"Opening game, some turnovers and penalties that you have to take care of here and there but overall you'll take the win at 24-17, especially against an SEC team like Auburn."
"When you look at last season the Trojans lost five games by five points or less so what that tells me is that they aren't finishing games. The good teams do that, the championship teams do that. To see what they did tonight to come out and finish this game, it could have gone any which way but the Trojans were victorious because they closed out the game."
"SC did not run the ball particularly well but it was another 300 yard game for Carson Palmer picking right back up where he left off last season. He had better protection to throw the ball, he was only sacked once and that was a blindside sack, and another pressure led to an interception but generally he's leading this team like we thought he would."
"What he did was he made good decisions. He checked off to the 2nd and 3rd receivers and he was in a position to hit the open receiver and that's what he did. Norm Chow also put him in a position to succeed by getting him out of the pocket, they helped the offensive line by not dropping him back 25-30 times in the pocket, they put him in space and he made great throws on the run."
"I'm down here with Omar Nazel. You made a great defensive play in the 2nd quarter, tell us about that, it looked like you baited the quarterback a little on that play. Did you think you were gonna take it to the house or did that guy gain on you?"
"I saw the running back going out in the flat and I saw the quarterbacks eyes kind of spying him a little, I saw the ball and I had to catch it. A lot of times in practice my friends will be talking about how I'm not catching the ball so I had to catch it. I was hoping he was gaining on me, though, cause I didn't have any gas left (laughing)."
"Speaking of gas it looked like you guys were a little tired in the first half and Auburn was running the ball on you but in the 2nd half the defensive line really stepped it up. What do you attribute that to, Coach Orgeron getting to you guys at halftime?"
"Actually I attribute it to Coach Carlisle cause the man has been running us to death. He has us hitting the weights harder than we ever have before, I just can't say, it's amazing what Coach Carlisle has done with this program and turned it around. We're putting up amazing numbers and it's just so much testosterone and strength and endurance, what can I say? Once the second half comes teams better watch out. That's when we turn it up, that's when the game starts."
"What adjustments did you make in the 2nd half to stop the run so much better?"
"Actually we were outscheming ourselves. We had a base defense on and we were running too much stuff with it. In the 2nd half we just came out and said the hell with it, let's line straight up and see if they can run the ball down our throat with this Cadillac character."
"When the game was on the line and you knew it was coming down to the defense could you look in the huddle and see the confidence in your teammates eyes?"
"It wasn't about looking in our eyes, it was about looking in the eyes of the offensive linemen for Auburn and they were showing that they did not want it, they did not want it. So we turned it up even more to see if they would quit a little bit more and they did."
"I've said before that this is a more business-like attitude on this team, would you agree with that?"
"Yes but at the same time we want to turn this business into fun because it's still football. We have to get our work in but the essence of the game is football and if we're out there flying around and making plays then it's gonna be fun afterwards because we're gonna win."
"We've got Malaefou MacKenzie here right now. Malaefou, last year with the position your life was in did you ever think you would be back here for something like tonight and how good does it feel?"
"Oh man, it feels great to be back here with my family and this truly is my family, my teammates are my brothers. For a long time I didn't know if I was going to come back but I just prayed on it and the lord answered my prayers. I cramped up a little during the game, I'm gonna try to lose some weight before the next game. Today was great because we had a balanced offense, we ran the ball and we passed the ball, it was hard for the defense to figure out what we were going to do."
"It's great to see you back out there again. Was it part of the game plan for you to take such a variety of roles?"
"Yeah, it was part of the game plan. As you could see in the first half they got kind of confused with me and Sultan, two tailbacks in the game at once. When I motioned out they got a little confused and we got them a couple times. The whole offensive line did just awesome, I couldn't be more proud of them."
"What was the huddle like at the end of the game?"
"Oh, there was no doubt in our mind that we were gonna score. Whenever our backs are to the wall we know we're gonna be able to answer the call. I credit a lot of that to our senior leadership, guys like Troy Polamalu and Carson."
"Do you fancy yourself more of a receiver than a runner or blocker?"
"I'll do whatever it takes to win, coming in to the game they told me I would be doing a lot of receiving. As long as we win I'm happy."
"We've got Coach Carroll. It's not too hard to coach defense when there are eight minute drives in the fourth quarter, is it Coach?"
"It just didn't seem like we were on the field for very long. When we were we just showed great intensity. Their running back didn't show up much in the second half and that's good because he's a heckuva football player. Things just seemed to really become ours, we were strong at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and we executed well enough to win the football game. Kenechi, Shaun Cody and Mike Patterson just all played real well and it was obvious that Omar was in the backfield making plays, thos guys just did a fine job. The line of scrimmage was really ours in the second half and that made such a big difference in the game."
"Coach, it was a great win, a great night."
"Wasn't that cool? What a great night at the stadium. It's so sweet to see the offense drive down the field at the end of the game, to see the difference between last year and this year. One of the things that was interesting at the end when we brought them together was to see Carson's command of the huddle. He was just totally in charge of the offense which is what you want your quarterback to do. I thought Carson played very well. He had one