Quoting Carroll: Notre Dame Edition

The No.5 USC Trojans face off against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish for the 80th time in the greatest intersectional rivalry in college football this Saturday. Look inside to see what Pete Carroll had to say about the rivalry and much more.

Pete Carroll on the USC-Notre Dame rivalry:

"This is unique in that it's a classic in that the Midwest plays out on the West Coast and we take our team back there. Two storied, legendary programs in college football have held on to this matchup, and they've made it a great rivalry. I think it has a different flavor to it. I kind of liken it, it's like we don't know the guys that are wearing those helmets as well. We don't know the faces behind the helmets, under those facemasks. There's a more classic aspect to it in that. When we get close in, when we play UCLA, it's a different deal. Everybody goes to school together, they grew up together, worked out together. There's a different connection. It makes for a different energy for the matchup."

Pete Carroll on the final home game of 2008:

"It's a great opportunity for our kids to finish up their season, the seniors, here at home against Notre Dame. That's about as high on the scale as you can get as a Trojan. So we're really excited about that opportunity, want to make the most of it. We put together a really good week of work that will allow us to go out and play real well and hopefully get a great win."

Pete Carroll when asked if Notre Dame's struggles diminish this year's game:

"This has been a longstanding matchup, and we are thrilled to be a part of it. It has never mattered what was going on, or what had happened before this game. It is about this day and this opportunity for two great schools to go at it. I think it's an awesome thing to be a part of and I am thrilled and very respectful of this whole thing. We are going to do everything we can do to play our very best."

Pete Carroll on the impact of the seniors:

"It's another extraordinary group. When you think about these kids, they've only won championships and been to great bowl games, accomplished tremendous stuff, sent guys off into the NFL before them, and they're going to follow suit when their turn comes in similar fashion.We've really watched kids grow up and seen them excel and become the leaders that we've seen over the years. You know, a few years ago, look at these guys, you can't picture how they're going to take over someday. But now that they're here, Fili Moala, Kevin Ellison, Jeff Byers, Brian Cushing, Rey Maualuga, Clay Matthews, all those guys, they've pretty much taken over the leadership of this program, and they've grown into it."

Pete Carroll on the play of Jimmy Clausen:

"He's growing. He's a young, sophomore kid doing it, playing in tough games, tough situations, all that. He's a big time performer. He's got good numbers, 20 touchdown passes this year, on a team that is really relying on throwing the football. He's the centerpiece of that. Their other quarterbacks have only thrown the ball three times all year. He's been involved in every matchup. He's much improved. He has a big time arm, accuracy, all the throws, all that to make him a big time quarterback."

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can reach Kevin Carden at kevin@scplaybook.com

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