and then he winds up behind the center getting the football. He is like a running back at receiver. He's a bigger, stronger, more physical guy when the ball's in his hands. So they have realized that. They've used him all over.

So we just have to keep track of him and know the tendencies when he moves. There are so many things you can do it's very difficult. They've done a really good job of utilizing their special guys, and he's the beneficiary of that.

Q. Any changes this week?

COACH CARROLL: We moved a few guys around. Curtis McNeal is the best guy to put back to force, you know. We use him to simulate the speed when he's in the back field. Other than that we're using different receivers to try to match them up.

Q. So much focus on that offense, how about their defense? Is this the best they've been in the last couple of years?

COACH CARROLL: They're the most aggressive they've been. Last year they started really coming after people, and this year they've picked up on that. They're pressuring well over half of the time which is a tremendous percentage of pressure from the defense. In certain games they'll get it up higher than that.

So what that causes is they're taking chances to come after you. It's very aggressive, and they cause bad plays. You can protect really well, then there are some are opportunities, because the coverage is more limited.

It's just whether or not we're able to handle the heat that they bring. If we can, we can have a chance at moving the football. If they can't, they can control the game and cause some bad things and create some negative plays and give you issues that you don't want. They're doing a nice job now. It's difficult.

Q. As they blitz so much, does that open them up to get blown for a big play?

COACH CARROLL: Yeah, there's risk and reward here. That's part of it. When you're committing people to the line of scrimmage, there is more space in the secondary. That's why protection is so important and the rhythm of the quarterback is so important to get the ball out so you don't get hit and disrupted.

The whole point of pressuring is to disrupt the offense. If you can minimize that there are opportunities to make plays, and we have to create some space and see if we can do that.

Q. Are Matt Barkley and Ronald Johnson where you want them to be right now?

COACH CARROLL: No, they've hardly worked together. (Ronald's) missed six, seven weeks. And that's not there right now. Ronald is a great worker, he'll stay late and come early and do all of that. But there's no way these guys are as sharp as they will be in time. They'll be better.

Q. Talk about Mitch Mustain's improvement? I think I read in the paper --

COACH CARROLL: Yeah, I've been surprised a couple of different times with Mitch. He's really on it right now. He's throwing the ball beautifully. I just don't know why he can't explain why. He just feels so much more comfortable now and better prepared and more confident throwing the football. There was a time there where he was struggling. That's why he was in the position that he was in, but he's just elevated.

So this has happened a couple of times. We've seen between Aaron Corp and Mitch they've kind of changed spots. So it's clear. This is not hard to see it. Mitch has just elevated his play. He's in position to get in the game a little sooner than Aaron this next time out.

Q. Do you have the feeling that there is an additional sense of urgency on their side that maybe this is the one they almost have to win?

COACH CARROLL: I don't know about have to win. But I know that this is the team that they've had the most success with coming into our game. They know they've got experience. We know they've got fire power. They have the confidence of being able to hang in very difficult games and come back and win and all of that. All that just adds to your mindset. They've got to be just about as strong as they've been in years.

With that, I would think that they're anticipating their best chance to be on top of this thing. So I don't know about have to at all. I know that they would love to. It's a big deal. I'm sure it's been a long time for them. So they'll give us everything they've got. This will be a tremendous match up. Hopefully we'll be ready.

Q. How's Stafon Johson doing and how's the dynamic changed on the team?

COACH CARROLL: Well, I just talked to his mom before coming in. He's really doing well. He's sleeping extremely better than he did when he had some of the equipment in him. And really looking forward to quite possibly getting out tomorrow if everything works out right.

That's a great accomplishment for him. He's going to be pretty comfortable and free to do a lot of stuff. He's in such good shape right now. There is still a process for all of the recovery of all of the intricacies here. But he's going to be out and about and all of that, so we're thrilled for him.

All of the guys that have had a chance to see him and been around him have been uplifted by his spirit. He's amazing. He's amazing. He's blown away the doctors with his ability to recover and his strength and courage and toughness and all that. It's just accelerated everything.

So hopefully he'll come out of here feeling pretty good. In the next couple of weeks it will be really important to see where his recovery goes and what stage he's at. The main thing is he's feeling better. He's going to start exercising. He's just about back with us. So we can't wait to see him.

Q. Where is he with his voice?

COACH CARROLL: He's not able to do anything yet with that. This is something that they're waiting for. I don't have any idea what the timeline is on that. It's something they're not allowing him to even test in any way.

I've asked him in the middle of the night are you whispering to see? And he's been very disciplined about it. He's done a great job in the preparation and the rehab. Hopefully he'll get extraordinarily good results, soon.

Q. (Indiscernible)?

COACH CARROLL: Yeah, I think it's going to turn out. We'll wait to see in the next couple of days, but I think it's going to turn out to be a medical whatever that's called, a medical situation so that he can get out of having to finish these classes.

He's going to have a choice what he wants to do next year. So we'll figure all that out in time. But I'm glad he's got options whether to come back or go on to the NFL. We'll wait and see on that one.

Q. So he's going to get a medical red shirt?

COACH CARROLL: There is a big process to go through. But he does fall into the category where he's eligible to get his year back.

Q. It seemed that you got settled into Joe McKnight and Allen Bradford which is kind of a nice push.

COACH CARROLL: We've been looking towards that for a couple of weeks now to see how that fits. We've always liked the change in guys and the different dimensions that players bring. Allen certainly does run downhill, and he's physical and all of that. He has great speed to get in good places.

Joe's off to a great start this season I've had the one two punch. The one, two, three punch. Whatever it takes. So I still feel like we're developing and we're still kind of in progress, a work in progress and putting it together.

There is a chance that that could take hold here, you know. I'm anxious to see how C.J. Gable comes in, and what Curtis McNeal can do as well, so we're working on it.

Q. Bradford was asked last game and he said he didn't think he was productive. He's missing cuts or something?

COACH CARROLL: Yeah, he can get better. I think that's a good assessment for him. Just being humble and all of that. He had a good game last week out. But he'll continue to get better, you know. He's trying to find his style.

We really want him to be aggressive and attack the line of scrimmage. As he's seeking that out, sometimes he's making the decision to run in, and guys run over guys. So that's what we're talking about there. He's still a fairly young running back for us. He hasn't carried the ball that much. He's only going to get better. And we're jacked that he does bring some real special dimensions, you know.

He certainly can score, and when he's coming downhill at you, he's a load. So we're hoping this will turn into a really big factor for us.

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