Carroll, Price Comment On USC-Washington State Game

Oct. 1, 2002

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Football Press Conference Quotes

USC Head Football Coach Pete Carroll

'We were pleased last week to get off to a good start in the Pac-10. I know everyone was hoping to get that down. That was a good accomplishment for us. I was pleased with the style that we played against them and played good football against Oregon State. We got a lot done on defense. A solid performance on offense helped to get us a win. It will be interesting to see what we do on a week-to-week basis in this conference. Oregon State was a very good football team and we had them at home. We were surprised that we were able to win the game the way we did. We feel fortunate and then here we go to Pullman this week and Washington State is ready to rock and roll. We got everybody ready to go. It will be interesting to see how the matchups go now that we play on the road in the Pac-10. We need to do a very good job in our preparation and our mind set. We need to play our best football here against a terrific football team. We are really excited about. We like where we are right now.'

(talking about USC defensive line...)

'I like the way they played on game day. It was fun to watch them. There was a lot of consistency. If (Oregon State) gave us something, we were able to take advantage of it. We pass rushed against their tight ends and we were able to get them. I think our secondary complemented well when we needed it to get an extra second in rushing the passer. It was a consistent effort and very solid. I didn't think it was spectacular. It was a good solid game and things went right. We had an opportunity to take advantage of and we came through. That's the tremendous aspect of what we are doing here.'

(talking about Justin Fargas and Sultan McCullough in the Oregon State game...)

'I thought they had a chance to break open with some runs. I just keep thinking if we kept pounding away...we were going to pop one here and pop one there. In the fourth quarter, we actually ran the ball better than we did early in the game. We started to get a little consistency, but I thought one of those guys was going to pop if we kept delivering it to them. It made for a consistent day of being able to hang onto the ball. The aspect that was good was we ran the ball 49 times and took a lot of time off the clock. It gave us 37 minutes of possession, which was huge. Justin is 100 per cent and he'll be better for it. I think his timing will continue to improve, seeing the line of scrimmage and the holes open up. His ability to make cuts at the right time will improve. He really is inexperienced with what we are trying to do, but I think he will continue to improve.'

(talking about small, nagging injuries on team...)

'I think we are pretty healthy from what we have been through. A number of these injuries are the kind that they can play with. I don't think it's unusual. We have played four tough and physical games in a row. That's what you have to expect.'

(talking about playing in Pullman...)

'I have never played there before although I have gone through there on my way to Idaho. I know it's a difficult trip. There are some aspects that are different and the weather can be severe there. The potential is there. We just have to see what the climate will be like. I'm sure they will have a pumped-up stadium because they are doing so well. It will be one of the big challenges that we have and playing a really good team on the road will be tough.'

(talking about recent New York Times computer rankings...)

'I don't know anything about that computer. It really doesn't matter to me right now. It's interesting that it can be so different than the other computers.'

(talking about impact of a solid kicking game...)

'That's the mindset of a football team. We are going to get turnovers and present our offense with some setups. We have to have the right attitude. I thought we failed against Kansas State in that area, but we had some good opportunities on the 30-yard line...we just didn't get anything out of it. It's a mindset that I try to present and expect it to be part of our play. Right now, the way we are playing on defense..if we can keep that going and play the way we did last week in a conservative approach in staying on the football and wait for an opportunity, that's a good formula for winning. Ryan Killeen will start, but he and David Davis will continue to compete. Ryan deserves to play, he did a great job last week.'

(talking about Washington State quarterback Jason Gesser...)

'He's a very talented quarterback in their style of offense. He's so adept at finding the open receiver. He knows the offense so well that the timing is quick. As it breaks down, he really makes big plays out of broken plays. He has a real knack for moving at the right time to throw it and the right time to run it. This is the kind of quarterback that gives you the most problems because he can take a normal rhythm play and then bust out and start it all over again. I think this is one of the great cases about their success over the last couple of years is his ability to make the big play. That is one of his great strengths.'

(talking about USC's young secondary handling Gesser...)

'It will be a good challenge. When things break down, whether or not they make the right decisions on the right guys. Obviously, what we are hoping to do is to make them run the football and not have a chance to get behind us. We have to do a good job preparing for the scrambling and stay behind these guys.'

(talking about Washington State's offensive scheme...)

'Their whole scheme is to get the ball out very fast. They are a productive screen and draw team. They do all the things that make it difficult to get to the quarterback. Oregon State was a drop back, play action type of team and Washington State is the opposite end of the spectrum.'

(talking about play of defensive backs last week...)

'The pressure that we had up front made it real easy in the back to stay behind everyone. William Buchanon had a couple of good plays...DeShaun Hill had some very nice plays on the ball. For the most part, the quarterback was getting rushed and he had to get rid of it. It made for a fairly easy day for the secondary.'

Washington State Head Coach Mike Price

'We are not the same team than we were at the start of the season. If you look at USC's starting lineup at the start of the season, they have had only one change. If you look at our lineup, it's a different one every weekend. We have just had freak injuries that have happened to us and at times, it has just decimated our team. We still have injuries on our offensive line and other guys are banged up...against USC's defensive line, it's going to be a competitive situation for us.'

(talking about status of quarterback Jason Gesser...)

'He showed a lot of courage last week and we have to protect him. He was only sacked once, but even though he was sacked in this offense, he will get hit as he throws. He is continuing to do that, we just hope he makes it through this game. USC knocked (Oregon State's) Derek Anderson out of the game last week and we sure don't want that to happen this week.'

(talking about strong play of other players...)

'Well we got our receivers back, Devard Darling, Mike Bush and Jerome Riley...those guys are pretty good players and all three of our running backs are healthy. Jonathan Smith is from Pasadena, John Tippins is from Santa Monica and, along with Jermaine Green, those guys are playing well. The receivers are healthy and playing well...that helps the offense.'

(talking about defense...)

'The defense is okay. We have had a lot of guys in and out of the linebacking position because of two players who were penciled in as starters, who probably won't play this week (Don Jackson and Will Derting). Don will probably play although he's not 100 per cent. We think we have a pretty good defensive line and our secondary is playing pretty well and is healthy.'

(talking about USC team...)

'I think they have great balance on their team. On defense, they don't have a weakness. They have played some good defensive team so their offensive statistics are a little misleading. They have great speed in a lot of different areas and Carson Palmer is playing the best I have ever seen him since he's been at USC.'

(talking about USC defensive line...)

'I think they are really good. We think we have a good line as well, but it's different from their line. Everyone on the USC line is solid...they aren't too light, not too heavy. They can run and playing real hard. They are one of the best defensive fronts they we will go up against. I'll let you know more after the game.'

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