Pete Carroll-Mike Stoops Press Conference Quotes

Dec. 1, 2009

COACH CARROLL: We have a very big opportunity to finish up this week. We come off a game that we're excited about. We had a great time at the Coliseum last week and getting our win. Kind of feeling good feeling about getting back on track after the two weeks, you know, prior.

Our kids are pumped up. They're pretty healthy. We are looking forward to this last go round. We are dedicating the efforts to our seniors and the guys that will be heading on that have had such enormous impact in our program. We turn our focus and dedication to those guys and have fun with them all during the week and on game day and all of that.

So it's a big deal for us to finish well. We want to see if we can come off and finish on an upswing, and in the regular season with a big win here at the Coliseum. Hopefully we'll be able to do that.

Arizona has been playing good football. They've had a big year. They've had at times really, really big things happen offensively. So we're going to we've always struggled with these guys. They've been a very difficult scheme against us, and we know it's going to be very hard again.

So take a great week, and hopefully we'll get something done in big fashion...we are looking forward to it.

Q. Would you like to take this opportunity to apologize for the poor display of sportsmanship on Saturday during the game?
COACH CARROLL: No. I thought we handled all of that during the postgame and all of that. So I think I'm done with this one in particular. However, since you're here and you will plead until I say something, I'm sure. You know, I think as you look back at the game and all, it was a tremendous football game. It was very close throughout.

Our mentality was they were playing a very tight football game. Not until the two minute mark did we score 21 points on a great drive. It was exciting and fun to see that happen. But it was the makings of a very tight football game.

So when we went back out at the end on defense, we did a really good job of taking the football back off them and we were ready to end the football game. Just the football aspects of it with three timeouts, you know, UCLA had a choice of how they wanted to handle that. Their decision to handle it was to extend the game and do everything they could, which was exactly the right thing to do.

We might fumble the snap, anything could happen and they could have a chance to get back an opportunity to do something at the end of that game. When they did that, that changes our mentality.

Immediately, first thing I said was we have to get a first down. So that's so you don't give the ball back to your opponent. We had just taken a knee, so second and 12 or whatever it was. Two seconds had run off the clock before they called timeout.

So knowing how it works, we might get another 10 seconds off the clock, 15 at the most, and then get the ball back

Q. (Indiscernible)?
COACH CARROLL: Hold on. No, they have two more timeouts, so that would have been their second time out. They would have had a chance to get the ball back. So the point was in our minds was to not get the football back and see if we can make the first down.

The first suggestion that came up, as I said before, was the play that we ran. I thought it was a great call, great decision, and we did it. That was it.

There was no more depth, no on more consideration other than let's finish this game off. And we hit a gorgeous scoring play, and it was an exciting, exhilarating moment that we went from trying to end the game to scoring a touchdown. That was it.

Now the rest of it is really to be left up to however you want to talk take it and do whatever you want with it. I thought their coaching staff responded in a way that I responded a couple of weeks earlier in a similar situation where everything was questioned. It's a competitive moment. You get to do whatever you want to do and try to finish the game how you want to. And that's exactly what happened.

And I think they did the right thing. Our fans booing the fact that somebody called a timeout, they just wanted to go home. That is the right thing to do to extend the game and give yourself a chance to get the ball back. So we responded in fashion. Had they not, we would have taken a knee the next couple of plays, the game was over and we would have been out of there. So that's it.

Q. You knew when you came out there and knelt down, you knew they had three timeouts?
COACH CARROLL: Yes.

Q. So at that point you knew you were giving them a choice in how they responded?
COACH CARROLL: Exactly. Exactly, and that's exactly the decision that you make there. And then you have three more shots after that to do what you're going to do with it. Some teams do that, some teams don't.

In my particular situation, I've done that in the past. I've been booed in NFL stadiums for calling timeouts when you don't think you have a chance. But that's what you do when you want to keep competing and trying. That's exactly the statement they made. I thought it was a good solid statement of football.

I understand why the fans boo it. They want to go home. They think the game's over. But that's not the way the mentality of the coaches are. We don't necessarily think like fans and do things and act like fans. Sometimes they don't agree with it. But that's okay.

Q. And the behavior of your players after scoring?
COACH CARROLL: They were pumped. They were so excited about it. They were nuts about it. They were jumping up and down and having fun with it, and something else happened from the other sidelines. I can't control the other side.

Q. Are you saying the other side forced it?
COACH CARROLL: What's that?

Q. Are you saying the other side forces the talking process?
COACH CARROLL: No, no. Hold on, hold on. I said we were really excited about it, and jumping up and down, and the other team came across the field.

Q. So your players weren't talking?
COACH CARROLL: I don't know about that. I'm not sure if we were talking or just having fun.

Q. You were right there. You would know?
COACH CARROLL: We've done this many times. We get very excited about it. We're almost done. We were really excited about it, and they responded to our reaction. It had no direction. It had no meaning as far as I was concerned. And then we held off, you know, an interaction that would have been really bad. It was unfortunate that it happened as far as it did.

But the coaching staffs and everybody did a good job of doing that. There was no incident. And it was moments of unfortunate, you know, what could have happened, but it didn't. I thought we all did a good job under the circumstances.

I'll say this last thing about it and I'm done with this, okay, because everybody else is here, too. The fact that emotions run high, the fact that things happen in a unique fashion in match ups like this, is exactly what everybody calls for in a sense, because this is such a heated deal. It's so much fun. It draws so much focus and attention that things happen sometimes.

I think what was really good about it is everybody stayed composed. Everybody was poised and played out the game and had a fantastic event and all that. Unfortunately for them, they didn't get the win. But this is the kind of stuff that I would expect when it's this close, this heated.

What more could you want than the highest of emotions and excitement and enthusiasm and all of that? Not everybody's going to be happy with the outcome. I can't do anything about that. Thank you. Thank you for the interaction. See you later (laughing). What else have you got?

Q. You have an unusual situation in that you have a non rival opponent at the end of the season. You had that a couple years ago with Oregon State. But that game was almost a championship type game at the end of the year. How do you go into this one that's not and it's not against a rival?
COACH CARROLL: To me it's another opportunity to play and to do something really good and end the season on a great note. To try to capture everything that's available for us in this season is to get one more win right now. I mean, that's enough for me to not even be concerned about was this a let down opportunity, whatever.

We love playing. We love being at the Coliseum. I feel good and fortunate that we're here at home. I'd much rather be here at this time than on the road. But I think that's it. You know.

I don't know about how this plays into where we're going or what other eventual things could happen. We're be using that and talking about that at all. We don't need that kind of motivation. We need to go out and play one more great football game to get the season to a complete ending and do it in a fashion that we respect, I think, our seniors on the way out and take every opportunity to take it as far as we can. That's what we're going to try to do.

I think it's unusual for us. It feels unusual. That is a normal finishing point of the season when you play your cross town rival. But it's not like we got surprised by this. We've known all along that this was happening and all. So I don't think it's going to be any problem. We're looking forward to another game.

Q. How balanced of an offense do you think Arizona has?
COACH CARROLL: They've got a really unique offense. They do some real classic stuff in the running game and their play actions and all with all kinds of basic personnel groups. Then they have a big influence of their spread offense as well. So they have a real spectrum of things that they do that's a little bit unusual in that sense. They have a wide open throwing game as they spread it out in their four receiver looks. Then they play hardball typical fashion in their other style.

And they have a two quarterback potential system where when they bring in (Matt) Scott, he's much more anxious to run the football and do the quarterback running things that we've seen so common in the last couple of years. So they present a lot of problems for us.

We have a big preparation in store here to get ready for this thing. They've scored a lot of points this year and done a lot of good stuff with their offense.

Q. Are there elements that kind of are things that stand up to other offenses?
COACH CARROLL: They have a little bit of all of that. They do run off tackle. They're a hardball running football team that shift gears and spread the whole thing out. They'll even substitute the second quarterback to come in and run the football, and utilize him to run the stuff that Oregon does.

So they pose a bunch of problems for us. We're working hard to catch up with it all. There is a lot to do.

Q. Have you heard from the Pac-10 about what happened at the end of the game between two teams coming closer? That is not the first time that's happened. In fact it happened last year with Notre Dame. Is there anything you can do better to prevent that?
COACH CARROLL: Two years ago, you know, we came out at halftime and the music was playing something that our guys usually get pumped up to, and that's what they were doing. The other team responded to it. It had nothing to do with anything except having fun and being excited about playing.

The way that we do that, maybe I can delay that a little bit, but I don't want to take away from the excitement, build up, and enthusiasm of the game. I don't like being part of situations that potentially could be horrific.

But we talked about it yesterday in the meetings about what can happen by showing the excitement. I'll remind you that last year in the Rose Bowl the officials told us at halftime if we continue to celebrate as much on the sidelines they were going to call a 15 yard penalty on us. And I blew it because I wanted to make them call that penalty.

I wish we would have done it so they would have called the penalty on us, so we could have gotten penalized for having too much fun. Because I don't understand that.

But it doesn't need to ever go where it causes somebody else to react. But I can't really deal with what the hell the other team's reacting, you know. I can just work with our team.

So we talked about it yesterday. And part of it are some subtle things about how you do it so that you don't we don't want to draw attention to ourselves in that manner. We're just having a good time playing the game and loving it.

But we are mindful in trying to make sure that we don't cross the boundaries that cause an issue, because we don't want to be any part of that. But we want to have a great time doing it, and we'll continue to find a way to do that.

Q. In looking at your film, did you have any players that were close, do you feel, to crossing that line?
COACH CARROLL: As a matter of fact, the first thing I did when I got a chance was to look at the end of the game, the TV copy to see what our team did...to see how far on the field. We have a way in certain games where we rally around the special teams group that's going out. And the whole team gets together to send them out there and the kickoff team or kickoff return team.

I don't know if you've ever noticed that. But we do that. We've been doing that a long time. And that happens across the sidelines, and over the sidelines. That's where we were. We were on our side of the numbers and all that kind of stuff. And we stayed there, you know. The other team wound up at midfield. You know, so... That's what happened. Is that what you asked?

Q. So you're basically still explaining away the end of the game?
COACH CARROLL: I'm answering your questions. I didn't say anything about who did wrong. I didn't say that.

Q. That was my question.
COACH CARROLL: No, you asked me to apologize. We got to go on; okay, we've got to keep going here. What else have we got here?

Q. You opened a new can over here?
COACH CARROLL: I didn't open it. I'm answering the fellow's questions. I'm trying to help you (laughing).

Q. Are you concerned that actions like that could one day be construed as a loss of respect for USC's players?
COACH CARROLL: Yeah, I think if it goes beyond, you know, and it gets selfishly demonstrated individually and all that kind of stuff, sure. I think anybody in sports can see that happen. We don't ever want to be there.

As a matter of fact, you know, when we had a couple of penalties at the end of the Notre Dame game I heard from some of our fans. They were concerned about it, you know. And, you know, I think everybody has the right to have concern. I would never want that to happen, you know. We've tried to stand for doing things in an unusually unique fashion for a long time around here.

And it's, you know, it's separated us in some way. We've been singled out, and I that's okay with me. I don't want to be singled out for things in that respect, that's for sure.

Q. Will Allen Bradford play a bigger role?
COACH CARROLL: He's wanting to and prepared to, yeah. He's done a lot in the last half of the season, I think, so come in and make a big impact in the game and compliment what we're doing with the rest of the offense. I love his style where he is running downhill, coming after you and physical and all of that.

He's made big plays and he's run tougher. He continues to improve and show us that he's got real sense and savvy. We love his attitude on the field.

So if the game goes that way and you've watched us over the years, we try to go with whatever seems to be working. We'd love to have Allen play, we did it last week for sure. And Joe being banged up allowed that to be more obviously the case in that game.

Q. (Indiscernible)?
COACH CARROLL: Absolutely There's no question. Allen's 230 pounds, you know, and he runs right at you. He is a tough guy to tackle with a big stiff arm, all the good physical stuff. We love him being part of the offense. So it wouldn't be any problem for me at all to run him 25 times if that was the case in the game.

Q. What is different with your defense with Arizona State or you're able to stop compared to Oregon, Stanford or Oregon State? Is that a case of your team stepping up?
COACH CARROLL: Well, I think it's a combination of things. I think I don't think the Notre Dame thing fits this. I think Oregon State did. Oregon State had a really good second half against us. And Oregon and Stanford had tremendous second halves against us.

Those guys were rolling when we played them. We weren't able to catch up with the rhythm of what they were doing offensively. We kind of controlled the rhythm in the other games, you know. And I think really good quarterbacking, really good quarterback play from those teams that did well I think was as big a factor for their side of it.

We didn't play well at Oregon. We played a lot better at Stanford than we did at Oregon. It didn't look like it, but we did. And I think it's a combination of those teams being really good. Us not being on it. And also we matched up better in the styles of play from the other teams.

Q. Thursday night game this week up at Oregon. Are you going to be watching that game?
COACH CARROLL: Yeah, I think it's a really exciting match up. He this had a big match up last year, too. And Oregon really took that one over. I'm anxious to see if a really good Oregon State team can match up with Oregon and play them differently than they played them a year ago. They really had trouble on defense in that game.

I know it was such a big opportunity for them and all. I've talked to Mike (Riley) about it. We talked in the off season about that game in particular and how it came down. They were so hot when they went into it. Here they are again. I'm just curious to see what's going to happen. I don't have any predictions for you if that's what you're asking.

Q. It seems like Garrett Green has great character. What is it about this program and his attitude?
COACH CARROLL: He has been an absolute leader in this program, in particular this season. He just kind of took over the special teams units. He is by far the biggest point getter for his overall play. He's done something at every phase of our special teams and has been uniquely good. You know, he's really stood out.

And he's such a great kid and such a hard worker. Always been open to help with anything we've ever asked him. He's played quarterback, receiver, safety for us. He's done a little bit of everything. We'll miss him tremendously.

I was crushed when I saw he was going to come out of there on crutches the other night. He was going to miss the last couple of games of the year, just because he was such a big factor. He was special teams captain of the game for the third time this year. You know, that's a big loss.

But more importantly I wanted to see him finish off this year and really take big pride and having such a big impact on this football team. We won't not recognize that, but I just wish he would have had a chance to finish. It was a big loss for us.

Q. All of the seniors get recognized this week. Can you talk about some of those guys that have come through the program? Especially Jeff Byers and Josh Pinkard have been here longer?
COACH CARROLL: Yeah, those guys it will be the end of all the jokes about the 14 year vets and all that stuff. They've been around forever and all of that.

But those guys have really paid the price physically. The reason that they're here for their sixth year is because of the injury situations that they've had to overcome and endure.

Jeff's had a myriad of things that he's gone through and dealt with. And Josh with both the knee injuries and so they kind of stand out in my mind and I think in our team's mind. Both those guys are captains on this team and great leaders for us, ask great kids in the program and the whole thing. They're kind of emblematic of why we celebrate the seniors. And the last day of practice will come up this week and in the regular season and all of those things.

But they have had a big impact. Regardless whether you're going from Anthony McCoy at tight end, and Charles Brown and those guys have grown up in the program. Taken hold of their positions and become great players for us and leaders at their positions and all.

Taylor Mays has had a fantastic career started every game but his first one that he ever participated in. He's been an extraordinary Trojan in so many ways and has given back to his teammates and to his school and the community and all of the beautiful things that he's stood for. It goes on and on.

So it's a great group of kids. Hate seeing them go. But we'll be excited as always to see them go on and move on ahead. We'd love to send them off on a great note and finish out these games this season by letting them win and go out like that.

Q. What do you think your team still needs to workout?
COACH CARROLL: We're still battling with the third down thing offense. It continues to be an issue. We had a little bit of an upswing. Because of the long yardage situations, we gave up on some of them just to kick the football back. But we were 4 of 12 last week again, which is what stinks for us. We have to improve there.

I think it has a big impact on a lot of things that will follow. You know, more opportunities offense. Defense sitting down on all of those factors that weigh in, the penalty thing jumped up this week. We've had some good weeks in the past few. But we jumped up a bunch this week. That's an area we have to get rid of again.

We need to continue to take care of the football. We've done a pretty good job in general here without the big Stanford deal. We gave it up four times, you know. That's how you get crunched: So those are areas we'll continue to work real hey hard on.

There is not much opportunity to really continue to experiment at this time. We just have to try to get things right and do things well in the game plan and all of that. But those are probably the areas that we're most concerned right now.

Q. What changed on that final drive when you struggled offense through the whole game? Then suddenly when you needed it most
COACH CARROLL: You get out and control the ball. If that's what throwing the ball short is, yeah. They had shown how they were playing us. There was some availability to get the ball on the edge on the perimeter. So we jumped at it. Missed the first one, and Matt hit everything from there. And Allen kind of finished off the drive.

But it gave us good rhythm and moved the ball. We didn't have any negative plays on the drive which was part of the issues of the night. So we had good continuity throughout that one. It was unfortunate it took so long to get to it in the last couple of minutes of the game.

Q. Can you make a comment on a couple of coaches that are on this are way out, Charlie Weis and Bobby Bowden?
COACH CARROLL: Yeah, did Coach Bowden's thing happen today? Is he resigned?

Well, it's a hard time for coaches when it goes that way. Coach Bowden has done everything you can ever do and has had a celebrated run of, you know, historic proportions. Nobody but Joe could ever even come close to it. It's amazing what he's accomplished and done.

I only can think of the good stuff and all the great wins and championship years. When we came into existence here, Florida State was everything in college football. They had won for years and years and years and had been on top of it all. He had been right in the center of all of that.

It kind of gave us what to shoot for and consistent in winning over long term periods and all of that. He had been great for college football. Everybody will miss him.

When coaches get fired, it's a very, very difficult time...very challenging time. And you know, Charlie busted his butt for a long time to get it done. It just didn't turn out just right. He was the first to say that he knew that Notre Dame 6 and 5 wasn't what it took to get it done there. He was very open and candid about that.

I think in that regard he accepted it admirably and all. We'll see what the next page is for Notre Dame football. I'm sure it will be a big surge of excitement about whatever they do next. There are some extraordinary coaches I'm sure they're looking at. We'll just have to deal with it and start all over again with the relationship there. I'm sure it will be fun and challenging, and we'll see what it is.

I'm sure Charlie's going to wind up on his feet. He's already talked about the NFL in a bunch of different situations. He'll get going again.

Q. (Indiscernible)?
COACH CARROLL: Well, 20 yards a game or something like that, free yards. If it works out to the average. They've done a really good job in that regard. We've had a really spotty year in terms of getting penalties.

So hopefully when we have an opportunity to turn this thing again this week. We've been able to do it at times. We need to do it this week and see if we can not let that be a factor. It was a definite factor in terms of stifling our momentum offensively last week. We need to get rid of it.

Q. (Indiscernible)?
COACH CARROLL: Well, it's because he had a penalty in a couple of plays before that. And everybody we had all gotten really clear and focused on when we were going to get through rest of the game without another penalty, and it happened on the next play. That's just guys competing and battling. I was on him too, you know, in concert.

Q. Did you get a chance to see Matt Leinart play on Sunday?
COACH CARROLL: I just saw a little bit. As a matter of fact, I saw mostly Vince Young, you know. I saw Vince in the last drive. But that was for Trojan fans, you know, painful.

I think not because it was cool to see him do it, but just the reminder that he had done it before in such classic fashion. It's pretty remarkable stuff. Pretty remarkable play. Just to see what Vince has done since he's come back in and started, you know. To turn that program back on the right end of things. There's no telling how far he's going to take it.

Jeff's (Fisher) a great coach and all of that. The shock was they had lost so many games. But to see him come back and be a factor. I think they'd won five in a row or something like that with him playing. He's a remarkable, remarkable athlete, and showed it again.

Q. On the pick he threw in overtime, the defensive end dropped the coverage, linebacker blitzed. Mad the remark you don't see that very often in the back end. Is that accurate? Is there more straight up edge rushers like that?
COACH CARROLL: That's a ridiculous statement to make. That's so untrue. That guy doesn't watch his football. That's just inaccurate reporting right there. We do everything in this conference.

Stanford has been in the NFL for 5 years or whatever the heck it is. And the defensive coach I'm talking about they do extraordinary stuff. There's no cutting edge things that you don't see in our conference. That's not an accurate statement. I don't even know where it came from.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Arizona football head coach Mike Stoops

On preparing team after loss against rival

'Well I think we seem like we were in a better place last night than we were a week ago. We'd come off that tough game with Oregon. Last week was a big challenge. Losing that game and then getting ready for your rival game, but things have obviously picked up. I thought that was probably good that we played a rival team like that coming off a heartbreaking loss to Oregon. Our kids really have stayed pretty focused all season when you look at the body of work that we've put together. Really pleased with our overall play throughout the 11 games and that's been a good sign for us. It's showed some maturity and consistency and that's something we've lacked a lot of in this program and we're starting to get that. These games are all very tough. These last four games have been really a grind and you just have to stay with it. We're relatively healthy and that's a positive for the most part so playing Arizona State, Cal, Oregon and USC that we knew this was going to be a tough stretch of games, but really feel like we have handled it pretty well and played pretty well throughout it.'

On status of Quarterback Nick Foles
'Nick has really progressed nicely throughout the course of the season. He's a very mature kid that works very hard at being an efficient player on Saturdays. Really conscientious. He's learned a great deal I think through this whole experience of obviously starting for the first time, he's a young player, and just being a sophomore. I think he's done a lot of good things and really has an unlimited feeling of the type of player he can be. I think he continually improves his decision making, his awareness on the football field. I think that that experience is something every quarterback needs and certainly Nick has gone through some ups and downs of a season for a young player, but I think he's matured nicely and has the potential to be a terrific player.'

On status of tailback situation
'Well we've kind of been fighting this all year, but I think we're healthy outside of Greg Nwoko. I think Keola Antolin is probably as healthy as he's been. Greg is as healthy as he's been so those are our second and third guys. Nic Grigsby is pretty much rolled out for Saturday.'

On effectiveness of defense
'Well I think any good team or good defense of any group I think having some awareness and comfort level of playing with each other, this group has pretty much been intact from a year ago. Obviously I think losing Brooks Reed for six games in the middle really probably hurt our d-line. Our productivity has increased since he's been back. He was an all Pac-10 player second team last year and we just knock that deep on the defensive line with players like that, but he's come back. Ricky Elmore's had an all Pac-10, leading the Pac-10. It's good to see. We've got two pretty productive players on the edge and Earl Mitchell's had a good year up inside, so all three linebackers have been really consistent. In our secondary week, we've put those guys out there most of the year and have responded very well. It's been a really consistent group when you look at our play throughout the course of the season as well.'

On satisfaction of program
'Well I think the maturity and consistency is what we all want in our program and I think that's starting to show. I think our players reflect that over the last several years, or last couple, let me put it that way. We're at a good place, we're always trying to get to a better place. Saturday competing against USC, I think tells you a lot about where you're at. They're very big, fast, athletic, you know a very good football team. I think you learn more and more about your team as you go through it. Certainly we'll see how we match up with USC Saturday.'

On thoughts of Trojans
'Well I think some of those growing pains you go through, I know they replaced a bunch of guys up front and losing the middle part of your defense can be somewhat hard to adjust to. I think again when you look at certain games, matchups become, Oregon can get you running pretty much ragged with all they do with the different looks they give you. That can be a very troubling experience. I know what that's like. They caught them on a good day and then Stanford, those were two different teams. Stanford I thought played probably their best game of the year against USC watching both sides today. USC I think has adjusted, their players are maturing on the defensive line. What I look at is a very young team. Their secondary is very mature and that's where they get their consistency I think is with their secondary Taylor Mays. But those young guys are coming on and they look they're all, I don't know, they look like USC to me when I watch them play here. I think they're starting to get comfortable and got their confidence and their swagger back so they present some huge problems defensively with their personnel. Offensively, losing some of their running backs, their tight ends, the full back, I know those are big parts of our offense and that maybe hurt their production in some ways. Matt Barkley has certainly matured throughout the years. He's gone through probably a lot of the same issues that Nick went through and just getting comfortable and understanding not only what you're doing, but what the defense is trying to do against you. There's a great deal that comes along with being that guy, that quarterback and I think Matt is just scratching the surface like Nick is of being a great football player. They present Damian Williams and that crew out there. They have some big fast guys that can run so they're good up front. I think they have a very mature offensive line. They do what they do, they run run boot, run run boot, run run boot. Play action and try to hit you down the field. A lot of plays and a lot of boots off of those. You have to really train your eyes and be disciplined when you play them, and your corner has got to make some plays.'

On Nic Grigsby's injury affecting success of offense
'A little bit. Nic is kind of that homerun guy. He's the guy that can make somebody miss, you don't necessarily have to block 11 of them. He's the guy you get a more little bit of room. He can create a play on his feet. All the backs are a little more traditional, but it's hurt us a little bit. Nick has been a very steadying force in our run game. Even though he's not the biggest guy, he's good for what we do. We've had to adjust a little bit. We've played better teams here and defensive teams and that hurts your balance a little bit. I think that's going to be critical Saturday in trying to have balance. Certainly you have got to be able to take what the defense gives you. I didn't think we did a great job of that Saturday. I thought we forced some plays and it made it really difficult against a good defense. We're going to see the same caliber of players, better probably in some areas, this week.'

On receivers that have stepped up
'Well Juron Criner is probably the guy that continually grows and I think a featured number one guy is still maturing as a player, but very fast, very physical runner, a big guy that presents great hands. He's just a true sophomore out of Las Vegas, really pleased with Juron's progress. Terrell Turner has had a nice year. Delashaun Dean is our third guy and got off to kind of a slow start, a slow year, but was hampered by a pulled hamstring most of September. We've been kind of fighting Bug Wright's coming on, David Roberts, so we have four or five guys that we lean on. A.J. Simmons has done a nice job. Chris Gronkowski our fullback has had a little bit of a better year a year ago, but I think that had more to do with probably Rob Gronkowski as a tight end. We did some nice things with those two guys paired together. It's been a little bit different obviously since Rob has been out.'

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