Head Coach Pete Carroll held his press conference on the upcoming Nebraska game on Saturday The following are excerpts.
Ready for Nebraska!
"This is a big exciting time for us coming home, getting home to the Coliseum for the first time in so long. We have been waiting all offseason to get this done. There is a great build-up and it's a great event for us, particularly that we have such an extraordinary opponent, just for the University of Southern California to play Nebraska is a big deal. They are on a big roll right now. They have come out of the chutes flying the first couple games, they finished up strong last year, they have a lot of confidence and I know they are pumped up about their team. Billy has done a great job there getting this thing going there and this is going to be really exciting match-up for us. We are looking forward to it. It has been nice coming off the bye. We had a chance to re-group after the opener. We've done the things we wanted to do. The objectives of trying to get the young guys play time and all of those things we do worked out fine. Yesterday we just introduced the start of the game plan and today we'll hit it full-flow and were rolling."
The home crowd is looking for a big win to start the season. And beating Nebraska will go a long way to showing the naysayers that SC has put the past in the past and is ready to make another run towards another title game. This is new chapter in USC football with new players and new leaders. There is not as much pressure as there was last year but we still need to put up a convincing win.
On the Sedrick Ellis Situation:
"He's getting operated on this afternoon (arthroscopic). He's got a little cartilage problem. It just locked up yesterday, so we are just going to go ahead and do it right away and take care of him and get him back as soon as possible."
On how long Ellis is expected to be out:
"A few weeks is what we are hoping, at the most. It could be less than that depending on what they have to do. Fili (Moala) will start there. Fili Moala has been working there and played really well there in the game last week, so he jumps right to the spot and takes over and away we go. Chris Barrett starts at the three technique spot and we were fortunate that those guys were rotating last week so it will work out that he'll be ready to step in. We are going to miss Sedrick for a couple weeks here. He had a great first game and is a terrific football player. This creates a great opportunity for Fili to jump in on the nose spot and for Chris to play on a full-time basis. We'll take a good charge at it and hope these guys do real well for us."
Depending on the severity of the tear he could miss a week or 2-4 weeks we won't know until after the surgery. Based on Coach Carroll's comment on "locking up" it sounds like a bucket handle tear that easily repaired. The depth that USC has compiled enables players to step up as needed and be role players.
On the Nebraska program reaching elite status again:
This is a great program. They've done a really good job the last few years battling in recruiting, they won a bowl game. I think this is a great opportunity for them as they talk about it as they jump back into a level they'd like to get back to. The program they have is one that is always going to be good, it's just how good. I think when Frank Solich was here, I think he was 10-3 when he got let go, so expectations are extraordinary. That's only to the fault of Bob Devaney and coach (Tom) Osborne, the extraordinary numbers they were able to put up for year after year, so it makes it really difficult on the next guy. Bill's got it going and it's obvious that he's a great football coach and knows what he's doing. He's got great schemes and principles and now as they fit it all together with the recruiting they are on the verge of it. I know they are very excited about winning their division in their conference, so this is that year where they can really make that jump back to where they want to be. I know this will be a great opportunity for them here and I know they will be revved up and ready to go."
Bill Callahan is bringing this team back to national prominence. He still has some work to do but it looks like things are starting to gel. A less than stellar performance may make things difficult on the coaching staff and people will begin to question the implementation of the West coast Offense.
On the running back situation:
"We are going to mix our guys throughout the week and go as we have. See what happens by the end of the week, see who makes it through and whose ready to go, who has a good week and just leave it in a real competitive mode. I know that makes you all uncomfortable about it, but it is the best way for us to do it right now, we'll figure it out if it changes and when it does, hopefully we will adjust impeccably."
I don't think you will see the running back by committee that we saw against Arkansas. There will be some player rotations but I think you will Washington, if healthy, or Gable leading the running attack. It's a good problem to have but the situation needs to solidify itself. Moody and Bradford are also in the mix so there are plenty of guys chomping at the bit to get in the game and make a statement.
On the pressures of coaching at the high profile schools:
"I think it is only natural. Nobody wins forever, although you try. It is so uncommon, that it is almost normal. To have a run and make your way and have good seasons, back to back and stuff like that, potential and then it subsides. Transitions and attrition and stuff like that occurs. That is one of the great challenges and we are fortunate to have the opportunity to try and compete against. We have the chance to see if we can hold a program at a high level longer than everybody would consider normal. You fight against whatever that is that changes. I'm thrilled to be in the middle of that competition, trying to figure that out. To see how well we can stay up in the top end of this thing and produce really big, successful winning football teams and see how long you can go. There is no goal in mind, I'm sure there was no goal in mind for those guys either, you just want to keep rolling and do the best you can."
Please tell me that this is the guy that you DON'T want coaching your team. His positive attitude brings the most out of his players and staff.. There is only one school I can think of that wouldn't want Pete Carroll coaching their team and we have seen how that's working out for them. This guys a winner I don't care what anybody says. Winning breeds continued success. We are damn lucky to have him.
On the importance of depth with the injuries you have:
"I always look at these challenges as opportunities, they are that. We are facing one major challenge in the guys we lost last year, that's the first thing everybody has kind of talk about, about this season. We take that challenge on with the anticipation of showing that we can do that. We know that there is going to be other issues that come up during the season, we've already seen how it happens. This is a coach's challenge, this is extremely challenging to figure out the right moves to make and the preparation of the young guys who get to step up and their attitudes and mentality and maintaining also the mentality of your team which can go in the wrong direction if they don't understand how to deal with it as well. We've have these situations for years and I fortunately feel comfortable dealing with them. I hope again we can show that we do have the depth and we do have the competition on this team that can withstand these types of issues. It isn't like we haven't had them over the years. We've dealt with this before. You just have to do it really well. We have a way we approach it and talk and challenge our guys and I think I may have already said it. This is an extraordinary opportunity for Fili and Chris Barrett and they have to maximize it and do something with it and we are counting on them doing that".
That's the biggest benefit we have due to Pete Carroll's recruiting. His positive attitude attracts those players who can play and who are willing to compete not expect to have the starting job handed to them.
This will be a great game. The new guys want to shine and the old guys want to turn the page and write a new chapter for USC football. They have a lot that they want to show people even after a convincing win against Arkansas. They wan to continue to show the other programs that they are not going away. I for one am looking forward to it!