Quoting Carroll: Sunday Practice

SCPlaybook's Kevin Carden caught up with USC Head Coach Pete Carroll after Sunday's practice to get his thoughts on Arizona State, Sam Baker's injury and much more.

Pete Carroll on the bye week preparations:

"Everything worked out okay over the break. Guys got back here and everyone was attentive and kind of pumped up. Today for us is a Tuesday and they practiced like it and competed all day long. There was a lot of energy on the field and guys had fun working at it. You can tell that we have been on this plan for a couple extra days. Being this a Tuesday we are further ahead than usual obviously and it showed up in the preparation."

Pete Carroll on Keith Rivers and Sam Baker's injuries:

"We got some work out of Sam (Baker) today and Keith (Rivers) did a little bit of stuff today. So we will see how that goes. Sam made it through service team last week and also some today. So he's getting closer. He looks like he has a chance to play for us. We won't know until the end of the week but that is a good sign. Keith is a little more ‘iffy' right now. We aren't going to play him just to throw him out there."

Pete Carroll on Arizona State:

"Well they are really good. It's interesting if you look at the stats almost any direction you look at our stats are really close. It's a very even match up in that regard. They have played great football. They have really been a real obvious second half team. They have finished really well in their games. Other than the Oregon game they have played a lot of beautiful football. They have run the ball and thrown the ball. They even lost their best runner and came back still with a real good running attack to balance out their offense. Defensively they are very aggressive and good against the run, good pass defense team, good third down team all of the right stuff, and they have done a nice job in the turnover area too. It's a very good well rounded football team. You can see why they are 9-1."

Pete Carroll on the impact of Dennis Erickson at Arizona State:

"This is his offense and his defense and everything. It's really a testament for a guy knowing who he is and what he is all about. To go in this fast this early. He had to know all of the background of what he wanted on offense and all of the background of what he wanted on defense to get the message across to the players so quickly. His veteran coaching staff that has been with him a lot. Just had a lot of continuity coming in and taking advantage of a nice crop of players. It's been a nice mix. This is a Dennis Erickson football team clearly, in all areas."

Pete Carroll on who would replace Keith Rivers at linebacker:

"Kaluka (Maiava) would play first. Thomas (Williams) can play the spot as well and we have been working a lot with Malcolm (Smith). Malcolm has had a great seven or eight days here working with us where he has really had a lot quality work with the top groups. He has made a lot of plays. He has done a lot of good stuff so he is getting closer. Thomas can go if we need him to and Kaluka would be the starter. I wouldn't hesitate to put Malcolm in this game."

Pete Carroll on being in the Pac-10 title race:

"It's exciting to be in the situation that we are in, to have a chance to play for the championship. Each week is a championship game for us. There are a lot of teams in that same situation right now. Hopefully we can come through and really perform well under the circumstances."

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