Sept. 30, 2006
WSU HEAD COACH Bill Doba:
"That is tough. I was proud of our kids. I thought they battled really tough. I was proud of the offensive line. They didn't give up a sack. That is a patch work bunch of guys. There is one guy in the offensive line that is playing the same position all four games. O'Connor has been moved out. I thought they did a nice job of giving Alex time to throw.
We had some opportunities but we didn't win. That is what we have to do. I think we can come away with some confidence that we can play with anybody, but we didn't win and we have to win. We almost finished. We got close to it.
(field goals) That is better than coming away with none like we did earlier. The little guy kicked well all week in practice. I was happy to see him make them, three didn't he.
(Offense moved the ball) It was all in the game plan. Basically we stuck to the game plan. The routes were there and we just executed. We haven't executed well the last couple of weeks, but I think out kids executed well today.
(Officiating) I can say until I look at the tape. That's a tough job. I would like to say something but I'm not going to.
I would rather have third downs, than first, second down, first second down, at least they battled them to the third down position. We just have to make those plays.
The drag hurt us and we know that. We made a little switch later to try and compensate for that on the short drive. You have to be careful because if you jump that drag then that thing they threw over the middle gets open versus cover two and if you are in cover four you put a lot of pressure on the corners. No 2 Smith has good speed, as you can well see. You are darned if you do and darned if you don't.
(Progress step) We will see next week. How many teams do you see come close or upset somebody and then don't do squat the next week? We have to get better, continue to get better and we have to play well next week. Then I'll have a better idea what kind of team this is.
They proved they can play with anybody I think, but we didn't win and that is the key.
(Steve Smith) He's good. He is a good player and they had a good game plan. They came underneath and got him one on one on linebackers underneath on those drags. He made a few other catches too. I'll tell you they are a talented team. They have good people. I was really proud of our offense being able to move the ball. I thought their defense was really good going into the game and it is a good defense. I was happy the way we ran the ball and were able to throw the ball.
We should have gotten the one turnover we missed on the kickoff. The thing bounced right back in our lap and we didn't take advantage of that. I don't want to read too much into it or too much away from it.
WSU KICKER Loren Langley:
I was real comfortable out there today. I had a real good week of practice. I kind of got in a rythym with Gary (Rogers, holder) and Pete (Hill, center), holder and snapper, and we felt real comfortable out there today. I didn't have any problems. Everything was smooth the whole game. I had a couple (kickoffs) that were pretty deep. I got under a couple but even so I think they had pretty good hang time.
WSU END Mkristo Bruce:
"I'm proud of everybody on our team. No one believed that we were going to do anything against these guys but our team. The whole week we practiced hard. Everybody was hard. We came out there but couldn't quite pull it off at the end. Everybody on the team had great effort and played as hard as they can so I'm proud of everybody.
To win, especially against a top ten team like that you can't be out there that long. You have to get the ball in the offenses hand. If you are not in the right gap it is a big play or first down which means you have to start over again. Just little things like that hurt us.
We had some batted down ball, we had interceptions, we had some sacks, fumble recoveries. Everybody did real good. You can't fault one area. USC is a great football team and they played just as hard and they came out on top.
It is real tough (to come up short). Especially this is my last year of playing against SC. I'll never be able to play SC again. It was tough to fall short.
(Smith on big plays) I feel like they kind of found a miss-match. Steve Smith is a great receiver, he's an All-American. You can't really put a younger guy on him, maybe he needs two or three guys on him. He had a great game.
(long drives) that is tough because your goal is to get three and out. They had a few in a row and the offense is up and ready to try and get on the field. Then they get a first down and start all over again. It is eating away at the clock, eating away at us. For us to be successful we have to finish on third down and get those take-a-ways.
WSU RECEIVER Michael Bumpus:
It is something great to build on. Now we feel we can use this momentum going into Oregon State and we have our confidence up.
(Why some many balls his way) I had no idea (he would catch that many). We just run our offense, just getting open and Alex did a great job reading and putting the ball where it needs to be. Like I say, I guess it just happened to be my day. We don't go in saying we are going to get this guy the ball this week. It just kind of ends up that way.
WSU QB Alex Brink:
"The coaches put together a great game plan and we came out and executed it. Obviously we had a few mistakes but for the most part we kind of did all the coaches asked of us, we did most of what was expected.
(adjustments) No, we ran our stuff. We came in with the game plan, the unbalanced stuff and we ran it and they couldn't stop it. We did everything we planned throughout the game.
(making key plays like USC did). Yes, that is pretty obvious. When you make plays in key situations that is going to separate you from everybody else.
It is tough to know we were right there, we had opportunities and if we didn't make a few mistakes, maybe put up a touchdown or two instead of those field goals when we were in the redzone, that is tough. We were right there.
(WSU line) I'll tell you what, those guys are a bunch of warriors. I don't know how to put it any different. You have some guys low on experience, they are playing different positions than they have been playing. I had all the time in the world for the most part. You can't say enough about those guys.
(is this game a step forward) I'm sure at some point we will. Right now it is a loss, it goes in the loss column. A game we had opportunities to win, which is what hurts. We all feel good we played with the number two or three team in the nation and had opportunities to beat them, but we didn't get it done, it is a loss.
(last drive) It is tough when they know you are going to throw, they know kind of what's coming, so they are playing deep. I was trying to fit a few in there. I kind of realized that wasn't working, they were getting their hands on it, so I needed to move around. Bump (Bumpus) got open over the middle. Again we had opportunities, we were moving the ball well. I think you can say whatever about the last two drives, I think this game is more about the first half and the opportunities we had early on. The goal in the redzone is to get points, so that is a positive, but .... (recording ended)
#2 WR Steve Smith
On being the primary receiver today:
"It reminds me of the Orange Bowl game when I had a couple big time touchdowns. I just want to play in the offense. I know what I can do and whenever they want me to step up, I'm here."
On the 99-yard drive:
"That was a crucial moment in the game. We got that big pass interference and we got out of the hole, but that was big for our momentum and that really hurt their defense, I think."
On the two fourth down plays:
"It's the Z option. [Booty's] definitely looking for me and if I'm not there he's definitely looking for someone else. I have to get open. If it's one on one or whatever it is, I have to make the play."
On answering the question of the big pass play:
"They've been there all year. It's just timing issues. We've had opportunities, it's just a matter of getting the ball to us and we hit them today."
On putting up big numbers today:
"I told [Booty] I wanted to get 150 today and he did a good job of responding and helping me out."
USC Head Coach Pete Carroll
On tonight's game:
"It's a different game than we've been in in a while; one that called on a lot of guys to come through. Steve Smith just rose to the occasion. He had a fantastic football game. He made tough catches, great catches, got open well. He just had a terrific game. I thought the throwing of John David [Booty] was just spectacular tonight. I thought he did a fantastic job. What stands out in my mind is those guys hooking up and making plays when we had to."
On the younger players in the program:
"As we looked at some of the subtleties in the game, the young guys were in some situations and made some mistakes which is classic for young guys. Those guys will grow through this and we'll get better and the fact that they've been out there and that they've played, we're going to keep calling on these guys. This is how we are right now and they're going to have to grow up fast and jump to the front and they will."
On WSU's play:
"We gave them too many easy opportunities and they took advantage of them. They held onto the ball. I think they did a really good job. [WSU quarterback] Alex [Brink] played great and the receivers came through and they did a fine job. This is a good looking offense. This is a good group and they're going to give a lot of people problems and they're going to have a real good solid season."
On the 99-yard drive:
"I thought the guys just executed beautifully. Make the big play, get a PI, the whole thing that you hope happens in that situation. Then a couple of big conversions and away we go. That was obviously the drive of the game for us. That was really the one that set the mark and showed that we had the discipline to play a good second half."
On quarterback John David Booty:
"John David has done everything you'd expect a big time quarterback to do. In four games already he's showed us everything. He can make the big play, he can convert on third down, he can make the pinpoint throw, he can get out of trouble and be resourceful, he hangs on to the football. I think he's doing everything. We have to catch up with John David. There hasn't been a sequence where you haven't felt like John David is in command of what's going on. He's playing beautiful football."
On being 4-0:
"It's hard to be 4-0. This is a great challenge. We're learning so much. We're such a young football team. There are young people everywhere out there and they're coming through and making their plays and we're learning and growing. A long time ago my thought was somewhere in the middle of the season, if we could get some wins behind us, we could get in pretty good position to get stronger as we go through the season because we're going to be more experienced. Fortunately we might get a couple of guys back next week so we'll just keep battling."
USC quarterback John David Booty:
On Steve Smith's play:
He's definitely been the second guy in this program for several years and when Dwayne [Jarrett] goes out, you definitely look to Steve to step up. He definitely answered the call tonight and did everything right tonight it seemed like. Just a perfect game for Steve."
On what John David Booty learned tonight:
"The game's never over. We're so used to winning out there but you do have to play four quarters and sometimes it might come down to the last series like it did tonight. We overcame a lot of penalties that moved us back, and then we had the 99-yard drive which was huge for us. Just for everyone to start believing in what we're doing and get all the young guys involved and also believing in that as well."
On the 99-yard drive:
"It's huge. That's what you dream of. You go 99 yards; you really can't do much better than that. For us as an offense, that was a big moment for us tonight."