Carroll post game comments

Trojan head coach Pete Carroll gave his post game comments on 1540 the Ticket with Petros Papadakis, Paul McDonald and Pete Arbogast. Click below to hear his thoughts from the USC victory over Arizona:

Petros "Talk about the focus of the team this week."

Carroll "I think when you look at the result the two weeks off were beautiful for us. The best way we could've ever done it was to just play against ourselves, that's what we did and I think the game felt a little bit easier. We feel comfortable about taking care of the bye, I don't think that's an issue anymore, and the thing I'm really happy about is that we came out and played good football. Regardless of the score or what was going on we played good football. We didn't have much in penalties, we didn't have delays, any of that kind of stuff. We did have two screwball turnovers, when Matt hit the fullback with the ball on the play pass and then when Keary dropped the ball, but Leinart goes through with all those yards and all those passes with no picks. That's really good stuff for us and we're excited about that. It means we're ready to go finish this thing off. We've got a great match-up coming up and our guys just love that we're playing at the Coliseum back to back. It seems like we've been there so few times.

Petros "How do you feel about the job Collin Ashton did filling in today?"

Carroll "I'm so proud of that whole thing and how it happened. Coach Holt did a great job to get him prepared and he's one of those kids who has just been fighting in the system, battling his way, he comes to work every day and competes to the point where we had a lot of confidence in him today. He played real well. He was hitting guys, he was running around making calls. It was one of those "win one for Rudy" kind of things because all the other walk-ons, they know the situation. They realize you can make it through the ranks if you keep digging and fighting and scratching, someday you may have the opportunity. It's a great moment for the young man."

Paul "Mike Bell was averaging 6 yards per carry coming into the game, what did you guys do to stop him?"

Carroll "We worked on it for two weeks, we've been doing pretty well in the run anyways, but this guy in particular we thought he was a real good kid and with the way they spread things out they might get it going. We really didn't do anything special, we just played good solid base defense and they had a little trouble throwing the ball which allowed us to stay in it. We just stayed with the base front and the guys played great. We got better as we went along and just hammered them up front.

Paul "Something we don't talk a lot about is the offensive line but those guys just continue to perform, mature and develop."

Carroll "This is a really good group. If you look back at the numbers over the last 5 or 6 weeks it's been ove 200 rushing yards per game, they hardly get near the quarterback, we havent been in jeaprody at any point with anybody's front, we thought Washington State was the best front we've faced in the 2nd half of the season. With the seniors, Jake, Norm and Lenny leading the charge, they've just done great and Winston, he's having a marvelous year, and John Drake and Matua roll through the right guard spot and give us great play and depth. We're really excited about this part of our football team."

Paul "One thing we saw tonight, and maybe it's not a problem because you're so prolific offensively, but it seems that maybe you havent found the short yardage group yet for down near the goal line."

Carroll "I must have missed that, there was all this other stuff I was watching. Yeah, I know, we would normally kick field goals in those situations but we just tried to knock it in and didn't get it done. We could always work harder on that and we will. It's something we should be pretty darn good at with big John Drake in there again on the goal line and we tried to run behind him."

Paul "Obviously we're splitting hairs on something like that. I thought you did a great job getting the team ready because obviously you had a bye and we've been down that road before. You were playing Arizona and they were 10th in the conference in a lot of categories so how did you keep the team ready?"

Carroll "This was a real important opportunity for us to see where our team is, to see if they stay with the message, do they prepare well and respect the opponent, you need to do those things in a game like this. We should beat these guys, we know that. We should beat them like this, we shouldn't let them score and we should run up a lot of yards and be able to do what we want to do. We were able to do that and it's a real good statement as we prepare to face UCLA. Our guys are focused. We don't change what we're doing now."

Pete Arbogast "Your great sophomore receiver set the all-time record for TD receptions in a career."

Carroll "Golly, that's incredible isn't it? He had a great night tonight, made some great grabs, I loved the way Matt went to him down in the back line of the end zone when he was pretty well covered and just gave him a chance to make a play. He's got a lot of confidence, there's a lot of chemistry going on with those guys. I also thought it looked pretty cool when Matt threw it to Guenther too, just put it up there for the big dude and see if he can pull it down. It's great to get the young guys in as well. Whitney got in there a lot and he's getting more comfortable. Steve Smith keeps making plays, he's got a little magic to him, on that sideline run he made some people miss and got some extra yards so that's real positive for us. We're gonna need those guys down the road because they need to be big time players for us."

Pete Arbogast "You've got this team coming up who wears blue and gold and would love to knock SC out of the national championship race."

Carroll "Everybody we play now wants to knock us out, I love it. I love that we've gained that kind of respect. In some ways this game is different because it is so close and everybody knows each other, it's the same guys from the same high schools, so with that kind of build up it makes it special. We're gonna do what we always do but it some ways it's just different because of who the opponent is and the fact that it will be at the Coliseum with 90 thousand fans there."

Pete Arbogast "You really don't have to try too hard to get them fired up for this one do you?"

Carroll "No, not a bit. We just need to play good football and have fun. This is as good as it gets as a player to have these kind of match-ups with everything on the line. It should be a blast."


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