Nov. 15, 2004
Well good afternoon everyone. We have a good feeling on this Monday with having some time to rest up for a big game. But before we get into talking about that, let's talk about the game last week, which was obviously a big, big week for our team. It was a big win. It was a complete effort from our football team. All three areas had to do some great things and make some plays in the course of the game for us to come out victorious, and all those phases did those things in that particular game. The unfortunate thing is that we had a punt return against us, which is something we haven't had all season long. That is an unfortunate situation, but we did come back with a chance to pin them deep in their territory on the 1-yard line and we were able to do so. Offensively, with some guys nicked up, we had some guys step up and make some big plays for us. Chris Markey had a very good football game. He was very, very productive in helping our offense. Manuel White has been consistent all season long and very productive for us and we needed his production. Drew Olson made some key plays in critical times to get the offense moving in the right direction and to sustain some drives. He made some plays with his feet. He made a play in the throwing game, hitting Junior Taylor on a big pass in a third-down situation. It was nice to see those types of things happen for your offense in critical situations. Defensively, we played very well with the exception of two or three big plays. A couple of them happened early in the game and then there was that one second-half run. The defense played very well. They played inspired ball and tackled well. They did a great job on third downs. I believe Oregon was 2-of-11 in third-down conversions. They were just tremendous in terms of getting the ball back for our offense. (Oregon) only had 58 total plays offensively, which is a low for our defense to have that type of success in an away stadium too. So it was a great defensive effort. Overall just a great win. A lot of great performances happened from time to time throughout the game. It is definitely something we are going to build on as we have a three week process in getting ready for the Trojans. I'd like to take the next few minutes to open it up for questions please.
Do you think with the type of performance against Oregon, this team learned what it takes to play 60 minutes and come away with a win?
Saturday's performance wasn't the only indication of finding the experience in terms of learning how to win. We did it also versus Stanford a couple games before that. It was a great time for our team to rise up on this occasion, to have that type of effort to win this football game. That is a learning process that any young team has to go through in tough times, particularly when you are not at home.
What happened with the sequence at the end of the first half?
We had a face mask penalty. We were hoping for a bigger penalty than the five-yarder, which didn't happen. We called a timeout at that time. We had an injury and we didn't want that particular player on the field. We needed to get him off the field just because you don't want to give your opponent a chance to make a big play on you if you are not where you need to be on your offensive line. So we had to make an exchange there on our offensive line. We wanted to call a timeout. We weren't in field goal range, which disturbed us at that time. So we took a couple of shots at the end zone. What I wanted to do was to just make sure we had a couple of shots at the end zone to try and get us a play down there. Chances are if you can get a pass interference penalty, great. If you can get a touchdown, that's even better. We just didn't want to make a mistake in the middle of the field, which gives Oregon the opportunity to get something happening before the end of the first half. So it worked out exactly the way we wanted it to, except for the fact that we didn't come up with any points. When it got to three seconds on the third down call, we just decided to run it. We knew that we had the ball coming back in the second half. We just did not want Oregon on that field for any opportunity to generate any momentum going into the second half. I didn't want to throw a Hail Mary that goes for an interception. Then our quarterback feels like, hey why did we do that? We didn't need to do that. We had the ball back in the second half. It was more for us understanding that we were dictating the control of the football game at that time.
If Oregon had the ball coming back to them in the second half, would it have been a different situation?
It would've been a much different situation. But all of the circumstances led us to try to take the time off the clock in the first half since we were getting the ball back in the second half.
Are you staring the USC preparation beginning tomorrow (Tue.)?
We are going to start game planning as soon as we can from a coaching standpoint. In terms of on the field, we will not start practicing much of our plan until the latter part of this week and into next week. This week we are preparing as a staff as well as we can and not necessarily implementing those things on the field as of yet.
Is this too much time off before this game?
I could probably give you a better answer on that if we come up short after the game. We like what we're doing. We are going to use this as a great benefit. We are a little banged up. Marcedes Lewis is hurt. Maurice Drew is hurt. There are some other guys that have some shoulder dings and stuff like that. This is a great time to get those guys back healthy. Secondly, it gives us that much more extensive time in our preparation for the game. So we think it is a huge benefit for our team at this point in the season.
Can you talk about how Drew Olson has developed up to this point in the season?
He is playing pretty well. It was good to see him have the production this past week at Oregon, which is a tough place to play. He was really good with the football. There weren't any throws out there that were potential interceptions. When he didn't have anything he took off with his feet and made some plays on some critical third down situations. I thought he handled the crowd noise and all those things very, very well so it was a solid football game for him.
Were you surprised that Oregon didn't run?
Not really surprised. They are an offense that mixes it up pretty well. They have a quarterback who is a very active player, both running the football and throwing. There quarterback was a little banged up, and he looked to me like he was a little banged up. He wasn't himself. They didn't have their tight end. They had an offensive lineman who was hurt. So they had some people who where hurt in some key areas to where they probably felt they couldn't just come and run the football on us. Even though they had some success running the ball a few times in there, I think our pace of the game, when we got out ahead, that changed their game plan some.
For Karl Dorrell's complete press conference, please click on the audio link located at the top of the page.