Pete Carroll Press Conference Quotes

Nov. 3, 2009

COACH CARROLL: It's obvious through I'm sure the questioning that we have, it's a week that's unusual for us. Coming off a game that we played that was so disappointing last week. You know, there's not much that could be said about that. I'll wait for you guys on this one.

As of Saturday night, we closed the doors in the locker room and had to go ahead and address the situation that happened. You know, I was compelled to go back to it. It was kind of the approach and method that we have of dealing with what's just occurred.

Win or lose, we actually deal with it in a very similar fashion, more emphatically when necessary, but when the game is over, It's done. We can't do anything about it and we have to move forward and get on. It's your ability and strength that you have to discipline yourself to focus on what's coming up that really is the challenge.

You know, for years it's come up in different directions. It doesn't always just come up from winning, it comes up from losing as well. The way the game came across, this was an unusually significant challenge for us, and we were facing it. And hopefully we'll do this really well.

My indicators are that we'll have the guys respond and have the coaches respond how we're dealing with it, and we went about our business yesterday very pointedly and had a very good work.

You might imagine that the speed of practice was up and our tempo was really good. It was one of our better Mondays. I think in response to winning, answer the call and show that the guys are ready to get after it, and turn our focus to go and play Arizona State.

That's what's at hand for us. They're a tough football team, very physical football team. They've had some really tough games and had a very difficult game last week. They have a lot of young guys playing for them. And I know Dennis (Erickson) has these guys cranked up, so they're going to give us a bunch of problems.

So we have a lot of challenges in mind here, and it will be our focus. I need to do a good job, the players need to do a good job, and everybody will follow suit. That's kind of what we've done in the past.

Again, about this matchup, a very aggressive front seven for them. It's a terrific run defensive season. They've pretty much taken the running game away from teams for the most part. And it allows their pass rush to get run at you so we have to deal with that.

We want to maintain the consistency and balance that we've been seeking for some time offense, and on the other side of the ball they have changed their style a little bit. They've become a shotgun running team...same principles and things, but with a very wide open and down field passing game. Danny Sullivan has taken over for, you know, we watched Rudy Carpenter for so many years and throwing the ball over the field and spreading it around and challenging you to not only play the running game, but to play the play actions and things where they challenge and stretch the field on you. So this is the challenging game and it all waits for us.So last thing I'll say is it has been a difficult year on the road, and this is our last road game. And this is an important, I think message to finish this road season on a good note. So we're doing everything we can to get the right attitude and the right energy to go into their stadium and see if we can get out of there with a good win and come back home and finish this season off here at the coliseum.So we look forward to getting this thing done and getting this game completed in the right fashion and getting back home.

Q. A lot of people said after Saturday, What is left to play for? Is this where you go back to there are only a few Saturdays in your life and you play for those Saturdays?
COACH CARROLL: You know, it's interesting. I've been asked even in some of the phone call interviews and things about how do you structure salvaging the season? You know, we've never talked about the season in a manner that I know you probably think we do, about the championships and ratings and bowl match ups and all that stuff. That's never I'm talking this is nine years of this. I've never talked like that to these guys on a regular basis, because it isn't the way we approach it. It isn't the way we focus it.

So, you know, we have this game to play. We have one chance. That's all we have. Our guys know that they may never get another chance. That's kind of how we go about it and try to do everything we can. Sometimes it works out for us, sometimes it doesn't. That's been our way of focusing for years. And it serves us well quite often, and it certainly does this time around.

We go back to what we know is familiar, and we go back to try to create a really good approach to get a great focus for this challenge of this game.

Q. (Indiscernible)?
COACH CARROLL: They're a shotgun running team, and the quarterback does carry the ball. Somebody's not a featured runner in the offense. He's a real big kid at 6'5', and 6'6'. But he does take the ball and run some, and he uses the take series which is off the running game that's similar. They certainly could.

They have the place to run basically the same stuff, but not nearly with the emphasis of the quarterback being the focal appoint vie. Their focus for the quarterback is to, you know, manage the running game and rip that ball over the field. When we drop back more deepest play action stuff for the QB to set up and do their stuff.

Q. After a game like that, how important is it that we the seniors on the field become vocal?
COACH CARROLL: Really important. I mentioned it on Saturday night to remind them because I know the majority of these guys can recall with Thomas Williams and Keith Rivers and Brian Cushing and Mark Sanchez at the time said after we had gotten beat in the second game a couple years back and how they responded to it. Knowing that what we have is to finish this season going one game at a time and see if we can take it.

In that, like all of our guys know best what we're all about and what it means to us. To make sure that the message is clear and they help guys understand and learn. This is a real learning opportunity for us, you know. It will be very meaningful for our younger guys as they develop through the program to carry the message when it's their turn when necessary, you know, down the road. So it's very important right now. More so than in other times of the season, this is an important time for them.

Q. Will they be happy to go back to what's familiar? How dramatically did you alter your scheme defensively trying to stop it?
COACH CARROLL: Well, we had spent a long time, unfortunately, a long time from earlier all wait back to spring football preparing for this offense. The offense that we thought we would see potentially from Washington, potentially from Ohio State, potentially from San Jose. Where they would feature the quarterback and run, you know. And we just took it a step farther and a step farther took us into a dark alley.

We didn't perform like we thought we could. This was kind of the best challenge to the scheme. We got messed up early on, and they did some really good things. Fortunately for them they chipped away at what we wanted to do and we were out of it.

So made a mistake in the plan in the approach and it didn't carry over in terms. What happens is we didn't play with the same commitment and intensity that we normally do. We got caught looking and reaching and grabbing, and it was a nightmare. It was just a calculated approach that didn't work out, and kind of, you know, unusually significant fashion for our opponent. It worked out for them, obviously, great.

Q. It was kind of a one time thing, a defensive problem, or is it kind of consuming?
COACH CARROLL: Well, it's a little concerning because we've given up a lot of points on the last few weeks, but not for the same reasons, you know. They're different things that have occurred. This one was a scheme issue. I'm just putting all of the focus on that to just wait for everybody to understand it.

It was a scheme focus that we didn't carry our normal mentality in the game. And Oregon had a lot to do with that. They played really well. They played really fast. We didn't catch up to the tempo in things that we were doing. We knew it was coming and all, but we didn't carry it at the beginning.

Q. How unusual is (Oregon quarterback Jeremiah) Masoli?
COACH CARROLL: I think he's an unusual competitor. He's a more savvy competitive guy. You look at him as the athlete. But looking at him stature wise, I guess you could say that makes him unusual. He's a smaller guy. Probably 5'11, something like that, probably 220 pounds or something, you don't see many guys like that. But he has a terrific sense for making plays and a lot of confidence.

He threw a couple things in there that were really, you know, very risky, and he made great results out of them. You know, converted them on a couple of third downs with some plays that were really unusual. You know, we had guys around him. We missed them in the back field a couple of times. The third time he made the throw or made the run.

So he did a really cool job of playing the game. He must have been the MVP or player of the week or something, I would think. He deserved it. It was really there by his performance.

Q. Would last year's defense have been more equipped to handle the Oregon scheme better since they were more experienced?
COACH CARROLL: Well, we did variations of it last year, and it worked great. We just took it a step farther. Yeah, I think without question. You can't deny the fact that last year we had fourth and fifth year guys playing across the board. We had six or seven guys playing the front seven that had played for years for us.

So their ability to handle the scheme and the mentality of the way they played was obviously different than what happened this time around. Scheme wise we knew what we were doing. Physically and mentally we weren't able to carry it out. That was a mistake on my part to put the guys in that position.

Q. What do you say to the theory it's unreasonable to expect a program to maintain this level when you have injuries and transfers and coordinators and all those things?
COACH CARROLL: I only have one way to look at that. I can only respond in one way where we can turn and make the transition immediately, regardless of what the circumstances are.

I think for half of the season, we played eight games now. Seven games. Eight games. After five games you would have thought it was the opposite response to what you have now.

But I don't, you know, I don't know any other way to look at it than we can respond, we can transition, and we can do that because we've done it for years. Right now it looks like we missed the question to that. We have a lot of games left on the schedule to return.

When we lost up there a couple years ago when Mark (Sanchez) was playing everybody said the exact same things, exact same responses and all that. We were coming off a game that was such an outline of what the system was. But, you know, the ability to return and deal with the finish of the season has been something that's been pretty unique for us. We need to see if we can rediscover that again.

Each year it's been an individual situation. New guys, new match ups, circumstances and all of that. And we've got it again. So we'll see what we do with it.

Q. How far can the young guys step up? Are there any young guys that haven't played that you think are coming on?
COACH CARROLL: Yeah, we were banged up this week. There's a lot of guys that are on the list that we don't know what's going to happen here going into Tuesday's practice. Guys that we're hoping will bounce back.

So it does turn our focus to the other guys that have to step up, particularly in the linebacking spot. That's the one that got hammered a little bit this week. Luther's (Brown) still questionable, and Jarvis (Jones) is questionable. And I don't know what the outcome is going to be for Malcolm (Smith). It's better than we thought coming off the weekend, but that will call for Shane Horton to play, certainly.

If Jarvis comes back, he'll play a more significant role. And Jordan Campbell who has just come off his ankle sprain for the first time made it back last week, and is close to full speed this week. He has to step up.

So those guys there continues to call on the guy that now we don't think of him as a young guy, but Jurrell Casey has to play a bunch. And DaJohn Harris will be stepped up closer depending on what Armando can do. He has a broken wrist, so we don't know yet.

So that's happening. But this is, you know, you can go back a lot of seasons and see a lot of transitions that occurred all the way back to the 2005 season. Yeah, was it '05? Yeah. That year we finished the year with maybe five or six guys starting that weren't even close to playing at the beginning of the season.

So we have great history there of guys stepping up and playing really well and coming through. That's the only way we know how to expect that to happen. And that's what we're counting on. These guys have all come to do great stuff here. Nobody's come to just sit around.

So when the time comes we expect them to play like the guys that have played before them and show us they're ready for the opportunity and the occasion. So that's how we do it. You know, we'll face that way again. Everybody's got the same kind of situation. This is not unique.

Q. Are the other Pac 10 teams up to your levels?
COACH CARROLL: I think that's a good question. I've observed this year, and I've been saying it, and I said it kind of thinking it was going to be this way. Now I've seen clear illustrations, the conference is loaded this year. And I mean we still have, you know, enormous challenges coming down the schedule here with the way Arizona's playing, with the way Stanford is playing.

We have UCLA and who else do we have? Everybody's got a chance because they've got a quarterback, they've got a running back, or more than one. They've got receivers that are making big plays. And here's Arizona State with maybe the all time leading receiver in (Chris) McGaha. And their defenses are featuring pass rushers and a lot of coverage stuff.

As you look at the games I've seen them all now, I've seen all of our opponents on film. The offensive lines are good. It's just a really upscaled version of what our conference has been, and it's been good before that.

So I think that there's, in my mind and our coaches kind of felt this going into the season into the conference that we could rival any conference. We could go head to head, toe to toe with anybody, and I'm seeing it exactly that way. It's not just one style. It's different styles. It's different approaches. But it's loaded with a lot of really exciting players and good schemes and really good coaching.

So, you know, in that regard you're asking is everybody in the field. I think there is a real even field in the competitive setting right now. And I think the numbers are going to show up. There are still some big surprises that are going to happen there. Because guys are in position right now doesn't mean that's where they're going to wind up staying, and we've seen that from year to year. I think it's going to happen again because the level of play is so tough and so challenging for everyone. It's a very big year for the Pac 10.

Q. What is Matt's (Barkley) part in this?
COACH CARROLL: Matt is part of that story. In the quarterback spot he did a terrific job. Everybody was asking the question how he is going to handle the stadium and the crowd and all that. And I don't think it even fazed him. I don't think it was even an issue for him at all, being that he's already been in extraordinary situations and he's handled them beautifully.

He played well, threw the ball well. For the most part he was protected well. You know, just kind of ran out of fire power in the second half. And, unfortunately, we were going to have to score just about every time he had the football the way it was going.

So I think in future years as he grows and games he's gains even more command, there will be games where you can't stop him. There will be games where he'll score every time. You know, down field series after series after series, and with the proper help and everybody around him, he's just that capable.

At halftime we thought there was no question we were in the football game and we needed to make some things happen in certain ways. But he had played well enough to carry out a good win for us there, so. I couldn't be more excited about his play and the way he's handling everything.

Q. You mentioned right after the game ended you talked to the guys about moving on and turning the page. But none of these guys have ever lost like that. Is there concern?
COACH CARROLL: I meant to say at the start that this is unusual. This is a different impact. But when you lose, you lose, you know. When you get beat, you get beat. You have to deal with it.

If we want to give it style points and all that, it tasted a little different. But it's the same mechanisms that have to kick in, you know. You can't do anything about things that have already occurred. You can only do what's ahead of you and have an opportunity to control what's right in front of you. That's how we've always focused. That is a big principle in our approach. You don't try to control things that are out of your reach. And that's done already.

So I'm hoping that the same mentality and focus is going to be really, really good, and we're going to maybe surprise them and pull it off in our ability to do that.

You know, but I think it was a little bit different. Yeah. It was different in the way we were watching, being careful, listening and seeing what's happening. In essence it's kind of like a sheep dog. You have to keep the guys in the fold here and keep them together. You know, so we'll try to do a good job of that.

Q. Are they a little more resilient than maybe Williams, just in terms of putting the last game behind them?
COACH CARROLL: You mean in comparison to the coaches? Yeah, they don't have any choice. They really don't have any choice. They have to bounce back. I mean, that's the only way to approach here. I don't even know any other way to say it to you.

There is no other way for us to think in the way we do it. I'm proud, and I understand how to go about this of the I'm proud that I've seen our guys do it in the past, because I know I can teach these guys again how to handle it. And hopefully our players are capable enough of going out and putting together a good football game and play well.

It's not just the mental things, it is the physical side and getting them ready well so we can play. We're doing it, and I think these guys are pretty resilient. They're respectable. Not just blowing it off. They're respectable, and they felt the hit. But they're ready to turn and go ahead.

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