Pete Carroll Talks About Saturday's Rivalry Game Against UCLA

Nov. 27, 2007

Pete Carroll: Obviously we have a visitor amongst us today. The (Lexus Gauntlet) trophy is here, I guess for an opportunity to say this is a big game in terms of this competition and there's a lot of points riding on it and always have.

It's been a fun part of this rivalry just having this additional aspect of the competition just to draw focus for our kids and to make all of the sports, you know, feel the tradition of playing against UCLA and all that. So it's a good deal and there's a lot going on this week.

But more importantly, there's a football game to be played here. We feel very fortunate to be in the situation that we're in with so much riding on our final game of the year. It just adds to the fun and the excitement of it. The Pac 10 championship at stake is enough, you know, to draw your focus and your attention, but it's your cross town rival, as well, to go along with the rest of the things that happened this last game of the year, our final game for our seniors at the Coliseum and all of the great stuff that at hand right now.

So we enter this opportunity with, you know, really high hopes and expectations that we can put together a really good football game. We're feeling good about our team right now. Our guys are healthy and strong, and we've had over the last couple weeks an opportunity to get a little additional rest that we benefitted from obviously last week. And a couple days off this weekend helped us, too, with even the opportunity to get some extra work, we got an extra day yesterday to get started on the game plan.

A lot of good things happened and I'm hoping that everybody is really as pumped up about it as we are and we can enjoy a great build up during the week and add to and make for a great match up.

We've got to do our part to play really good football and that's why we'll go about our business as we do, and really work hard this week as focusing on a great we had a terrific Monday practice, kind of a bonus day that we don't normally get and we go back to competition today and just one day at a time put together a preparation that allows us to perform really, really well and get us the win that we're hoping for. So it's a very exciting time for us all.

Q. What do you think about the job Coach Dorrell has done this year?
Pete Carroll: Well, you know, I think he's done a fantastic job. I think they have had the issues that can stagger a program with the quarterback situation that they have had, let alone other injuries that they have had.

I think that they have gone to a couple levels beyond where most teams go where you have to go to your backup quarterback and just what happened look around the country what happens when your quarterback gets banged up, you're just not the same team for the most part. To have to suffer through that back and forth, they found ways to win and created an opportunity to win when a lot of other teams wouldn't have.

I know that there's been a lot of talk and all that stuff, but he's found a way to keep his team together and position themselves right now to be a Pac 10 representative in the Rose Bowl, and shoot, we're thrilled to be in that situation and I'm sure they are, too. I hope they enjoy it and pumped up about it and I know they will bring their best to it.

So I normally don't get a chance to comment on another coach but I'm happy to do that. Thanks for that opportunity. I think he's done a terrific job in that regard.

That's good, you didn't have another question after that one, did you? (Laughing) What else we got here?

Q. What do you think of last year's game besides the obvious?
Pete Carroll: The obvious is they played a great football game against us, and we didn't. They were able to take advantage of the opportunity that was at hand there. We struggled in the football game in a number of areas. We played pretty good defense in the game, but it wasn't enough, and they won a fantastic game.

You know, hats off to them for pulling that off. You know, they know that and we know that and as far as we're concerned that's all we need to know about it.

It's been I think in the back of our minds all year just how you have to respect every opponent and every opportunity and know that you've got to bring your best to every single game, game in and game out, if you're going to have great seasons.

In that regard, that's all I need to know about that. We never talk about the past games. We don't go back. I don't use there might be a teachable moment here or there for us in certain instances, but 99.9 percent of the time, we don't talk about what happened in the past. We talk about what's coming up and what's at hand, and that falls in line with that right here and we will not spend any time on last year's game in regards to the preparation for this game.

Q. Last year, especially against their pass rushers, how relevant...
Pete Carroll: Yeah, they have rushed people well and consistently played terrific defense. They have a very aggressive style one that goes across the board to the front play to the way they play the run which has been very effective to the way they run their pass coverage are the real style they play with that causes problems, again, and it's caused problems for everybody. People have to work really hard to get their points on them.

I know they have some big plays that have broken out on them maybe more so than last year, but maybe that's what separates them from being on top in the league in defense. They have had a really consistent good year again. They are a really good third down team and they play the run well and they cause problems for you and they get to the quarterback, all of the things that a good defense does.

And we're up against it and we're really concerned about their approach and what they are able to do to us.

Q. You say you're not going to bring last year's game up to your team, do you really have to? Do you think they have had it burned into their minds for a year that you don't have to say anything?
Pete Carroll: Well, if I had to, I would do it, you know. We're already passed setting this game up now. We're in the plan now. We have already had the chance to introduce who we are playing and how we do it, and Tuesday there are a couple different parts of how we go about scheming things.

I'm not sure why you're asking it in that manner, but like I said, we're not talking about it and we don't talk about the game we would have won two years ago or whatever. None of that stuff really matters.

Q. The reason I'm asking, I would imagine most of your players remember that game and how they felt coming off the Rose Bowl turf last year, so they are going to be ready and they are not going to overlook these guys...
Pete Carroll: I'm glad you think that way.

Q. They will self motivate?
Pete Carroll: To think that we need motivation to go back to some revenge factor or something is really off line for how we operate. We don't work that way. You know, we don't think that way. I don't ever want to use those kind of issues to motivate us at any time because I think they are shallow and don't have enough depth and don't carry through the focus that we need. We need to focus on performance.

And so it's so common for people to say the matchups, you're playing away, you haven't won there in four years or you've won five years in a row or what the record are; none of that stuff gets into our conversations.

What we are talking about is what it takes to get our guys mentally focused to take on the game plan to, prepare really well for a great Tuesday practice, that's how we operate, that's how we think and if we do that really well, then we have a hell of a day on Tuesday, then we take the next step to Wednesday. If we didn't then we have to backtrack a little bit, cover our steps and get on. That's how we operate. That's what allows us I think to maintain a long term focus that encompasses all of the issues and all of the matchups and all of the idiosyncrasies of the games that you play.

So that we don't fit an approach up and down to the opponent or the style or the matchup or where we're playing or the weather or any of that kind of stuff. I say that to you because I'm just teaching a little bit. That's how we operate and how we think. And I think we are really, really good at this. And sometimes it bites us in the tail and for the most part it keeps us on track.

And very comfortable taking that approach into the biggest match up you would think of the year last week when it's 9 1 and conference championship is on the line and Arizona State can solidify their status for the Rose Bowl, whatever that stuff was going on; that didn't change our focus or playing on Thanksgiving or at Sun Devil Stadium or whatever. Didn't change us one bit from what we normally do, and I plan to make this game the same in that regard and as much as we possibly can.

So those other outside issue and factors and things like that are what people talk about, but they are not talked about in our meeting room and they are not stuff that's important to us.

I'll just mention to them give you a little help, mentioned to them yesterday, here is all of the things that people are going to be talking about this week. They are anticipating the questions and they know where they fit and they know where the emphasis lies and now here is what we are focused on and here is what's important to us.

I appreciate the opportunity did a little bit of teaching there. (Laughter).

Q. Even though Arizona State are you not playing as well as you have at any point in the season?
Pete Carroll: I have to work that answer here because if I just answer the question then you can say that I just said what you just said. What was your question, the end of it? I'm not answering the first part of it.

Q. As well as you played, maybe one of your better performances, are you at your peak now?
Pete Carroll: Well, this is a chance for us to really be at our best. There's no question that we are the healthiest we have been. I even looked at the service team depth chart and everybody is playing today in practice. That's all the way through the ranks.

So we do have our opportunity to be at our very best. I think last week we could feel it going into the bye, that if we took advantage of that break and got our legs back and got healthy and a couple guys returned, that we could have that chance to be really at the best we've been during the season.

John David Booty in particular, having five or six weeks since a broken finger behind him now, all of that in place, we would be positioned to play well. Now that doesn't mean we'll play well, but we felt like it and I think we did. We played a terrific football game last week.

But that was last week. Now this week is to find the focus that it takes to do it again. We have a chance to really finish on a big note here, and I'm fired up about it and it happens to be UCLA that we get to play this week.

And we're fortunate, like I said from the start that we feel like we feel. We are in this setting, we are at the Coliseum and we are playing for the Rose Bowl and for a championship in the Pac 10. It's awesome that we have this opportunity. We need to capitalize, capture this opportunity by performing really well and then that will be one more game, you know and then we'll talk about the next one.

But we have a chance, yeah and I feel great about it and our players do, too.

Q. UCLA had some decent wins but some really horrible losses with a fourth-string quarterback. When you look at that team, how do you break it down?
Pete Carroll: Well, I think they have had an enormous issue to deal with since the quarterback spot and I think when Patrick Cowan is playing they have looked really good and we anticipate he's playing in this game and they will be at their very best they can be coming into our match up.

With that said, we've seen them play really good football and we've seen them struggle and we think we know why they struggle. When they went to their fourth team quarterback against Notre Dame, it was all but impossible to get the execution they needed to play their game and they did the best they could under the circumstances. But that happened.

And again, I go back to that, you can't discount that factor. That factor of, it's not the coach's fault that guys got hurt. The guys got hurt because they got hurt. And it's the coach's duty to do the best you can with what you've got. That's what they were trying to do and they got down to their fourth team guy and that's it's almost too much to ask that they could perform at a high level.

And so you know, we've been in the situation in a microcosm to that this year when John David Booty went down and we saw what it was like to play with, you know, a quarterback that's hurt. Their guys have played hard, too. They have boldly attempted to play when they are banged up and it's hard to expect those guys to play at a high level.

So the point is, they are pretty good now. They have got it back there. They have got all three of their quarterbacks now, ready to go. The running back is in good shape, the receivers are sound and solid and in good shape. They are positioned to play a really good football game. We understand that and so we have to get ready to play a tremendous game to get this win and that's how we are going in.

Q. Changing your coverage...
Pete Carroll: We limit extra work on weekend for the coaches we get a bonus Monday. We don't have to go through the film and talk about last week's game and all that kind of stuff and be so close, two more days from the win, the game.

So we are a little bit better fitted to practice harder yesterday, so we got a little bit more out of it. And then we tailor a little bit down Tuesday and Wednesday to compensate. But the preparation really is right back on track now. We just had a little bit more in our background. It's competition Tuesday for us and away we go. I want it to be as normal and as it can possibly for our guys.

Q. What do you mean, 'tailor it down?'
Pete Carroll: Because of the minutes we got yesterday, we'll get a few minutes out of today and tomorrow.

Q. It's difficult to make it normal when you have luncheons at the end of the week and some of these players as many great rivalries as there are, like Michigan and Ohio State, what's different is that it's in the same city and that a lot of your kids played against those kids. Do you ever have to concern yourself with that distraction?
Pete Carroll: Firstly, I'm not taking those guys to the luncheon, so they are not part of that. That's what Karl and I have to do but the players don't have to do that.

There certainly is a factor when you know the guys you're playing against and some of the guys are in the same schools and rivalries in high school and all that have and they played in All Star games together and that adds to just the juice of the game.

But you know, I think if you approach it that that's a problem, then it's going to be a problem. We have to approach it as it's an enhancement and makes the game more fun and more exciting and we are just going to allow the charge that comes out of that to just build toward the game, and meanwhile do all of the focus that we normally do and take the steps that we have to to prepare. I think it adds to it. I don't think it detracts or makes it more difficult at all. I think it's just part of this match up and this game.

Q. In case there's some cynical people out there...
Pete Carroll: Anybody want to raise their hand?

Q. You're not pumping up the coach just because you want to see him?
Pete Carroll: Just talking about ball coaching really, just talking about coaching. And you know, I don't need to be pumping up UCLA, you know.

But I think it's a fact that the guy has been up against extraordinary odds. And I say that, you know, I'm not saying that we had a couple issues ourselves. We understand what it's like. And look at all of the losses that have happened to backup quarterbacks. I think West Virginia lost with a backup quarterback; Oklahoma last with a backup quarterback; Oregon has fallen on hard times because of the backup quarterback. That's just a factor. It's difficult and it will happen across the board in the NFL, the professional teams. They will have the same problems. It's just that's what happens in football.

I was really proud that our backup guy got in there and Mark Sanchez did a hell of a job to give us two wins this those three games; and did a beautiful job to get that done and that first Arizona game was so difficult for him to come in and perform at a high level. He even struggled early and found his way, and that's a great statement about his future and how he can contribute and how we can count on them.

It's very difficult. I think it's easy for the media to forget that and the fans to forget that. You know, it's still your team and you want to win, yeah, we all understand that and it's not the same. I'm not looking for sympathy, and I don't think any other coach is, either. It's just the facts. And so trying to get to the truth here.

Q. Are you saying that you understood the BCS for the first time
Pete Carroll: I don't I didn't say I understood it, because I don't. But go ahead. (Laughter).

Q. I was going to ask, what prompted that revelation and if you could explain?
Pete Carroll: No, I had a moment, I had a moment in there that something became clear. It wasn't an epiphany, but it was just a moment that I thought, it looks to me like for whatever you've asked so I get to espouse.

It looks to me like the BCS system is one that at the end of the process designates the team that had the most attractive season based on who they played and their record at the end and all of those things that you add up. It does not, in my opinion, have anything to say about who the best team is at the end of the year, meaning that who would be the team that would win if you had a playoff; who is playing the best football.

And I don't say that because I think that's who we are. We haven't finished our season yet and we have games to play yet. But there are teams out there and we are arguably one of them that could. We are one of them that could arguably be able to beat anybody in America when the time comes. And I don't think that the system is accounting for that.

They are accounting for the addition of the whole accumulation of the year, and it's interesting, too, that we are not involved with this, the Heisman thing. Everybody talks about how the guys finish, that last game this they played. Well, what are we talking about here? Are you talking about trying to pick out the best player in America or the guy that finished the best? Or the five that's the Most Valuable Player for their team?

I don't know what the definition of it is. I don't know what the definition is of the BCS, either. That's what I'm saying. Is it to pick out which team to be the best team standing at the end of a playoff system and that is the best way they can choose that? Or is this the way to account for what we think is the most attractive season that we think anybody had regardless of all the factors.

Now I don't have a clue past that and that's the little bit I do see into this thing. But who is the BCS No. 1 team might not be the team that would win in a playoff system, that's what I'm saying and that doesn't mean who cares. But that's all I got out of it.

Q. Would you like to see more of a team playoff
Pete Carroll: I've never told you how I think you should be do it, but I absolutely think you should be playing games off. I don't know any other way. I want to battle and compete and find out who is the last guy standing. And whatever it takes to get that done, I don't have the system, I don't know how you to it. Basketball has got 64 teams to figure it out. I don't know how they do it in any other sports. They probably have more than 64, do they have 64, is that right?

Q. 65.
Pete Carroll: 65 teams.

Q. The other football division two
Pete Carroll: I'm not going to try to come up with the answer. I have enough stuff to worry about. But I know this: That we would like to keep playing and would like to see just for the fun of it who is going to kind up being the last guy standing and we'll take our lumps whichever what...I'm not saying that gives us another chance.

I'm not politicking for nothing other than being a competitor and would like to battle and see what happens. Again, I don't have the answers for you and I'm not going to come up with them and I don't care. I just wish it was that way, and I don't imagine there's any other coach in the country that could think differently. I may be wrong.

Q. From a recruiting standpoint, especially here in Los Angeles would you rather see a bad would you rather beat a bad UCLA team or a top flight UCLA team? Would you rather see them suffering and beat them or...
Pete Carroll: I'm glad I haven't been challenged this morning but that's a good question right there. Why would you be asking that? Would I rather I could care honestly point blank off the top of my head, I could care less. I don't care what they have done. This is the last game of the season. We get to play against a team that's right down the road here. I don't care what they have done.

Q. Most important recruiting game of the year?
Pete Carroll: Has nothing do with it. I don't care about recruiting. I could care less about that. I want to win the football game and then we'll go recruit the next day. We'll have some guys in the locker room and if we win they will have more fun than if we don't and stuff like that.

But I mean, all of those issues don't really they don't really add up to me. We are trying to play the game and we want to win and have a blast on Saturday. And we'll be done at 4:30, and the sun will just be going down and people will still be out in the cars having their barbecues.

And when you walk out of here winning, man, there ain't nothing like it. To send all of those people home in their cars listening to the game talking about the game that just happened, the Trojans win, there ain't nothing like it. So everything else pales. There's nothing else that matters. So it doesn't matter what their schedule is or who they are or what they have done. It's the Bruins and Trojans and that's out of sight stuff now.

Q. You talk about the team being healthy and stronger, how about Sam Baker?
Pete Carroll: Sammy is ready to go. He's jacked up and pumped up and ready to go. He could have played in the second half. We just held him out and we knew Butch (Lewis) could do a good job. And we knew it would be best not to play him a whole lot and to expose him to the fatigue factor and all that. He was upset about it, but he handled it and now he should be ready after this week to play for the most part the game. We'll count on him going for it.

Q. The BCS this year, for instance, there could be a two loss team potentially being in that Championship Game. As a two loss team, as well as you're playing, would you like to see a two loss team to create more controversy?
Pete Carroll: Would I like to see it? I mean, I don't know. I don't know how that would happen. I don't know how it works, if it would work out that way.

Q. West Virginia and Missouri...
Pete Carroll: Give me some help here. There's still some stuff I think it's important. Let me see, I think it's important for us and the other teams that are still within range of that game, you know, to play like crazy here in these last couple shots because anything can happen.

There's no obviously, you all know that now. People don't want to believe that, if you've won 8 games you're supposed to win 11 and if you've won eight games you better win the next one if you want to win 11 and that's true here in reality and all that. I don't know, would I like it? I don't care. The BCS thing has not ever mattered to me. I've been saying this as long as I've been asked questions about it. We try to win the conference, be a conference champion and then whatever happens, you tell us that we get to play in the Rose Bowl, you tell us we get to play somewhere else, we'll go do it and we'll do the best we can with that opportunity.

That's about as high as I regard the thing. It's a system that's been worked I'm sure people have worked really hard to figure this thing out, you know and it continues every year to have issues because it isn't perfect.

So the only way you get perfect is to play them off and then there will still be say you go down to eight teams, then that No. 9, 10, 11 team, they are going to be pissed off and understandably. Because if they had been in the hunt maybe they could have won. There's always going to be something there, and I don't know how you can do it any better than 65 teams. That's pretty cool. That's pretty cool. (Laughter) And that 66th team, you know, shoot.

So anyway, I don't care who is there. Doesn't matter. It's always going to have some kind of a hold on it that isn't quite perfect but because there's multiple leg leagues and different conferences and competitions and all. I don't care, I don't care who is there. Doesn't matter.

Q. Are you talking out of both sides of your mouth, though?
Pete Carroll: I may be. I don't know, I can't tell. I'll admit to that. Thank you.

Q. You have always been very positive when you were walking off that field at Oregon, you had just seen Oregon, did you honestly think you had a shot to go to the Rose Bowl?
Pete Carroll: Yeah. I've never wavered from that thought. There's a point when you can't. As long as you can, yeah. I don't know. I know that our own players might have been doubting it and I know a lot of people would look at the situation would doubt it for the obvious reasons and all that.

But I don't know how to think that way and I didn't I hated walking off that field into that circumstance, because that was a chance that we, you know, we could have beat a football team that day that would have positioned us beautifully after the other loss that we had.

We weren't done. We ain't done yet. There's still a lot going on here you know.

Q. You talked about after the game
Pete Carroll: That's why I was just telling you...

Q. You seem genuinely 'yeah, we're still in this?'
Pete Carroll: Not generally, genuinely, right? That's what I felt and I still, you know, it ain't over yet, you know. So it wasn't then and it isn't now and there's a lot of stuff going on around the country right now. There's a lot of stuff happening so it will be pretty exciting to see how it finishes.

Q. Is this the craziest year you've seen in college football?
Pete Carroll: Everybody keeps saying that. I don't know, teams lose to go teams they have got to play. There's nothing automatic. You know, I don't know that it's crazy. It's just it's just the truth, you know, some really good football teams out there.

Why there have been more teams that rise up and beat some teams? I don't know. Some great coaching going on. The job that they are doing at Illinois what a great season they have had and that's a...they have made some noise this year with their upcoming and there's a lot of teams around the country that have stepped up and done some great things in the season. Arizona State was one of them. Nobody had any sense that they were going to be able to transition a new coach and do what they have done. It's a great year for Hershel Dennis and all. But I don't know that it's so crazy. I just don't think it followed suit like everybody kind of hoped.

And the fact that you had West Virginia and Missouri this far up; now, that's unusual because it usually isn't those teams. So what a great credit to those coaches and the programs and all. And how they got there, I don't even know who the heck they played or what was on their schedule, I don't know. But they are playing great football now and they are worthy and able to beat anybody in the country and that's the setting they are supposed to be in. So, I don't know.

Q. Knowing that you can't really control your destiny
Pete Carroll: I'll help you on that one a little bit. That's interesting, watching that game. It was better for us, I think, and correct me if I'm wrong, it was better for us than Oregon to get beat because they could still win they could have won that game and won the Oregon State game so they get beat and it helps us a little bit there.

So that secures our opportunity because we had to win this game anyway. But it's hard. It's hard to watch the Bruins go out and win a game. I don't know, I'm not real fired up about them winning. In reality, I kind of take it, okay, that's a good thing, all right, I have to kind of deal with it.

Q. Have a chance to go to the Rose Bowl and UCLA beat them and you were waffling
Pete Carroll: Didn't we have a chance anyway? We still had a chance anyway because they still had to play Oregon State.

Like I said, it's better for us that this happened, it's hard, because I would like to beat those guys and I don't care for them to do real well. It's okay that they have done all right, but that's the best way I can say it without going into great depth.

This is kind of fun today. You guys are doing good. What else ya got here?

Q. BCS has treated you pretty well, right?
Pete Carroll: BCS treated us well, weren't we top of one poll one time and top of another poll and wound up third? I think that happened.

Q. Out of curiosity would you have an explanation on the subject of Sedrick Ellis' penalty in the Arizona State game?
Pete Carroll: Yeah, I did. And a real specific one, matter of fact. Because that's something that I was curious about. Because is it doesn't state in the rules that you can't go like this or go like this. Now it says you can't do some other things but it doesn't say you can't do that (indicating).

What caught my attention was on the field when I challenged the officials about the call because I thought it was out of line and it was too quick and without warning and all the rest of that stuff, was I was told that it was in the rules and written that way so I went right to the source and found that out and found the list and it wasn't written that way, so they were misunderstood a little bit about that. It doesn't say you can't flex your muscles.

But let me say this. Sedrick doesn't need to do that. He doesn't need to do anything. But where do you where is it like this is okay and this isn't or, you know, I don't know. So there is another play in our game when one of their guys made a play and flexed his muscles and there was no flag flown.

I don't know, I think unfortunately it was very early in the game. I do know this: I do know that if the officials feel like there's a chirping going on and there's a conversation that they feel like is close to being out of hand and then there's a demonstration of some sort that may illustrate that the guy is trying to show dominance or whatever or draw too much attention to himself they are more apt to throw the flag. That was like the fifth play for us on defense, one series three and out and first or second play, might have been fourth or fifth play of the game and I don't know we did a whole lot of chirping up until that time so I don't think it was that situation either.

The rules behind what that's all about I'm totally in favor for. We should not be drawing attention to ourselves. Our kids are inundated with what they watch in the NFL, and it's hard for them not to react in the moment. If you can imagine the exhilaration of making a play like that and what comes out of you is not thought very clearly in that time frame there, something could happen.

But we need to be more poised and not allow ourselves to be penalized for something that we don't have to. Sedrick understands that. And the problem is, that happened about four or five times already this year. He's had a lot of sacks and a hell of a year and he's done that before and not been penalized. It's not in the rules, so we don't know to correct him on that.

But I still think in reality that was a bit of a demonstration and we don't need to do that. And so we're trying not to do any that have stuff.

Q. So did you get an explanation?
Pete Carroll: They critiqued it and they thought it would have been seen both ways depending upon how much chirping took place. But they looked at it seriously and I was satisfied with what they said, almost. (Laughter).

Q. The referee, looking back to watch the guy sacked
Pete Carroll: Good. I'm sure he was conscious of it. That but that was an extremely significant play in the game. Look what happened after that. They went bang, bang, bang, we get 15 yards on a face mask and they are in the end zone and game gets, you know, that's a huge, huge decision to be made right there.

We don't get to replay that one or maybe we would have come out on the other end of that, I don't know. But they are doing the best they can.

Q. Lawrence Jackson had a huge game, can you talk about what he's meant?
Pete Carroll: Yeah, he did have an extraordinary game. It wasn't just the four sacks. He had terrific plays against the running game, as well and I think Lawrence said it exactly the way I see it, too. He didn't do anything different in this game. He just kept playing and things came to him but the way the ball got turned and the quarterback got flushed and the calls got made he was the beneficiary of a huge game. He got national recognition for player of the week and stuff and he really earned it.

But this is a great story, kid from right down the street in Inglewood and I've told him a lot he was a screwball when he was coming out and it took a while for us to capture the best way to help Lawrence take advantage of this opportunity and man it took him about a semester and he jumped on the academic trail and has done a marvelous job of that stuff.

He's a four year starter, he's contributed in every way, he's captain of the football team, he's got a voice in our locker room and in our meeting room that's solid and sound and well regarded and respected. He's going to be a tremendous pro. He's a kid that has a great conscience about his community and giving back. He's extremely articulate and can handle himself in all situations.

I took Lawrence to a board of trustees meeting one time a couple years ago just to introduce him and somebody asked him a question that he carried the room for about 15, 20 minutes. I had to sit down and wait for him to finish his oratory. He was incredible that he was so well versed and gifted enough to be so good in all situations.

So he's a very he's a great example for what we hope that we can turn out in the program. Obviously I'm gushing about it because he's all of that, and he's been a great competitor for us to boot. So it's been awesome to have him.

Q. We spend too much time talking about the BCS, trying to figure it out; should we stop wasting our time?
Pete Carroll: What would you guys write about if you didn't have that? No, I think you're working with what you've got. It's fun. You know, I think the rating thing adds to all the conversations and all of the talk show stuff and all of that's going on. I think it's made fun for everybody. I don't know that it' indicates what I think it should in. I'm trying to find who the best team is, who would win the championship playoffs if I don't know that it clearly can define that, and I don't think it can.

So I don't hold it against anybody. I just you guys can write about it. You need to write about it because it's out there, but I don't think we should put too much stock that that's what we live for. We don't live for that around here. We live for being the champion, and that's what playing our conference and trying to get to that darned Rose Bowl and all that.

So when that next issue fits in, then we pay attention and hell, we'd love to go to the National Championship again if we're worthy of it and however it takes to get there, we're going to try to battle to get there. But you know, it is what it is.

Q. The plus one
Pete Carroll: You know, I don't know what that is. I don't know what a plus one is. That sounds like something I should know but I don't know what that is.

Q. The two best teams after.
Pete Carroll: I don't know, you know, that's one step closer and it's one way but I don't think that's a real playoff. I think that's one way to settle, to try to equal the playoff fervor.

I love the Bowl games, you know. I don't have any answers, obviously. But I don't know why you play the Bowl games and don't just keep playing, it would be fine. It would be cool. There's a lot of time between these Bowl games, you know, and when the season ends. There's a lot of time we wait to play these games. There's a few weeks in here now. We could do some playing here and then play some games and then have Bowl games, too, I think.

Q. Do you maybe come at this a little differently because you've been in the NFL and you've been in an environment where they do play it off?
Pete Carroll: I think that's a perfect that's a perfect analysis, yeah. Because we've yeah, we know what it is to have a playoff. It not like it's a mystery. We do it in every other sport. We just don't do it in football.

The problem is we're going it for reasons, because we're protecting the Bowl games and the tradition and the money and all that kind of stuff. You know, that's that's the part we have to deal with because it not really the reasons that the competitors are playing. We're playing the game to see how far we can do and see how far we can take it.

The rest of that stuff is somebody else's issues and concerns. Yeah, it pays us back and supports us and all that kind of stuff. But the pure hearted competitor doesn't care about that stuff. We just want to go play. They want to play out here, we play out here. We'll go wherever they let us play. We'd like the turf a little better but doesn't matter, we just want to keep playing and see what happens.

Thanks for having us. Nice to have you here.

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