On playing such a young secondary: We don't have any other guys on the roster. We could move seniors from other positions, but if you look at our senior class, there is not many. We are who we are. Roc Alexander wasn't with us, he had surgery yesterday. It became apparent to Roc and myself in the middle of the week that he would be unable to participate given the situation with his shoulder. So he elected to have surgery, which was performed yesterday. So we played Nate Robinson and Sam Cunningham. Both are young players in our program. They both gave a good effort, but obviously it was difficult at times. Roc will be back hopefully by spring football.
On not playing Rich Alexis: We are trying to get a spark in the running game. Obviously, the numbers would indicate that did not take place. We had those two guys (Braxton Cleman and Chris Singleton) ready to go and as the game wears on, it is difficult to thrust a guy into the game who has not been in the action and expect him to come out and light it up. I haven't lost confidence in Rich. I am hopeful that Rich can come back and compete next week and help us rejuvenate our running game.
On the state of the program: You always consider losses like this critical because it takes people who are in that mode to pull it out and get it going in the right direction again. Our program has been very successful over the past few years, but now we are going through a transition that needs to come to an end very quickly. I have full confidence that the people that are in charge of the program can get that done. We just need to continue to work and do everything we can to get going in a positive direction.
On what went wrong: I was not unhappy with our intensity. I thought our intensity was up to speed, they just threw the ball over us. I thought we did a nice job stopping the run and unfortunately we weren't in the position to make enough plays. Offensively, we have to develop some ability to move the ball on the ground. We are woeful in that department.
On the third quarter meltdown: We turned it over. We didn't get a first down coming out and had to punt, and they went down and scored. Then we were behind 24-7. Then we had a miscommunication between our quarterback and wide receiver. The quarterback thought he was looking and the wide receiver wasn't, and the ball glanced off his shoulder pad. That was a ball he would have caught easily, but it fell right into their hands and they ran it right down the field and scored again. We really had to do some catching up. I was frankly pleased at how we did rally and made it a game late in the third quarter. I thought it showed character and that is what I would have expected from our team. But, we were physically beaten today and we have to address that.
On play of Reggie Williams: We don't call passes that are designed specifically to go to #1, we call patterns. Cody chooses where in the pattern to focus. There were some chances for Reggie early on and late in the game and he made plays. I know Reggie would like to have the ball in his hands all the time, but you have to operate as an offense.
On team losing its confidence: It is important that we don't. It is important that we get back to work on Monday and go to Tempe and find a way to stay in the ball game and find a way to win. We are 4-3 and we have a chance to get ourselves going in the right direction next week.
On road woes: I can't put my finger on it. I know that we don't act immaturely when we come on the road. It isn't as though we have a bunch of guys who aren't focused and prepared. I just think we were beaten today. We all know why we lost to Michigan, but the bottom line is we have to win one to get off that very unfortunate streak.
On defensive scheme: When we back off the corners, they throw it in front for eight-yard gains. When we play up, they throw it over the top. But, eventually, we have to make plays. Obviously, we didn't get enough pressure on Palmer. He was able to stand in there and throw accurately and have a big game.
On pressure on Cody Pickett: USC has a very good defensive front and we anticipated the pass rush. But, again, when the game gets one-sided and you get one dimensional, then they are going to get pass rush. I didn't think the rush was inordinate when the game was still in the balance.
On jobs being open: Absolutely. We've got to compete and find our best football team to put out on the field.