Football Press Conference Quotes

Oct. 23, 2001

USC Head Coach Pete Carroll

Last Week Review
'Through these tough weeks of similar types of ball games, where we have not been able to finish these games in the end, you might think that this is just going to drive me into the dirt and I'm not going to able to bounce back. But being an optimist, I keep looking for the things that are going to help us down the road. The things that are going to make us the type of team that can position itself to win these games. Our problems are in the fourth quarter. We need to make some plays to get us some wins on all faces of the football. We continue to challenge our players so they can come through and make the plays we need to make. We just need to keep working at it. Unfortunately the results have been pretty much the same.

'I look around at the teams in our conference that are doing well and you see some seniors and some upper classmen that are making some big plays. I'm hoping that our guys are getting there and are developing the kind of confidence that a player needs to endure these situations. With experience they'll learn to push their way through these big wins.

'I'm also seeing that we've been subject to our lack of depth in kicking game situations. We have continued to make changes to try and correct our errors by going to new guys. Losing a couple linebackers have also made it difficult to cover kick situations. We need to get our guys back and get our guys better. I am still a little disappointed in the kickoff coverage team. We have real clear-cut areas that we need to improve on. We are so close that with every coaching decision I make it has a lot of magnitude. The line is so fine between our success and lack there of. We just have to keep battling.

'Arizona has been playing very well, especially against Washington. They did a lot of great things in that game. We will see how they deal with it. I'm sure they were very disappointed and we are as well. This is a must-win situation for us so we can move ahead and get back to making progress.

Goals from here on out...
'What I would like is just see us playing good football and whenever that happens, it happens. We have seen glimpses of progress, and at this time, we just have to concentrate on that and keep getting better. Whatever the end gives us, it gives us. If we are fortunate enough to get into a bowl game at the end then we'll do it, but we need the football time... we need the practice time. We need to keep practicing and get better. It is difficult because all of the goals we should be shooting for are not there right now. You come to 'SC to win a championship and I'm going to be disappointed whenever that is not the outcome. Regardless of the bowl or ranking - it's about championship seasons.'

Regarding struggles in the fourth quarter...
'We have done some things at the end of our practice to concentrate on that. At the end of practice we make it a competitive session - offense and defense every Tuesday and Wednesday and for a short time on Thursday. We tried to heighten the intensity of the practice right at the end and expect the players to play their best then. We continue to emphasize that.'

Expectations of the Arizona running game...
'I'm really impressed by Clarence Farmer (6-1, 215, Soph.). He looks like so many big-time backs that you have seen in the past. His ability to run, his moves and his ability to be tough and not go down. I think he is one of the most explosive guys we will see. We are going to have to play situation defense when he's in the game. We'll have to really load it up and keep him from getting out. When he is in the game he can score from anywhere and so this is a guy we have to really focus on. They also have a passing game that is very explosive at times. They've connected for some very big plays. This is Pac-10 football - there's always terrific offense.'

State of confidence on the team...
'We have tried to eliminate the negative so we can give ourselves the best chance to win. We have really attacked the kicking game and we've attacked the turnovers. We've tried to create a better environment. We are doing better in the turnover area. Our penalty situation could definitely be improved upon. We are not giving up as many critical situations on the kicking game. Our successes just haven't been interpreted into victories. Unfortunately, because of the caliber of teams we face, it has made it very difficult for us to gain some momentum. We just need to achieve little successes, pile them up and make them turn into wins.'

Development of Shaun Cody...
With his background and his build everyone expected Shaun Cody to be a factor. When we talked to Shaun in recruiting we told him how he would have a tremendous chance to be a starter for this team by the end of the season. It panned out because he worked really hard and prepared really hard. It was clear he was going to be a factor. He's just so consistent, he's savvy, he understands the game really well, he has a great motor and he plays really hard. He is very coachable technique-wise. It takes all of that to do what he's doing. He's off to a fantastic start in his career here.'

Regarding the fake punt...
'It is not an uncommon play for us to call. However it gives a young man a choice to make out there. The choice is that we try to kick the football all the time unless he's just wide open. In Mike MacGillivray's defense, it looked like he had a chance... it was not that far to make the first down but as the safety came running over you could see that he double-clutched it and would like to have kicked but it was too dangerous at that time. I would love to have not put him in that situation. It was just too difficult and the magnitude was large. Football players make decisions on every play. They have to read and make choices all the time. Unfortunately Mike's decision was one that was out in the open and everybody saw it. I was really proud of him, he stood up for the decision, but I just wish I would not have put him in that situation in the first place.'

Regarding the possibility of moving Frank Strong to running back...
'We talked about that, this morning. We will take a look at him during practice and see what we can do with him. If we needed him he could jump in there but we would be very limited in what we could do with him. But Chad Pierson's looking good for this week and I'm pleased with the way Sunny Byrd's running the football. Charlie Landrigan is limping around a little bit but he's ready to play. He made it through practice yesterday and we'll probably be giving him some time off today. He looks like he will play. But Frank could step up if we needed him in an emergency situation.'

Regarding the touchdown out of the no-huddle offense...
'If we can catch the defense not prepared, we have a way of snapping the football. Some of it has been effective and some of it has not. It does take us away from the running game. The thing about the no-huddle is that you always feel that you're doing something good but it doesn't always translate into a touchdown. It gets harder as the field gets shorter. As we get better at it we want to be able to use it as an effective weapon.'

Inconsistency at the tailback position...
'Sultan McCullough's been hurt since the second half of the San Jose State game. He has been playing and has done an admirable job of fighting through it. Most of the weeks he hasn't been able to even run and he's been shut down the last couple of weeks. That's 1100 yards and a 6.2 average that we don't have in there. We've had to be in transition in that spot a little more than we wanted to. We would love to have seen Darryl Poston play and he dinged his knee up a little bit. We have not really had the chance to see the full flow of the tailback position. I'm real happy that we found an extra dimension by having Sunny Byrd back there. He has run very well in open field situations. He's got some juice and I like seeing him out there. Both Chad Pierson and Sunny have pretty good hands - they can both catch the football alright.'

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