USC Quarterback Carson Palmer
"I'm excited about this week. I'm fired up for this challenge, it's a huge one for the team. There are going be some big implications after this game as far as bowl games are concerned. This whole team is ready for the challenge."
(talking about starting at USC as a true freshman...)
"It was tough when I first came in because I didn't know what I was getting myself into. I was 17, 18 years old running a West Coast offense and I struggled a lot and was confused. I didn't play well. It took me awhile to mature and figure things out and realize what situation I was in and how difficult college football was. Coach Chow came along and I learned a little at the start. I think this year, we made a huge step offensively and everyone started to figure things out and be comfortable in this offense."
(talking about key in improving his touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio...)
"It's a number of things. I'm not trying to force things as much and we aren't behind in games where we are just throwing the ball and trying to score quickly as possible. It's better decision-making as well. I have just matured a lot and learned a lot about football and how to be a better player."
(talking about Mike Williams...)
"I think the key to his success early has been his maturity. He's an 18-year-old kid, but he's built like a junior or senior. He has the physical things needed to be successful...he's big, strong and fast. He's a lot more mature than most freshmen who come in. As far as his future, I think he can end up being a great player. It just depends what attitude he takes into spring and summer workouts and how he prepares. If he does everything right, he can be a great receiver."
(talking about future of the USC program...)
"I look at the freshmen class this year and I'm very jealous of these guys. Now that Coach Carroll's program is established and off and running, the recruiting classes are going to keep getting better each year. The guys that came in this year, they are all going to have Rose Bowl rings and, hopefully, national championship rings because this program is definitely going uphill."
(talking about tradition...)
"It's tough not to be reminded of the tradition here with accolades and trophies all over the place. Heritage Hall is a monument to USC football. You are reminded every day by knowing that players like Ronnie Lott, Keyshawn Johnson, O.J. Simpson were here."
(talking about Heisman Trophy...)
"My focus is not on that. Right now, my focus is on Notre Dame. As far as my reaction, I'm definitely honored and flattered. It's an amazing thing to be a part of right now. I'm not playing for it or trying to do anything special to win it. I'm really focused on beating Notre Dame.
(talking about experience during his freshman season...)
"There are plenty of interceptions, lost games and turnovers. There is not one specific time. I think it's tough for any freshman to come in and play right away, especially at a position like quarterback. It's so complicated and so many different things you have to know. The step coming from the high school level to the college level is huge over one summer in order to prepare you for that step."
(talking about Pete Carroll...)
"He is a straight-up person. He is going to tell you if you are doing good and call you out in front of everyone if you are not. It really doesn't matter about the situation and he doesn't really think about what other people think about him. He's so caring and loves this team and loves every player on this team. Whether you are good or bad, he's going to tell you either way."
(talking about the chance to watch other Heisman Trophy candidates...)
"I don't get a chance. Like anyone else, your Saturdays are so full and every now and then you get a chance to watch the Friday night game. If you have a game in the afternoon, you are going to meetings and getting ready so rarely do you get a chance to watch other teams play."
(talking about his game as a freshman against Notre Dame in 1998 with USC winning, 10-0...)
"It was a defensive-minded game. I know they lost their quarterback and they had to play with a true freshman. We had Chris Claiborne at the time and it seemed like both offenses were going three-and-out every time. We got a field goal early and tried to hold onto that. We got a touchdown later on in the game, but it definitely wasn't a very exciting game to watch."
(talking about progression of the USC offense over the years...)
"It is like night and day. It seems like 40 years ago from that 1998 Notre Dame game. I feel like I have been here as long as the President. Looking back, this offense has come a long way. This whole team has come a long way. Different changes with the program and university has made it an honor to be a part of that change."
(talking about impact of the BCS...)
"I don't know much about and my focus every week is not about who is in the BCS and who is not. The team's focus is not on that either. All we can worry about is ourselves. We have no control over who goes to what BCS bowl. If we end up going to a BCS bowl, it will be because we beat Notre Dame and finished out a great year. If we are lucky enough to have that opportunity, we are definitely going to jump all over it. If it doesn't work out, I don't think this team will be upset."
(talking about USC-Notre Dame rivalry...)
"I remember my senior year in high school at the Coliseum and it went into overtime. When USC won it in overtime, the Coliseum erupted and it was an amazing event to be a part of. I definitely got a taste of the rivalry at that point. Both programs are similar where the head coach was fired and a new one came in and has turned things around. Now this rivalry is back and it means something. There is a lot riding on this game."
(talking about importance of having a quarterback coach, Steve Sarkissian...)
"It's been great for me to have a coach that played the game. Any coach for any position that has game experience is awesome. To have a coach that played for the offensive coordinator and was successful in his system in running the same system is a bonus. To have him on the sideline after I make a mistake and ask him what happened, for him to be able to relay back to his playing experience helps."