Quotes From Weekly Pete Carroll Press Luncheon
Oct. 26, 2004
Press Conference Quotes, 10/26/04
USC Coach Pete Carroll
'Here we go. We have a new adventure coming up, going up to the Northwest this week. We've had a great homestand. We've got to get our travel gear going and get ready to go again. WSU has been up and down a little bit, but they've shown some really good stuff on both sides of the ball. We've got to play really well, make sure we bring our game and get it done. It's a big opportunity for us, knowing that we've got a couple games in a row on the road and we'd like to get it started off right. Hopefully, we'll have good practices this week and get some work with the rough weather. Fortunately, we had a couple days like that last week, so we have some background. We've got some guys banged up this week, so we'll see how they return. No serious injuries, just guys that are nicked up and haven't cleared the trainers yet. We'll see how that works out.
(on the Washington game)'It was at game's end a good one for us. We didn't find our rhythm early on offense. Our defense came out smoking from the first play. Matt Leinart regrouped at halftime and pulled it together and I thought we finished off well. We were able to get a win where we could get a lot of guys playing. There were situations where guys got to do things for the first time, where they could be celebrated by their teammates. It really was a great locker room afterwards because of all the first-time guys that got to contribute. I'm proud of the three weeks in the Coliseum that we just had. We continue to play well here and now we have to take the next step.
(On Washington's defense)'Both of Washington's corners are good players. They are strong and they held their own at the line of scrimmage. They did a nice job on us. We thought we could go and challenge their safeties, but it didn't happen like we hoped until we popped a couple plays later in the game. I think people play with what they have. I don't think too many team have corners that are that physical. They played us very well in the first half. I know Washington State has a couple guys who are playing pretty well, too.
(On WSU's challenge with a new quarterback, Alex Brink)'When you have a new guy, you have to find your way a little bit. He played in the Colorado game and made it through it. I'm sure they are trying to find his strengths with him being a freshman and all. He's athletic and he has a live arm, so they are not losing anything in that regard. But I think they need to find what's good for him. Oregon State really went after him, played a lot of man-to-man and gave a lot of pressure. He had a tough first game. I think they are going to stay pretty much the same. They've had similar type of quarterbacks in the past, so I expect them to stay the same. They have a lot of offense they can go to where they can get him some completions on easy stuff. I would expect them to do a lot of that.
(On the challenges of playing at Martin Stadium)'We had some guys who didn't survive it last time we went up. It's a typical turf field. The stands are very close and the crowd does a really good job of hollering at the right time and supporting their team. It's a little bit of a funky atmosphere. The locker room is a long way away from the field. You have a lot of traveling and walking to get to the playing field, so it's different. Fortunately, we've been there before. We played a very good WSU team last time we were up there. We'll have a pretty good feel for it as coaches anyway. It's not an easy place to play. It's a good home field advantage for them.
(On looking at the film of the 2002 loss to WSU)'It was hard watching the film because we didn't play very well and we had a game where we could have won, but we didn't. It was a hard fought game and we didn't take advantage of our opportunities. So, it (the pain of looking at the film) doesn't go away.
(On the play of USC's backups vs. Washington)Matt Cassel did fine. Desmond Reed did really well on special teams. Jason Mitchell had a big play. John Walker had a big play. Keith Rivers had a turnover. Jeff Byers played really well. Drew Radovich played well when he came in. Terrell Thomas played a lot of plays out there. All of those things really helped their cause as they make their bid to play more and for us to develop our depth. We benefited a lot from that game in that regard. Jeff Tola also had his first action and did a good job.
(On Dominique Byrd's conditioning)'He's still pretty heavy at 265. He looks terrific moving around. He's had a very difficult time this last year trying to work out. He hasn't been able to work out and run like our other guys. But he looks very good on the practice field and on the game field and we won't hesitate to use him. He looks pretty good at 265 right now. If he can play that big, that's fine. He might be a few pounds over, but he's looked pretty dangerous so far. He's tough to tackle.
(on the development of Darnell Bing)'There's no question he has improved a lot. He did have a very good game two weeks ago. He didn't get a chance to do as much last week because the ball wasn't getting to him. In practice, it was about 5 or 6 weeks ago that he had taken that next step in the intensity and quickness of his reads and his aggressiveness. We're really excited about it. He's playing really well. It's the best he's played by far since he's been here. He's more physical and more sure of himself, more confident in what he's doing.
(On Jeff Byers stepping in for John Drake at guard)'I'm excited for him to get a chance to work with the first group this week. He really played well last week. He finished a bunch of blocks, got some knockdowns. He was freed up to show the intensity he brings. He's a great finisher. That showed up on film. I'm happy for him to have this chance and now he needs to make something of it. I'm sure he'll do very well. I think John will make it back, though. If Jeff gets a good week and John isn't able to, we'll go with Jeff and work John in where we can.'
Washington St. Coach Bill Doba
(On his team's fortunes since a fast start)'We've had some injuries. An unusual amount really. We've lost a couple tackles, a quarterback, both tight ends. I'm not trying to alibi. We are a young team and we needed to improve, but we've had an inordinate amount of injuries. We've also started to play some better teams lately. When you start playing in the Pac-10, you'll play some good folks. We lost to Oregon close and then played Stanford well. And then we had our poorest performance last week against Oregon St. I wish I had an answer as to why, but we just didn't play well. We didn't tackle well on defense. I think our new quarterback did well for his first start. He got blindside a couple times, but everyone does that.
'This is a tough challenge this week. It's the first time we've had a No. 1 team to Martin Stadium. It's a chance for our kids to make something happen and we're looking forward to it.
(On WSU's running back situation)'Chris Bruhn probably will not play. Some of his cartilage has pulled away from his bone. It's a 3-4 week recovery period for him. Jerome Harrison has just been awesome for us. We took him out of JC last year and he's done a wonderful job for us at that spot. Allen Thompson banged his shoulder against Stanford and he tried to go last week, but he didn't have the strength. Kevin McCall is our backup right now.
(On whether he has had to change the offensive style after the injuries)'We changed our style a little bit. All of a sudden we were faced with playing in an offense with no tight ends. Obviously, we've had to make some changes and tinker with it some and try to put things together. We've tried to put the best players on the field for that particular situation. We've gone to more two-back formations.
(On whether he is happy with his defense)'I was. I thought we were lackadaisical last week. We weren't flying around to the ball like we normally do. We gave up some big plays. Going into this season, I thought they played well for a bunch of young guys. Remember, we had lost 9 guys from the previous year. We only gave up 125 total yards to Colorado. Recently, we just haven't played as well as we normally do.
(On the reason for USC's success on defense)'Mike Patterson and Shaun Cody. Those two guys are the best in the country. With a defense built around two tackles like that, you can't stand back in the pocket as a quarterback because they can get pressure with a four-man rush. I'm also impressed with Keith Rivers in the little bit that I've seen him. He really runs well. I also think the secondary plays well. They play out on an island one-on-one. They have a good scheme and they do a good job.
(On the challenges of being the underdog against the No. 1 team)'I think we have to look at it as having everything to gain and nothing to lose. We need to relax and try some things we haven't tried before. And really, USC has to help us. They have to put the ball on the ground. They have to make mistakes. They have to make incompletions or throw passes at us so we can get turnovers. If they play their top game, it will be very difficult for us to win.'