VIDEO: Press Conference, Part 1

There was a huge turnout of media for Head Coach Karl Dorrell's press conference, and he answered questions about USC, the big game this week, the opportunity and the injured players he expects to be able to play...

Head Coach Karl Dorrell addressed a packed media room Monday for his USC-week press conference.

Part 1 -- Watch Video

Opening Statement:


"During our bye week there was about ten people total. It's finally game week in Los Angeles; the game we've been anticipating for the last few weeks. Our team is excited about this opportunity to be in this position. With the things we've endured the last two years in getting in a position right now in having a stake in the conference, and also a bigger stake in terms of bowls and all those things that happen down the line with the ramifications of this game. We're excited to be in this position. Our team has talked about it. We envisioned as one of our goals to be in a position like this at the end of the season: to play against a great football game against SC which has been ranked number one all season long and has done a tremendous job as you all know along the way with their program. This is a great challenge for our team; a great opportunity and we're looking forward to it.


"From an injury standpoint, we're fairly healthy. We almost have everyone back for this game, but there are a few that won't play, and I want to go over those few players right now. Mike McCloskey, our starting center, he's missed the past few games… he's gonna see the doctor tonight, but he's been unable to do any practice time with his shoulder, and the likelihood is that he is out for this game. Aaron Whittington, who is a linebacker for us, has a quad contusion. It's come around quite a bit in terms of rehab, and he's come long way, but we don't anticipate him being able to play in this game. Fred Holmes, who is also a backup reserve linebacker who also plays mostly on special teams… he's had a groin injury that has plagued him all season long along with a hip injury. The likelihood of him playing will not happen as well. Jimmy Stephens, who is our backup fullback, broke his hand, in the course of our two weeks of previous to this week, in practice. He is able to practice. He will be available to play, but he'll be a little bit limited with his broken hand. And then last but not least, Justin London. He's had a pretty good rehab session for the last two weeks. He's going to practice today, and get himself ready to play in the game so that's the good note with the players that have been injured.


"We're ready to go. We're just ready to go and get this week started. It's game week. There's a lot of anticipation as you see here with the number of people in this press conference, and we're anxious to go out there and play. We're confident we can go out and play very well given the potential and the necessary play at times through the course of this season. We're gonna require a great team effort this particular Saturday. We wanna put our best performance and play to our potential this Saturday for this to be a tremendous football game. Questions, please."


You're team, all year, has shown tremendous playing from behind coming back from deficits. So has USC… the Fresno State game, Notre Dame game, even Arizona State. Can you talk about how you're not just playing talent? You're playing will and seniors and guys that are playing for a streak.


"There's no question about that. They know how to win. That's why they're winning 33 plus times. They know how to win. They've been put up against the wall so to speak for eleven shots this season, and they've taken everyone's best shot. They have one more to take with us. We're trying to put our best game together for the season finally. For us to do…have a great rivalry game here for the city of Los Angeles, but you have to take your hats off to what USC has been able to accomplish. It's amazing. They've taken everyone's best shot, and they still come out victorious each and every time. That just shows you how good their program really is."


Coach, the question was asked of your players if they felt you had to outscore USC Saturday. Do you feel that?


(Coach Dorrell laughs) "Well I think the team that scores the most points wins. So yeah, we're gonna have to score more points to win this football game. There are a number of ways, in terms of that theory…how would that work. Is it outscoring them by just playing a basketball game? I would love to play just to get points on the board so I don't know how that is gonna play out. We do know that the most points wins, and that's our goal: to have one more point than they have. But they are a tremendous team, as you know….very explosive offensively. They started out young in certain areas, and now they are playing very, very well and doing some good things on that side that is balancing with their offense. That's what great teams do. By the end of the season, they are playing their best. That's what you have to admire from what they've done. We have to prove that we're able to do the same thing."


I'll try to make this a better question. Do you expect a shootout in this game?


"Who knows? Who really knows? We're gonna have to execute. We're gonna have to do our game plan with what we believe will be the difference in winning the football game. That's really what our goals are, in our program, is for us to operate with our game plan, play smart…turnovers will be an issue in this game like most big games. We're gonna have to play a tremendous football game"


Karl, do you have to play a ball control type of game? Obviously they're one of the tops in the country on offense, and that's not your strength so your defense is not exhausted in the fourth quarter?


"We're gonna play a game plan that we think is the most important for UCLA. Whether that's ball control or roaring down the field, we're gonna do whatever it takes to put points on the board, and that we think benefits UCLA. However that plays out, we're gonna have to play smart. We're gonna have to play as minimum mistake free football as we can. Like I said, turnovers will be an issue. Penalties will be an issue. All of things are of the utmost importance in a game like this when you play a good program."


In terms of players you've seen develop in your coaching career where would you rank Drew Olson's improvement from last year to this year?


"That's a good question. That's one of those things that's really surprised us all including myself and the coaching staff here. But Drew Olson…..if someone would've asked me was he gonna have that type of year that he's had this year, in August, it'd be hard to see that. He didn't really possess that at all in his past. It does show what hard work does. It does show with great commitment, particularly with his teammates and working over the summer studying tape and getting himself back physically to the best shape he can be in, that those things are possible. He's made himself into who he is right now. He's playing very, very well. He's been a great leader for our team; not just offense, but for our team. I'm just proud of him. He's endured a lot of pain in the last two years, and it's been nice to see him come and have the type of season he's had for our program."

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