Carroll comments on USC vs ND game

I was really blessed with a relationship with Marv Goux that really presented the whole game to me for the first time. The USC-Notre Dame game was one of the first topics he brought up when I first met him at USC. I got a feel for it right off the bat from the guy that really exemplifies what this match-up is all about.

from usctrojans.com:

Opening Remarks...
"Here we go on the road again. It was great to be home for a week. It was great to be at the Coliseum... I really enjoyed that game. It was great to see our guys play real well at home. So here we go on the road and we're jumping back into a great match-up. This is a big match-up. It's very significant to us. We know we are representing all of the great players that played before us and the great coaches that have coached in this match-up. It has that special feel that we look forward to.

"We're excited to get on the road. We're taking all of our seniors with us, and the rest of the guys.We are going to try to put together a heck of a football game and keep our season moving forward. Notre Dame is coming off a bye a week ago and won at Pittsburgh in a very difficult situation. They had a great football game. They were physical and tough. This is a game that has all the makings of a good, physical, tough football game. We have not had the making of something like this since we prepared for Auburn. It's fun to prepare for that type of a game.

"We have some real positives going in. Our offense has been moving the ball real well. I'm really pleased with Matt Leinart's progress. He had a great game last week. LenDale White had another great game last week. We're excited about moving forward with the offense in the next game."

On the emphasis of the USC-Notre Dame rivalry...
"I think it's important that we do talk about what this great match-up means and how it is important to a lot of people, not just the players. It means a lot to the Trojan Family. They have to respect that, and put in perspective. But I always emphasize strongly to our team that there isn't one game that's bigger than another game. We need to put an emphasis on all of them and this is another week where we must maintain our consistency. We take each game like it's the biggest game we could ever play and then we go to the next one and do it again."

On the difference between this game and stadium, compared to other places...
"It's just a magnificent part of history that you know you are part of. You know that this may be one of those classic games that will be remembered because of the legacy of the match-up. I was really blessed with a relationship with Marv Goux that really presented the whole game to me for the first time. The USC-Notre Dame game was one of the first topics he brought up when I first met him at USC. I got a feel for it right off the bat from the guy that really exemplifies what this match-up is all about. The first time I took the field I remember Marv's story about the first time he took the field. I tried to re-live that when I went there for the first time and I had Marv on the cell phone while I was doing it. I was real lucky to get a feel for this and what it is all about through Marv."

On Matt Leinart's relationship with Mike Williams...
"Matt Leinart is a bright kid. He realized that when he got the opportunity to be the No. 1 quarterback he needed to establish a relationship with all of the guys he'd be playing with, but he obviously went after Keary Colbert and Mike Williams right from the start. They all know why you do that and they all have great relationships. They have hit it off really well. Mike has great respect for Matt and, of course, Matt does in return... he's proven that. They think a lot alike and they have a competitive attitude that they share. They're also both 'hoop' enthusiasts. Keary is kind of the glue that holds the whole thing together. It's a very good relationship that they've developed. In the game last week there were a couple opportunities where we had more than one guy open and he threw it to Mike in a heartbeat. He went to the sure-bet-thing and that's a good thing because it gives him confidence and it gives Mike confidence. It's a good, strong relationship."

On whether Mike Williams could be considered a Heisman candidate...
"He's just a sophomore kid trying to make it right now. I think that goes along with the success of the football team. If we continue to do well, then certainly the attention goes to the guys that are making things happen. Mike would certainly be a guy that you would include in that. If we're doing well down the road like we did last year, then anything could happen in that regard. But you have to have extraordinary numbers and our football team will have to win out in order for something like that to even come up."

On Mike Williams being one of the top players out there...
"I think that there is a lot of really good players around the country that are putting up numbers and are a big factor on their teams. Reggie Williams at Washington does a good job. There are some kids that are big factors for their teams. Mike Williams just stands out so much in the way we do things that I think he gets a lot of attention... and he's well deserving. He can be a factor no matter what and that's the element of a real dominant player. No matter what, he can still find ways to contribute.

"He's highly competitive. He's a great competitive. He battles and doesn't get discouraged if maybe the ball isn't going his way. You can't knock him off course... he's just too physical. He's 230 pounds and he runs fast through his breaks. He's got the finesse in his game that can allow him to execute at a really high level. He just performs well and he has great confidence. He really believes he's going to make those plays."

On Mike Williams maybe leaving for the NFL...
"That something that is not even on my mind right now. We're playing games and Mike isn't thinking about it either. Right now we're trying to win and have fun doing that. He's trying to be a college kid and I'm trying to be a college coach. All that stuff is way down the road. Those situations that come up are so individual. I know Mike right now knows that he's a sophomore in college. He's playing football and he's having so much fun winning. I think he has a good perspective on that.

"How does a coach prevent this from happening? You try to build a program that people are proud to be a part of. Where players enjoy going to practice everyday and enjoy being with their teammates. You also give them the insight that this is the most fun they will ever have playing football. It isn't more fun at the next level. Guys don't realize that a lot. They think that's the ultimate, but this is the ultimate. If you find any player that played for a great college program, they'll tell you that. You'll never have as much fun as you did playing college football and representing your school."

On Pittsburgh's WR Larry Fitzgerald...
"(Larry Fitzgerald) is a great player. He's a fantastic football player. He is so gifted, so natural and so experienced for such a young man. He's just a natural football player. He's little bit different than Mike Williams, but the production is the same. He's a really talented kid. There's no way to keep him from getting to the football. He's just going to make plays.

"I think that (Notre Dame) did a nice job on him. Pittsburgh was not very productive offensively and I think that had a lot to do with the pass protection"

On being ranked the best one-loss team...
"It's a wonderful sign of respect. At this early date you have to kind of go with a feeling because all of the information is not there yet. I'm real appreciative of the respect that other people have shown us. The difference between four and nine will be settled in time, but it's nice to see us up there.

"I think it certainly is a tribute to last year's team. We grabbed the attention of a lot of people last year. The consideration early in the year and our position now is definitely a result of that."

On Matt Leinart's position on the team...
"I think Matt Leinart has made a big impression, and not just the last two weeks. I think everything he's done has made a good impression. He had a big hit a few weeks ago and showed his toughness. He has shown his toughness on a couple of different occasions, especially coming back after the Arizona State game. And then he came back and played so well this week. All of these things have added to his performance. He's making a statement that he wants to be the quarterback here and be the leader. He has made a terrific statement about what he's all about and how he fits into this program."

On Notre Dame's win over Pittsburgh...
"Well I think they have a really strong defense. I think the style of (Notre Dame's) defense and the way they ran the clock frustrated (Pittsburgh). The way they burned the clock played right into the formula for that win. It was a dominant game for them offensively at the line of scrimmage. They played well on both lines of scrimmage. To get eight sacks and keep that Pittsburgh quarterback down takes a lot. Coach Harris is a good coach and they did a lot of good things to get that win. They made a real strong turn to get things in a positive direction and I'm sure they're excited about it."

On tailback situation...
"I don't see any reason to do anything. We're just growing with the way we've formatted it now. I want to make things smooth. Nobody cares about moving up, moving down, so it's just not a factor right now. I don't see any reason to do anything different. (Chauncey Washington) is working at full speed now and he looked real good yesterday. He's ready to go. That's just another plus for us. I can't wait to see him go. Even though he's coming back from an ankle sprain, he's got fresh legs. He looked really fast yesterday. We'll find a way to get him in there."

On Whitney Lewis...
"Yeah, (Whitney Lewis) is still working at running back. We're developing some expertise there with him. He's done a lot of things now so hopefully we're going to get him in the game plan and fit him in a little better than we did last week. Whitney's starting to show that he can run the routes we want him to run and he knows the running game well now. We had him down in service team last week when we had another one of our guys out and he pounded at the first defense. It was a good opportunity for him to show that he was ready and prepared. I feel he made a good step forward for us."

On the defensive line...
" I think the defensive line is doing well. It's interesting, two weeks ago (Shaun Cody) had his most productive game with 2 ½ sacks and then Kenechi Udeze comes out and has three big sacks and some tremendous plays. That's a real good thing for us, that there's not just one guy to focus on. I think Michael Patterson has been a factor in both of those games. Omar Nazel has done well knocking down some balls and getting in there. I think it's a really well rounded group that's playing the best we have all year and I hope we can keep it going. This will be an interesting match up because the focus will be more on the running game now. They're really playing good football. We're trying to develop those guys that are backing those guys up so that we can keep them fresh. You notice that we continue to play Van Brown and Frostee Rucker and you see a lot of LaJuan Ramsey. We just want to develop our depth a little bit and keep them fresh because we know we have a long haul and want to keep them healthy through the season. We're real pleased with the way they're going."


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