Mazzone on Offense, Hundley

Noel Mazzone talks about the big win over USC, how Brett Hundley has managed to avoid so many freshman mistakes, and whether this games means anything special to him...

Noel Mazzone talks after USC:


Q: in terms of steps, what does this mean for the kids?

NM: it's a big game. It's a marquee win for them. Going for a rivalry game which is always huge. I really don't care what the records are in a rivalry game. It's always a big win.

Q: [audio difficulties]

NM: I was so proud of him. I told him after the game I was so proud of him. He really didn't blink the whole time. Even after we had the snap, the fumble, and they jumped in the end zone… right then things could've started turning the other way, he came back in and made some big plays for us.

Q: how can you explain… [audio difficulties]

NM: I don't know if it's normal. He's played in some games now. I think the more he's comfortable and understands offensively all the things that we want to get done, obviously the more calming it is. I'm proud of him. He came in the fourth quarter and just made some plays for us. I just call plays. It's these kids that have to go out and perform and make the plays and make the throws and make the pitches.

Q: was there anything in the game plan, especially in the first half, to keep the ball in your hands as opposed to letting their offense on the field?

NM: we don't think like that. Coach Mora doesn't think like that. We're a tempo team. Of course, at the end of the game obviously, we slowed the game down some. But we don't ever go into a game thinking we need to keep the ball so their offense doesn't have it. When we have the ball, we want to score as fast as we can. That's our mindset.

Q: what does this win do for the program in terms of recruiting and in terms of national… what do you think of that?

NM: I just think it kind of shows how tough of a head coach we have. What he's done. It's unbelievable. I'm really excited for him. For everybody. They [players] believed in what Coach Mora's trying to get done here. They've played hard. The big thing is to play the next play. They don't worry about things. And that's how the kids play.

Q: you've been around quite a bit. Is this one special for you? Extra special?

NM: yeah. Because it's such a great group of guys. Joe [Fauria]. And Jetski [Johnathan Franklin]. And Jeff Baca. Shaq [Evans] and Jerry [Rice, Jr.]. It's just been such a fun group of guys. Not just the football part. Just being around and being in meetings with, going to the locker rooms…

Q: what happened to freshman quarterbacks learning for a couple of years?

NM: I keep telling him everyday, hey you should see that kid at A&M or at Oregon, you better play better.

Q: what's going on? Are they just more advanced?

NM: my theory. I don't know if there's any truth to it. These kids are growing up in these type of systems. They grew up on 7-on-7 in high school all summer. Competitively. So they have a lot more exposure to it than a kid even 5-6 years ago. And then this style of offense… look at the style of offense. Ohio State. Oregon. A&M. Us. He can play to his athletic ability, not just the mental part of the game. So watch out when these guys get a couple years under their belt.

Q: He's [Brett] also making intelligent decisions. Huge plays on third and long or whatever.

NM: If I quit screwing him up, he'd have a better game.

Q: the poise…

NM: that's what really impressed me in the second half. He could've gotten rattled. Especially after that first drive. The fumble. They scored right then. And closed it to what? 24-20? And he came back out and really… just like Coach tells him everyday. Play the next play. Don't worry.

Q: when they cut it to 31-28, that drive, you come out and throw on first down…

NM: and Jet [Johnathan Franklin] had a great game. I don't know what the stats are.

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