Pete Carroll Press Conference Quotes

Sept. 14, 2004

USC Head Football Coach Pete Carroll

'This is an important week to come back and respond to what we did last week. We had a game that we were really proud of and thought we accomplished a lot of things at home. It's only meaningful if we can go step forward again this week and play a solid football game. We have a lot of respect for (BYU), obviously because they came out of the chute and defeated a difficult Notre Dame team. They did it in big fashion. That result, coupled with us needing to go forward, makes this a big event for us. I think they there are some special aspects to it with (USC offensive coordinator) Norm (Chow) returning to a place where he had coached for so many years. We are going to try to keep him calm all week. He has a tendency to really fly off the handle (laughing). I'm sure it's an exciting opportunity for him and I'm sure he will try to downplay it. We are excited about it. BYU has obviously responded with injuries to their quarterbacks and they are back to full strength. John Beck is a guy who can run around and do things that really make it hard for a defense. They have a wide-open spread attack that was effective against us last year. Their defense also gave us problems. Along with their kicking game, it's a fine football team and we will have to be at our best to play well.'

(progression of receivers from the Virginia Tech game to the Colorado State game...)

'We made progress and have been productive. We did better and more guys contributed. We are still working on bringing Dwayne Jarrett along. I think we can see that the potential is clear and we have some guys that can make things happen. Their attitude about the way we played improved as well. Hopefully, we are over the early season jitters and we are ready to go with this football team.'

(injuries to BYU quarterbacks in Stanford game)

'They ran into a difficult situation. The third play of the game, they lost their second quarterback as their starter. That's a lot to expect for a guy, who is not preparing to be utilized, to have to jump into a game. Stanford did some good things and got it going. I don't think that's any indication of what kind of team they are. They are just trying to survive the fallout injury-wise at quarterback. I think they showed their true colors in the first game and they still played an impressive game against Stanford. We are very concerned about them. They are excited about having a full complement of quarterbacks.'

(running backs and return of Hershel Dennis)

'Our running back situation is in great shape right now. LenDale White and Reggie Bush have been ripping it lately. Hershel Dennis has been working out really hard to stay in shape, but we are going to have to wait and see what that means. I don't have any plans in mind other than to bring him back in, work with him and see where he is. I don't think it's going to take any time at all to get back into the flow of things. For anyone to jump back in a week after being out for a month is a lot to expect. We will see where it fits together and make a decision at game time. He might play, he might not play so I can't tell you right now.'

(freshmen playing for first time in Colorado State game)

'It couldn't have worked better, coming off the bye where we stressed the guys moving up the depth chart and trying to better themselves on the team. We had planned to do it anyway with the younger kids, but the guys got an extended amount of playing time. Jeff Schweiger played a ton and Jeff Byers played for the first time. We got to see Keith Rivers for the first time. It was a good opportunity for guys, especially on special teams, to show that they could contribute. It accomplished everything we could hope for. It's really going to help us. The preparation helped us, but the fact that they got in the games makes us more confident about playing guys.'

(playing first two games in front of large crowds)

'I think they were marvelous for us to get prepared for the season. The first game on the road with the buildup, the great crowd and noise and then coming home to a big crowd. With our guys playing well, that will fortify our ability to go into any setting. This week is going to be difficult for us. It's a loud stadium and the crowd is well-educated. They know how to do it well and cheer at the right time to make it difficult for the opponent. We need all of these background opportunities to get us ready which will help us down the road. We will be in pretty good shape. These guys will all play in the game this week. We are starting to develop some normal rotations that can really help us in the long haul.'

(freshman offensive lineman Jeff Byers taking snaps at left guard)

'He will get a few snaps during the week to expand what he can do for us. We want to play him again in this game. Ryan Kalil has responded to the competition that Jeff has brought. Jeff played solid football, which just makes us better. We are pleased about how it worked out.'

(playing backup quarterbacks in a lopsided win)

'It would be nice to give the guys a chance to throw the football. It just didn't fit that game. They still got on the field and had to run the show, make some checks and had to handle the game management process. There is time in that situation where we will throw the ball. For the most part, just handing off the ball was the right way to do it.'

(playing against BYU's 3-3-5 defense)

'We should be better than last year because we have more information. We had the opportunity to spend more time on it with some good lessons behind us in the springtime and summertime just looking at it to see how we were going to organize. It's a difficult and well-organized scheme. It's an aggressive package. I have had to work at it myself to understand it. We should do better, but they are going to do their own things and they will make adjustments.'

(BYU head coach Gary Crowton)

'I know Gary has taken a more active role in running the offense and there is a ton of stuff that they do well. I think he is a heck of a guy and I know he's a great coach so at least in that regard, regardless of where he came from, I look forward to the challenge of facing him.'

(safety Darnell Bing and matching up with BYU tight end Daniel Coats)

'We are going to work through the week and see how it goes and who starts. Both Darnell and Scott Ware will be certain to play. Darnell had a chance to make some plays in that matchup last year. Coats had a great football game last year so we are going to keep our eye on him. He hasn't been the feature this year, but we know they can go back to that style.'

(Matt Leinart and his rushing performance against Colorado State)

'That was by design (laughing). We thought we were holding back his talents and wanted to unveil that element. (Quarterbacks coach) Carl (Smith) has to get him in better shape...he was gassing out on us (laughing). It was fun to yell at him about it afterward. We had good protection and they covered us downfield on some of the things we were trying to do. He escaped well at the right time. He did some good things with it. He completed a couple of balls on the move and made some great yardage. That's a good element. Our opponents are not going into games thinking that Matt is going to run the football a lot. It's a good aspect for an offense when you have a quarterback that can escape. We want to encourage him to slide sooner and run effectively.'

(BYU offense)

'I think it's taxing with John Beck's ability to take off and run with the football. He has good speed. I have always bellyached about the difficulties of playing against running quarterbacks. We will prepare for that aspect of the game. They will spread you all over the field and they have a number of ways to put the ball in guys' hands with the screens and quick game. They do that about as well as anyone we see. It will be a challenge and we will have to matchup well with some extra defensive backs in the game at times.'

(Dwayne Jarrett's first game compared to former receiver Mike Williams' first game)

'One of the plays, the one in the endzone, was tipped and in front of him. He dropped a couple of balls that he had no reason to drop because he has tremendous hands. That was just a question of focus. It was very reminiscent of Mike at Kansas State, who dropped seven balls. We have seen the talent. We didn't pull him out of the game, we forced him to have to catch some balls and build his confidence. He needs to think clearly again about catching the ball. He's still a pup. There's a lot of development for anybody in his first year. Hopefully, we are over the hump. We stayed with him because we felt it was the right thing to do for him to get him out of it and wanted to develop our offense to see where he fits.'

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