Carroll/Teevens talk about upcoming game

Head coaches Pete Carroll and Buddy Teevens give their thoughts on the upcoming USC vs Stanford game this Saturday at the Coliseum:

USC Head Coach Pete Carroll

Opening Remarks...
"We're really excited to be coming back to the Coliseum. It seems like it's been a while since we've been there and we know it's going to be a while until we come back so we have to make the most of this opportunity.

"This is a critical Pac-10 match-up with Stanford. Stanford is off to a nice start. They're playing good football and they've changed a great deal from a year ago. We're kind of scrambling to catch up with all of their new stuff on offense and defense. They've had good play from their defense early on and they have had real nice play from their young quarterback. Their rolling and this is a big opportunity for us. We have to make the most of it. We're looking forward to it.

"We have a situation at quarterback and we don't know yet how Matt Leinart is going to be. We did not let him run around yesterday so we'll see how he does today and tomorrow and then we'll try and make an assessment. He had a minor ankle sprain with a couple injuries from last week. Other than that we're in pretty good shape. Chauncey Washington looked real good yesterday. Winston Justice also ran around yesterday. So we're hopefully getting stronger."

On Matt Cassel and Brandon Hance's position on the depth chart...
"(Brandon Hance) has not played enough for me to know what would happen if he got an opportunity to start. We've said all along that we would play both (Matt Cassel and Hance) if the opportunity arose. It didn't really happen that way last week, but Hance would have played in the second half had Matt Leinart not returned. We'll just stay on course as we planned because they both deserve playing time. They both deserve the chance to show what they can do. So it is still the same status."

On the changes at Stanford...
"They've changed their coordinators and their play-callers. They come out with a real interesting style on defense. Very aggressive, very attacking and it caught the first couple of teams totally off-guard because they did not know what to prepare for. They did very well against Washington. Very aggressive... 3-4, 4-3... both schemes mixed in their styles. Offensively they've come out running the ball well and they've done more than you think they would have done with a first-time starter. The QB has done very well.

"I'm sure they're very excited about the start of their season. They only lost to Washington in Seattle and played a very competitive game. We're concerned that they're coming off a bye. I'm sure that they're going to have new things prepared for us in an attempt to keep us off balance. We're going to go in expecting the unexpected and we will have to make some adjustments as the game goes on."

On the Arizona State win and the depth of the program...
"I think it's a good statement. The fact that John Drake can come out and did well and Eric Torres can come back from an injury and play and also do well... obviously LenDale White was a huge contributor... Dallas Sartz came off the bench and played linebacker and safety... Greig Carlson did a very nice job... so yes, it's a good statement for us. If we can continue to draw on that and show that guys can come off the bench and help us, then that's really significant for us."

On third wideout spot...
"We're still leaving that position wide open in terms of competition. Steve Smith has done fine with the chances he's had. Justin Wyatt has done well. Chris McFoy was coming on before he hurt his ankle and Jason Mitchell has worked real hard so he deserves some more playing time. What it amounts to is a very competitive situation. These guys are working real hard and it gives us good depth. We like letting a lot of guys play and they deserve to play. I think it's becoming more of strength for us."

On the improved defensive performance in the second half...
"I think we really played well in the second half and got stronger as the game went on. For one, we're seeing Shaun Cody's at full speed now. He has not always been 100 percent since he's been back and has not always been able to hang in there though practices and games. But the last two weeks have been his best two weeks by far. He helps everyone else play well."

On runningback situation...
"I didn't say much about it last week and I'm not going to say much about it this week. We're just going to wait and see how the week develops. The plan is to make sure that we run big and get the big guys in there. We want to make sure that we hammer the ball. We need to hammer the football to make our offense most effective. It was really clear last year and we've been waiting for this factor this season. I'm anxious to see how (Chauncey Washington) contributes when he comes back, and how Whitney Lewis continues to develop at the spot. All of those guys are about 230 pounds and they all pound the football. It helps give our football team attitude. I'm really excited about that part of our game."

On LenDale White...
"He has been a factor from the first time he carried the ball. He's really big. He really runs heavy and runs thick. He wears on you at practice. He's had big plays and run through people just like he did in that game at practice. None of those runs were runs we had not seen. We've worked a lot against him with the top defense and he has been very effective. It's just the fact that it took us a while to get everything sorted out. It really was not a factor that we had missed him in the weeks before. It just didn't happen last week and we were a little frustrated by that. We also blocked well the week before but you could not tell. I'm just pleased that we made this step because it will make a big difference for our team."

On weak first half against Arizona State...
"Well, it was 10-10 at halftime and I really didn't mind that. I also didn't mind it last season at Notre Dame or against Iowa. If you look were the football was... we were on the two yard line, then on the four yard line... but we just didn't get the right opportunities. We were just taking our time getting going and making sure we didn't make any critical mistakes. Defensively, both games were similar. The other team moved the football better than we would have wanted them to. However, we sacked them a couple times and got them on third down plays so I'm not really concerned about that. I'm more concerned about the loose yardage in the running game and a few loose plays in the passing game where we missed tackles.

"The difference this year is that we're not controlling the ball as well as we would like, or you could say we're not getting off the field as well defensively. That is a factor that a lot of areas can contribute to. We are keeping the score down and we'll play better. We'll have better games."

On Brandon Hancock...
"Brandon Hancock played great. He did a nice job and it was great to see him contribute. He played a lot of plays... he blocked well... he'll catch more balls in the future... he's a really, really good football receiver. He'll come out of the backfield and make plays down the field in the short game. He'll turn it up and he's as fast as any fullback around. I'm hoping that he can be a big factor. If we can keep the fullback alive in the receiving game as well as blocking, and Dominque Byrd continues to make plays that draw your attention, then we make a pretty well rounded offensive."

On Mike Williams and team coverage...
"We have not seen any major difference in the coverage of his area. We haven't really seen anything out of the ordinary, only what you should expect of a guy that's got the kind of abilities that Mike has. (Stanford) is a team that can do things that are a little out of the ordinary than other college teams, so we'll see. They might try some things on him. The good part about it is that your tight end becomes a factor and we have Keary Colbert, who is definitely a factor. If they really take Mike out of the game, then that doesn't mean we still can't move the football."

Stanford Head Coach Buddy Teevens

On only having played three games and coming off a second bye week...
"We take it as a good thing because it gives our younger guys a better chance to develop and come along. We do miss out on game experience, but from a health and a repetition standpoint, it's been productive for our young guys."

On the team's youth...
"We've been able to improve each week and now we have a comfort level. We were a bit wide-eyed in the first game, not so much the second game and not so much the third, so they are getting acclimated, making progress. It'll be a huge challenge this weekend."
  
On key offensive players...
"Trent (Edwards) continues to develop as with most of the young guys. He's played three games and seen three completely different defensive styles and he has adjusted well. He's not there yet, but each week he continues to make progress. Chris Lewis and Kyle Matter are right there so we feel we've got three guys so, if the need arises, we can go with someone else. Kenny Tolon (running back) has been very productive. He stayed healthy which is important because he was hampered by injuries a year ago. He hasn't had his long break aways but he's hitting four, five yards with regularity and has been running with a physical style, which has been nice to see. It's nice having a healthy Luke Powell (wide receiver). People didn't know him a year ago. We like his speed and quickness and he's catching the ball well for us. Those three have been performing well and we expect more from them in the future.

On his nationally ranked defense...
"We have a lot of returners. We had a young group last year. We don't have a senior in the group, but because of the experience from last year they are playing well. They feel comfortable with the defensive scheme. I think Tom Williams (co-defensive coordinator) and A.J. Christoff (co-defensive coordinator) have put our guys in a position to have success. There is a lot of camaraderie and cohesiveness defensively. Right now, as a team I'd say we are a very tight group. Guys have responded well and tackled well but we haven't faced a team quite like USC. But defensively our guys continue to improve week after week."

On this week's game and USC...
"(USC) A very talented group. You look at them from a defensive standpoint; their four down linemen are as good as any line in the country in my opinion. They're physical; they run well, they tackle well. They are one of the few defenses that can put legitimate pressure with just their four down rush people. Their linebacker group with Grootegoed... every time I watch him I like him... he just makes things happen. The secondary has some very, very talented athletes and they react very well to the football with size for cover people as well. On the offensive side, Mike Williams... I remember recruiting him in my days at Florida and thought he was special back then. When you watch him catch the football... the things he does after the catch are very impressive. It's tough to lock in on one because Keary Colbert on the other side is another big receiver and does so many good things. They're probably the best tandem in the country. The quarterback, Matt Leinart... I've been very impressed with him and especially his toughness. He seems like a physical guy... he gets rolled up a bit and comes back to play. The offensive line has been very steady. The tight end Dominique Byrd seems to catch the ball well and Gregg Guenther has done a nice job as well. With the running backs, I was very impressed with LenDale White against Arizona State. Hershel Dennis has been productive and Reggie Bush we know about from our recruiting standpoint. They have no holes. They're solid in every aspect of the game. They play with enthusiasm and are obviously well coached. They do a very nice job with the defensive scheme and attacking with the offense. Their kicker and punter do a great job so it's as good of a team in the country."


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