Carroll-Gilbertson Discuss Saturday's Football Game

Oct. 21, 2003

Football Press Conference Quotes

USC Head Football Coach Pete Carroll

'Our football team and entire Trojan family had a big day on Saturday in South Bend. We had a lot of fun with that one. We can put that one in the books and go right back to work against Washington, who really tore it up last week, and puts our attention back on Pac-10 football. It's another big road challenge for us. It's really an exciting time for us. I'm not concerned about getting fired up for this weekend because of the Notre Dame game. Our attention goes to Washington and we have to get jacked up and ready to go. Washington looked so good against Oregon State, a team that is highly regarded. They looked dangerous. This is a championship matchup for us and looking forward to it. Hopefully, the guys that got nicked up for us last week...we will take a look at and will wait and see. I have a feeling that guys like Jacob Rogers, Matt Grootegoed and Omar Nazel will play and do some practicing later this week. We just have to take things in stride. This is the time of the year where you have guys banged up and just have to get the backups ready to play. It's good to be back in the Pac-10.'

On quarterback Matt Leinart: 'He has played really well throughout the season with a few hiccups here and there. It's just his growth right now. He is so confident and has a lot to work with. The running game has been going well and the receivers are running their routes well and getting open. Coach Chow is calling the stuff at the right time to give him that opportunity. He has just taken advantage of all of those pluses. He is not having to do anything extraordinary, he is just playing good football. His decision-making is good and has been very accurate. I am hoping that this is the development of a quarterback in our system. It looks like the same rhythm and mix that we had a year ago, so we are really excited about that. He is coming through and doing a fine job for us.'

On possible move of Matt Cassel to tight end: 'We are talking about it upstairs right now. He is ready to help us a little bit there. I don't think this is an enormous move unless Matt makes it so. We will see how it works out. He has been there before and knows the offense well, but it just takes time.

On Washington's Reggie Williams: 'He is a terrific player. Their other receiver, Charles Frederick, has been the recipient of some passes since Reggie gets a lot of the attention. They have done a nice job of taking advantage of opportunities. Those two guys are a terrific duo. It's a very comparable matchup to our system. Reggie is a great player. He is the kind of guy that can win a game and take it over. He wants it that way and they go that way. We have to do a nice job in general against him.'

On the offensive line: 'The offensive line is really starting to show some consistency. Our running game has been moving well, our pass protection has been good. We got out of there last week with only one sack. We have played very well. There have been a few changes, but the guys seem to be mixing it well. John Drake has been very instrumental in moving him around in helping us. Jacob Rogers has given us great leadership. Norm Katnik by far is playing the best football he has played since he has been here. He has been outstanding as a run blocker. He has been the most consistent. The line has been effective. It is clear when we made the shift to having the running back in the mix and everything has taken off from there.'

On any team weaknesses: 'We are concerned about third downs. We are not effective on both sides of the ball. It's been the story for a while and we have not fixed it. We had a couple of glimmers in the last couple of weeks, but not enough to really feel good about it. We continue to emphasize it. Each day, we have a special period on top of our normal practice. We just try to go after it. It will make a difference in time of possession. We are hoping we can improve it. The key is coming up with the plays. It comes down to winning the one-on-one battles and we have not been doing that. Everyone takes part of it collectively.'

On unpredictability of offense: 'We are a long ways into our offense. We can do a lot of stuff now and our guys understand the way we move our people around. A lot of our concepts are the same, it's just the way you mask them and adjust them on a week-to-week basis. We really can do whatever we want now formation-wise and adjust as needed. The whole idea is you want guys to continue to execute in a way they know how to do real well. The more things you do well, the better off you will be. It's a lot of window dressing.'

On approach once the team got to Notre Dame: 'We had a real good air about us. When we got there on Friday, guys were having a lot of fun. It was interesting to see that. On Saturday, it's such a nice, classic setting. I was looking for (former USC assistant coach) Marv (Goux) with what I was doing. We were talking a little about that as coaches. To know that we had the game in hand at the end and accomplished something we had set out to do, we were real proud. It was a lot of fun.'

On the Bowl Championship System (BCS): 'It's the best that they can design it for right now. I have no problems with the system. By the end of the process, it gets worked out.'

On running back Reggie Bush: 'I think I made a comment after Saturday's game that when you get to see Reggie accomplish those things, that helps us. It makes his substitution into a game problematic for the defense. You know you have to deal with that wide range of playmaking. I love that he got into the open field and showed everybody his speed. He has the ability to make you miss. That will help us. That is one more element to add to what we are doing and hopefully, we will make it effective.'

On throwing more out of the backfield: 'Brandon Hancock was involved on Saturday and got some things done with Hershel Dennis. A lot of that was because the coverage went more towards the wide receivers and tried to double those guys up. We didn't force the ball all day.'

On Washington quarterback Cody Pickett: 'Well I hope he doesn't have a breakout game against us. He is a terrific quarterback and has had a great career in the Pac-10. He is dangerous and has a diversified offense. It will give us problems and they know what they are doing against the teams they play each week. They always have a nice scheme. He takes advantage of that. His receivers were catching a lot of balls last week.'

On more balanced Washington attack: 'They have added a coach (offensive line coach Dan Cozetto) that we have a lot of respect about his abilities. He had had an impact on the running game this year.'

On Notre Dame trip compared to two years ago: 'This trip and the Auburn trip were the same in terms of going out a day earlier. Our guys did a good job of handling themselves well. There is more time when they can get out of focus and they didn't do that. They took care of the job at hand. It was a smooth trip.'

On play of linebacker Dallas Sartz after Matt Grooetgoed came out of the game: 'Dallas played well after Matt couldn't do it. He did a good job in replacing him and we were real pleased with that. He saved us early with a couple of good hits. Anytime you lose guys who can make players, it's a factor.'

Washington Head Football Coach Keith Gilbertson

On win at Oregon State: 'All wins are big...there is no such thing as when it isn't big. I'm just happy for our guys. They were all pretty down after what happened in the second half of the UCLA game. We prepared better and played better last week.'

On transition of the past three months: 'It's hard to say. It has been kind of a real confusing time of the team. I can't answer that. I just think it's Washington's team right now.'

On offensive players: 'Reggie (Williams) is a lot like USC's Mike Williams. He is big and competitive, very fast athletic guy that likes to compete. He had his best game of the season last week. I don't think he has had the year like he did a year ago. I think there has been a lot of transition in our coaching staff. We have tried to run the ball more and be more balanced than a year ago. I think he is a premier player. Charles (Frederick)...we had a lot of high hopes going into the season because he is a gifted athlete. He had just been banged up and sick week after week and didn't get a chance to emerge. He gives us another deep threat because he is fast. He is a fine kick returner and gives our team and added dimension.

On status of tailback Rich Alexis: 'Rich probably will not practice until tomorrow. I anticipate that he will be back. We are going to hold him out one more day.'

On play of defense: 'It played the best its best last week against a premier runner in OSU's Steven Jackson, holding him to that total. We had 11 tackles for loss and forced OSU into a lot of negative plays. I thought we did a good job in getting them to third and long a lot of times. It has been a sore subject for us, but I thought our kids played very well.'

On USC: 'It's always a hard game. I have been around some great Washington-USC games and they always have been tough. This is a talented USC team with lots of fine athletes. They have team speed and size to go with quality athletes. I know a lot of their coaches. I thought the caliber of the coaches at USC has always been overshadowed by the quality of the athletes. I think Pete Carroll is a great defensive coach. They have a lot of things going for them.'

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