Pac-10 media day

The USC Trojans, to the surprise of nobody, were the unanimous choice to win the Pac-10 conference in a vote of West Coast media members. That vote was announced today at Pac-10 media day, a gathering of coaches, players and media designed to kickoff the new season.

This is the second straight year the Trojans have been selected as the unanimous pre-season choice by receiving all 41 votes in the poll. The complete conference results were as follows:

1. USC (41) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 410
2. California . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 300
3. Arizona State . . . . . . . . . . . 296
4. Oregon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 290
5. UCLA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 282
6. Washington State . . . . . . . 189
7. Oregon State . . . . . . . . . . . 159
8. Arizona . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .131
9. Stanford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
10. Washington . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92

The Trojans were represented at media day by Pete Carroll and Matt Leinart, both of whom spent the majority of the morning being shuttled around from interview to interview as they were clearly the most in-demand participants of the day. Leinart also took time to grab the microphone for his new MattReggieTV blog which will be appearing on the official USC website sometime soon. When one staffer attempted to give Leinart instructions on which questions to ask, Matt just gave a smile and said "I got it". This was as loose and animated as we have seen Matt in recent months, it's as if the long off-season of rehabbing and answering questions about why he passed up the NFL is finally over and he can simply get back to playing football. Of course, during the main interview session one reporter asked Matt if he ever thinks about the $10 million he passed up and Carroll immediately interjected "…about 10 million times".

Here are a few of the quotes from Carroll and Leinart.

USC Head Coach Pete Carroll

General Remarks: "For us to come around and have so many of the same guys as we've had these past couple years, its fun and I'm as pumped up as I've ever been. I see the challenges differently than I have the past couple years. We've lost some terrific experience on the defensive side of the ball. I'm hoping we feel comfortable with the spotlight. A year ago we had different issues and we found a way to deal with them so hopefully the players will feel comfortable in this environment and maintain a high level of play."

On the possible distractions of going for a third national title: "No question it could be a distraction or an issue but the key is how we deal with it. We can only take care of what is right in front of us, we don't worry about what's going to take place in November or December because we can't control that right now. This is how we talk and this is how we think. The only thing we can do is focus on practice this week and we're fired up for that. Down the road things will play out and become clear but until that point it's our challenge to maintain our practice and preparation at a high level."

On losing so many defensive players: "Without question, replacing some of the experience we have lost on the defensive side of the ball, is our biggest issue. Scheme-wise we will do things to help out some of our guys who are not as experienced. I look forward to the challenge. You have to face your losses and deal with them as well as you can."

Trojan QB Matt Leinart

On his outlook this season: "I won the Heisman last year, but that was then. There has been a lot of hype but everyone on our team knows that that's not what I'm about. I'm feeling really good about going into camp tomorrow. Our outlook on the season is that we have a lot of veterans on the offensive side of the ball. Defensively we have a lot of young guys who have been waiting to show what they have. I feel like I've been out for forever and I'm anxious to get out with the guys and do what I love."

On Norm Chow leaving: "Coach Chow had a great opportunity to go to the NFL and take his ability to the highest level. I wasn't upset when he left, but you develop a comfort level with your coaches, we had a personal relationship too. I was happy for him. The good thing about this year is that the coaches are younger and we can relate to them really well. These guys are younger, fiery and they want us to do well. I saw that in spring ball, we didn't miss a beat. I'm excited to get out there and start playing for these new coaches."

On bypassing the NFL: "I saw what Alex Smith signed for and that's good for him. I'm happy with my life…..but it would be nice to have that kind of money".


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