Pete Carroll Talks About Thursday's Game At Arizona State|
Nov. 20, 2007
COACH CARROLL: This is a tremendous week. This is really an exciting time for us here to get ready for such a good match up with a really good obviously good winning football team in ASU. To have the opportunity to play on the holiday, you know, the guys have figured this thing out a while back and decided to match us up, came out with a great match up. So it's very exciting to be in this situation for us.
It's a short week so this is Thursday, and we're working on it if you can think of it that way, it's really Thanksgiving here. But we're having some fun with it. Everything we see in our opponent, Arizona State, they match up. They do everything well. They're a balanced offense, run the football, throw the ball, highlight quarterback, Rudy Carpenter is having a great year, big play makers, defense plays really well. Their statistics are right in line with the top of our conference. They return the ball, they kick the ball, everything. This is a really great challenge, and hopefully we'll pose a great challenge for them, as well.
The way we understand the situation at the stadium, we all think it's going to be warm in Arizona, it's supposed to be cold that night so it might be different than what we were expecting. But we're pumped up before it and looking forward to it.
We've had good work. The week we took leading into the game week worked out fine. We got our guys some breaks and got the guys that needed some rest some rest. We got the young guys the work that they needed, I think, to help us a little bit more the last couple games of the season as we finish.
Now that we're into game week, I think it worked out well having the break as we've had it. We're going to try to maximize this opportunity. We feel strong and are going to try to make the most of this.
Q. What is Sam Baker's status?
Q. How do you feel about playing on Thanksgiving?
Q. Did you believe that you would still be in contention for the Pac-10 title at this point?
But I'm excited to be talking in that vein with our team and pointed in the direction of this match up being so significant. You know, it really does feel like it's the midst of playoff time and playoff run and all of that, so it's really fun.
Q. Does it feel strange playing on a Thursday?
Q. How is John David Booty's finger?
Q. Is Rudy Carpenter's style similar to John David Booty's style?
He's done that in a lot of instances during the season to get these guys back in games. They started out slow at times and had games where they were trailing, you know, and considerably at times, and then they came roaring back, and he always was right in the middle of the comeback, the middle of the fire burning.
He's a problem for us. So he's completing a bunch of passes, his numbers are great. But more than that, it's that special play that he has in him that you don't know when it's going to happen and you can't predict it that makes him difficult.
Q. Is Arizona State really as good as their ranking?
I know he did it one, he's very experienced at coming into programs; he's done that a lot. But this time in particular the message to the players was really clear about what they wanted to do and how they wanted to play, and they came out firing. He's had a coach of the year type of year, and you can just see the experience and the comfort that his team has and plays with. You can see his style that he's brought over the years come out in these guys. I think it's remarkable and it's really, really a job well done. It's hard to do that. I like what he's done.
Q. (No microphone.)
Q. The idea is that you might one day go to the Chargers...?
Q. What about New England?
Q. Can New England remain perfect?
The way I know Coach Bill Belichick will handle it, they're not going to get all full of themselves; they're going to stay very even keel, and we might just see a season of all time, and it's really cool. They have a chance.
The exciting thing I think is not of course they have a great football team, but can they hold it and are they able to make it through the last six games of the schedule and hang on to such a tremendous level of play. Few teams in any sport ever get to do that. It's really something to be watched. With all of that as it gets down to it, with Coach Shula getting after them and all the people bringing all this attention, it's going to be really exciting to see if they can pull it off.
Q. Is it unusual that Arizona State outscores its opponents so handily in the second half?
We have that in mind, too. If we get off to a good start against them, we know that they're going to come roaring back. That's why the start of the game really doesn't matter, it's really how you finish it, and they've been doing it in great fashion.
Q. You are familiar with Dennis Erickson...
They're not real complicated. They have a very solid, sound package. We understand it and we know what it is, but they just play it really well. I think, again, it goes back to Dennis and the coaching staff have really conveyed the philosophy in quick order and they've gotten great results out of them. They've got a heck of a notebook, and the guys are playing like it.
There's no weaknesses to them. They've even got some young kids playing, some freshman back there, and they're athletic and fast and tough, and it's a very good group.
Q. Did you face Erickson in the NFL?
You can see it. As he goes from one team into another team you can really see the common philosophy. It's really solidly expressed that they have a way of doing things, and it's been proven to be successful. He's a terrific football coach.
Yeah, I like that part of it. Yeah, we know him and he knows us, so we see how we tweak our stuff and the subtleties that we turn into our game plan and what they turn into their game plan, it's always fun. I've always looked forward to the guys that you know because it's always more important to me to play well against those guys for some reason.
Q. What kind of year is John David Booty having?
I think we've been a little bit off at times, you know, and some of that has been to the newness of our receivers. It's just been pretty well chronicled that we've transitioned new guys and it hasn't been as clean as it was with the great group we had a year ago, and certainly the quarterback is the recipient of that. So it's been a little more challenging.
We're happy to have him going, we're excited he's going to be playing, and we think he gives us a great chance to win this football game. How that turns out if he does what he did last week and complement what we need in the game, that's really what we are looking for.
It's all we've ever looked for from our quarterbacks. We've never expected our guys to throw 400 or 500 yards a game and throw it 40 or 50 times. We want to have a balanced attack and fit it into the game as we need it. John David is certainly ready to do that again. I thought he played a great game under the circumstances last week in most challenging conditions. So if we can come out and do that again, we'll have a chance to win.
Q. What about all the injuries to quarterbacks in the Pac-10 this year?
You know, you can see what happened in Oregon. It couldn't have been more obvious there. UCLA, they've had a very difficult time with this thing, the guys just trying to keep even the backup guys healthy. For the first time in the years we've been here, we went to the backup quarterback, a challenge with Mark Sanchez playing, and he did a great job. It sends a shock in your team because you're playing with a guy that hasn't been out there.
You know, the interesting part about it, it's different when you start the season you go back to when Matt Leinart started, he hadn't played, either, but he started and got us going against Auburn and away we went. The quarterback, if Mark is the starting quarterback next year, it'll just feel different than coming off the bench.
But it does it is a big aspect, and it's a big factor in games. You look across the country on any level, it makes a difference. Coaches that are able to overcome that have done a fantastic job, to keep their team winning and keep them on the top side of this thing because it just changes so drastically.
Q. Is Oregon done for the year?
Q. Is the spread offense the next new trend in college football?
The offense features Florida, I haven't watched them at all, but I'm sure they feature things that he does, that he can do really well, just like Oregon did with Dennis. How are they going to shift gears at Oregon with Leaf playing now, now that they have to do it and the game plan is really set in accordance with that. So it's an offense that's really centered around a mobile quarterback, I think. If it's not a real mobile quarterback, then it's a very standard offense, it's not that different, just coming out of the shotgun.
It's the legs, the feet, the quickness like a guy like Dennis Dixon has that is so far out of line with most quarterbacks. Jake Locker is doing it, as well, at Washington, an incredibly gifted runner and a fast kid, and they changed the game. That offense in particular puts those guys in a more featured role than other offensive styles.
It's very similar to going back to split back veer offenses that were run back in the '80s and the '70s where the quarterback was really a featured guy, the wishbone offenses with the great running quarterbacks. They have the ball in their hands every play and have a chance to factor in. That's what the spread offense has brought.
We see it across the board in high school and junior colleges. There's a lot of people doing it, and again, it goes back to the special dimensions of the quarterback and how you use that.
Q. So you will be rooting for UCLA this weekend?
Q. Talk about Arizona State's running game...
Q. Would USC ever recruit a Dennis Dixon-type quarterback?
But we don't have anybody in the program that's a featured running quarterback, and we don't have anybody in our recruiting sights that really would fit into that, so we're not going in that direction for a while anyway.
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