"What is your favorite memory from a USC vs Notre Dame game?"
"It was from the first one I ever played in, 1952. I had three desires when I left high school. One was to go to a major university and play football. Two was to play against Notre Dame. The third was to play in the Rose Bowl. It wasn't in that order but that's what I wanted to do and if I went to a major university then I wanted to play in front of 100,000 fans as many times as I could.
The Notre Dame game, though, that was important because my dad was a Notre Dame fan and of course I lost my father in the war, I knew I didn't want to go there and I didn't think I could make it there but I wanted to play against them and that's one of the main reasons I came to USC.
To walk out for that game and look up at that stadium, I had already played in front of 100,000 people and we were going to the Rose Bowl so I said to myself "If I die tomorrow, I've lived" and that's what it was for me. We lost that day 9-0 but just going there and playing there, I've loved it every time.
That's why I walk funny all the time because that's where I hurt my back. I intercepted a deflected pass and when they slammed me to the ground I heard something pop in my back. I carry that Notre Dame trophy with me every day, every moment so that game was special but they're all special.
The game when O.J. ran up and down the field and we beat them back there for the first time since 1939 or something like that. That was a great day, anytime we beat the Irish was a great day.
We played them back there with Charles White, Brad Budde and that team and we beat them up pretty good and won in the 4th quarter and it was great because our band was there. After the game the band came up the tunnel playing "Fight On" and "Conquest" and at Notre Dame stadium the locker room is really close and when you open the door you're right outside. We could hear some commotion as the band was leaving and I called some of the players over, some were dressed and some were half-dressed getting out of their pads but we just watched out the window as the band was marching past the Golden Dome. It was just a sea of Cardinal and Gold as if the Trojans had just conquered South Bend, Indiana which, of course, we had. Now those are things that stay there (tapping his head), it was a great scene."
"You are known for giving some great pre-game talks before the Notre Dame game."
"Oh yeah, I used to talk to them before the game, McKay used to have me talk to them and it was very easy because I would just tell them that for the rest of your life this game is going to be played and you're always going to remember taking part in this game. This is a day that will stay with you forever because USC is going to play Notre Dame forever but you'll only get one, maybe three or four chances to be a part of it and you want to make sure you come out victorious. You want to beat these guys at least once and if you don't then at least make sure you played as hard as you can.
The thing I'm most proud of are the plaques hanging on my wall as part of the All-Time Notre Dame opponent team, not because I'm bragging or anything but just because it says Notre Dame vs USC. Now, if you're getting ready for the Notre Dame game and you're not fired up then there's something wrong with you. That's one of the reasons you came to USC, it's one of the reasons I came there, it wasn't hard to get me fired up.
I used to have a thing, Notre Dame would line up in the end zone so that you would have to go around them to get on the field. Like hell we were going around them, we're going right through em. They had one guy who started yelling at me, calling me all sorts of names and I just said "Hey, f--- you, I'll meet you in the tunnel when we come back here".
Getting ready to play a game, you don't want to stand around too long, you want to say a few words to your guys but not too much because they are so damn keyed up already. I know that's how it was for me and it's like that for everybody who plays in that game. You can't be too melodramatic in the locker room, you have to talk to them just enough because they're already steamed and ready to go.
When you come down those stairs and through that tunnel, that tunnel's only five yards wide at Notre Dame, I can remember the first time I walked down there I ended up standing right next to one of their guys and I'm looking right at him and I said "This is it. That's the enemy. I've arrived, this is all I've ever wanted." Now they had a saying when you played Notre Dame to get one of them before they got you, don't ever stand around a pile cause they'll come and level you. So they're punting out of their end zone and I'm on defense, they got a guy named Huck O'Neill who's playing end and my job is to hold him up and give him a good jam. I go in there and give him a shot that knocks him back on his ass, boom, and he gets up and is chasing me yelling "You son of a b...." and I'm running down the sidelines trying to set up the picket line. The ball goes out of bounds and he comes up to me and says "I'm gonna get you" and I said "I'm waiting for you partner. Look at my number so you don't make a mistake".
If you can't get fired up to play Notre Dame, if you can't get fired up to wear the Cardinal and Gold, I mean, that's why you come to SC. I don't care how many guys have worn it before, it is your turn now. It's your turn to play now. We've got all these trophies, we've got all these memories and we've had a lot of great players. I've got five of these (holds up his hand with a national championship ring), I'm very proud of that but it's not gonna help us win a game now. I want to see SC win. I want these players to understand what they have to do to win. Take no prisoners. Don't be nice. Be clean, be thorough, play hard. That's how you win. When you walk back up that tunnel and you're victorious, whew, and you get on that team bus and on that team plane. That's a sweet feeling because you know you've made history."
Click below for a complete transcript of the interview:
Goux talks USC vs Notre Dame
"What is your favorite memory from a USC vs Notre Dame game?"