VIDEO: Marcedes Lewis

Senior tight end Marcedes Lewis talked at this week's press conference about the USC game, what it means to him, and why he's relishing playing in the Coliseum...

Senior tight end Marcedes Lewis answered questions at this week's press conference.

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"I think our team this year is just…We're out there playing for each other every game every practice. Unfortunately we lost to Arizona or it'd be just like we're going in there ten and oh getting ready to stop these guys. I think this is the year to do it. We have a great team on offense, defense, and special teams. It's gonna take a team effort to beat these guys."


If you guys do win, do you think you deserve a BCS bid?


"I can't control any of that. I think our main goal is to beat them and win the Pac 10 championship. We really want to go in there and beat these guys."


A lot of people see it as a shootout. Do you think, from what you see on tape…obviously their defense is a little vulnerable and you guys have had some problems. Do you guys see it as a shootout?


"Call it what you want. Our main goal, when we go out there on offense, is to score. If we have to score 42 points to win the game or 56 points to win the game, that's what we're gonna do? They have a great defense; we have a great offense. We're looking forward to putting points up."


Have you talked to any of the guys over there in the past week or so? I hear you've got a lot of friends.


"I talked to Darnell Bing, the safety. I talked to Herschel on Friday. We're still buddies. It's not like he goes to SC so I'm not gonna talk to him. It's gonna be a big game for a lot of kids on the team, because most of those guys you went to school with. You see them every day in the mall or in the neighborhood so it's gonna be big."


What other kind of things do you talk about? Do you talk about the game or do you just say, "Hey, how've you been?"


"Yeah, it's more like, "How are you holding up?" To be honest, when I'm out of football, I don't like to talk about it very much. That's why I want my mom and stepfather to know not to talk to me about football that much. When we talk it's strictly about family issues; things like that."


There was a story that came out in one of the local papers that USC doesn't see you guys as a rivalry? Do you still feel that you guys are their chief rival?


"Man, USC vs. UCLA is a rivalry. Whether they like to think so or no, because they've had so much success, we're gonna change that this year so it doesn't really matter."


You say you're gonna change that this year?


"We are the team to do it."


Is that basically saying that you're guaranteeing that….


"That's saying that we're gonna go out and play a great game, and hopefully come out on top."


Can you change that even if you don't win?


"No. Last year we played them close, and still didn't change anything. Our goal is to go out there and win. We have a much better team than we did last year, and I feel this year we can really make that happen."


Where do you see their team from last year to this year?


"I think their offense is better. Their defense is not as good as it was last year, but overall, to me, they're the same team. We're ready to just go out there and get the job done."


Last year it seemed almost like a victory because you came so close. Could you talk about how you felt in the locker room after that game?


"It was heartbreaking. When you watch the film, we played horrible in the first half. In the second half we came back and almost won that game. It's kind of a bittersweet. We played bad and still almost won. This year, our team has done a total 360. We're nine and one and have so much confidence we ‘re ready to make it happen this year."


Do you guys have the defense to slow down their offense?


"Man, I think so. They have a great offense, but when our defense is playing up to their potential we can stop anyone in the nation. As long as we work that game plan, scheme it up, and do what we have to do, we're gonna score points."


Keys, offensively?


"Get a body on a body. Play fast, and with great attention to detail. When you catch the ball, knife. They have a fast defense. They swarm. Just get up field, and protect the ball."


This is a great quarterback match up. Drew Olson's numbers, this year, certainly stack up against Leinart's, but Leinart has the reputation from a long way out. Is there anything Drew Olson can do to change the impression?


"Man, I think if Drew Olson just goes out there and plays his game like he's been doing all year, he'll be fine. I wouldn't want him to get into that match up at all. This is UCLA Bruins. We're gonna go out there and try to win a game. He's been leading us all year, and he's been great in doing that. I don't think Drew's gonna get caught up in that. He'll be fine in that respect."


Do you feel like you guys have a little bit of an added weapon with Maurice Drew since last year he only got two carries?


"Any time you have Maurice Drew in your backfield, that just opens up that much more. You still have to account for him, and it's gonna be great having him healthy and back. It's gonna be really interesting come December 3rd."


This is always a big game to you guys obviously. With so much more at stake for both teams, is there a sense that this is the biggest one?


"Yeah, I think this is the biggest one in my time. I couldn't have drawn it up any better. We're nine and one coming off a great win against Arizona State. Our team and our chemistry….we're ready….twenty one days off….a lot of our guys that played a lot got get some rest while staying sharp in practice. We're ready to have a great week of preparation, and just go out there and fly high and get the job done."


What is the mentality of the offense with the way USC scores? Is it outscore them or ball control? What is the mentality of the offense?


"Our mentality, on offense, is to score any time we have the ball anyway. Whether we have a shootout or not doesn't matter. We're trying to score every time we're out there on the field. Like I said, if we have to score 50 points to win the game, that's what we plan to do."


Have you almost been foaming at the mouth because of this long break just waiting for this moment to get here?


"I think it's, you know….I've kind of put it off. This is our time to rest. This is our time to think about SC, practice, and stay sharp. This is the week. This is the week it starts. We're gonna go out there, and practice against each other like it is a game every day to get us ready for this game. I'm just excited for Saturday."


You've been sitting there dreaming about this game for a long time?




What's it like?


"Since we lost. Since the day we lost, I've been thinking about this game. I'm just excited to go out there, and really have a chance to be a big part of this: A big part of a win, and a big part of changing the tradition between UCLA and USC."


How is it playing at the Coliseum?


"I hate playing there. It's not fun. I'm looking forward to going in there and really making the fans mad."


What's not fun about it?


"Just the fans. They're all up in your grill. When you're on the sideline, they're right there. You can hear them. They're cussing you out, and calling you a bunch of names and throwing stuff. I'm ready to go in there and just really take it out on the Coliseum. It'll be that much sweeter."


Would you rather win the game there than at the Rose Bowl?


"If we were playing at the Rose Bowl, it'd be great to go out winning at the Rose Bowl. Playing at the Coliseum is going to be that much sweeter because we're in their home, and I think we're ready for it. We can. We understand we have a big chance. This is something big, and we'll be ready."


Is there a sense that you guys have a better chance to win if you get up early? This is a team that you can't really play catch up against like you have against Stanford, Washington, Washington State, etc. Is there a sense that you can't fall behind?


"Well, we never want to fall behind. We wanna come out of there from the first snap and do everything right. Unfortunately things happen within the football game. They're gonna score points; they're gonna make big plays. The key to this game is gonna be can we respond to them. As long as we do that we'll do fine."



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