PSU Defensive Players Talk USC

Mark Sanchez and the Trojans' offense will face one of the best defenses in the nation in the Rose Bowl. Read what Penn State's defensive players had to say about USC.

Defensive Coordinator Tom Bradley

On USC's trio of running backs …

"We're not going to decipher between the three of them. Totaled-up they've run almost 2,000 yards. Carries-wise there is not much of a difference, it's pretty much even. Yardage-wise, it's pretty much even. It's like tailback by committee. They're all great running backs."

"Those are great tailbacks. If you put them in the game and didn't know their numbers, it would be hard to tell them apart. If you start watching them over and over, they're the same size. They're the same speed. They're almost like clones of each other."

On USC's offense …

"I think they have great perimeter people on the outside, such great skill people. The wide outs are exceptional. I don't think you are going to find a more balanced offense, run-pass. It's hard to get a handle on them. They score quickly. I think 22 of their 63 scoring drives have been three minutes or five plays or less. They've got big play capability and great speed. It's a heck of a football team we're playing."

On USC's defense …

"I think both our teams are built on the same philosophy and I think that starts with defense. In Pete Carroll's era, he's lost 15 games and I think I was reading, 14 of them by seven points or less. His games are close. They have an outstanding defense. They're great at take-aways. I haven't watched them much on defense, but the times I have, they're very disciplined. They run to the ball. They cause turnovers. They're very aggressive. They know when to go for the jugular when they've got you down. It's a heck of a football team."

On Penn State's 13-6 defensive victory over Ohio State

"I thought the Ohio State game was a great physical football game. There were some great defensive plays you had to watch to understand the game. There are games where people who only understand sports appreciate what is going into the game. And the plays that were made. I think what happens on defense, they're not ESPN type plays. It's not a good highlight to watch someone come off a block and make a great tackle.

Cornerback Lydell Sargeant

On coming home to play the final game of his career…

"It's a dream come true. I've wanted to come back here ever since high school. To come back in my last year and play in front of my high school coaches, friends and family is a dream come true."

On the challenges the USC receivers are going to bring in the game…

"Their receivers are versatile. They are big. They are fast and they can move. Their offense is very precise. Mark [Sanchez] knows where to put the ball at and they have a good connection with Mark. All we can do is watch film and try and study what they like to do in their routes. It's one of the better parts of their team and we are excited for the match-up."

On USC's defense…

"I've known a lot of those guys since high school. Their games are usually on after ours, so I have been able to watch them play this season. I am a fan of theirs. They are a good defense. Our offense has prepared hard."

On USC quarterback Mark Sanchez

"I've always said that I think Mark is the best quarterback that I've seen play, personally. Watching him on film, it's been nothing less than what I expected. He doesn't make too many mistakes. I think he has a 64 percent completion percentage, so that goes to show how precise he is."

Linebacker Tyrell Sales

On the challenges of the USC Offense …

"There are a lot of challenges. Even more so than a lot of teams we've faced. They have so many good players as far as depth. Playing in the Big Ten, you see a lot of good athletes, a lot of good quarterbacks, running backs and receivers. When you look at someone's roster and you see that they have three guys in every position, that not something you see a lot. Not only in our conference but nation wide. Not a lot of teams have that depth."

On the comparisons to USC's top-ranked defense …

"To be a good defense you have to have some kind of chip on your shoulder. We have to go out there and prove ourselves. We know what we are capable of. We know we're a good defense and capable of shutting down an offense. As far as making it a personal battle between one defense or the other, its not something we're focused on. In the back of our mind we have to realize we aren't going to get a whole lot of publicity as far as the defense."

On the break between the regular season and the bowl game …

"It's almost like camp. We start camp in early August and we're just beating on each other for weeks and weeks and weeks. When the time rolls around, we can't wait to get on the field. It's kind of like the same thing."

On scouting USC's trio of running backs …

"You have to prepare for all three. But like I said, they can only play one guy at a time. You can't have all three players out there running a route. You can prepare for their basic schemes and you have to be aware of what guy is in the game. But they're all very similar and you're going to get a lot of the same things. It's not so much preparing for each guy individually but preparing for the whole system. They just have the luxury to plug different guys in."

Defensive Tackle Jared Odrick

On the challenges of facing USC …

"Everybody has seen all season they have a lot of speed and a lot of talent at their skill positions. We've some speed and some good running backs prior to this but this is another good challenge."

On the challenges of staying focused on the game …

"For my self it really hasn't. I'm not really looking to do anything else other than focus on the game. The experience of LA is a part of [the game] and to enjoy yourself but the general focus has been on the game."


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