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Tyrone Willingham Monday Press Conference Quotes
Release: 10/17/2005
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Oct. 17, 2005

On USC's Consistency:
"I think most of the country is smiling after hearing that comment. Coaches want their teams to be more consistent, there is no question about it. But, I think for most of the year they have been averaging about a point a minute, so it is hard to be much better than that."

On USC being intimidating:
"I don't think they are intimidating, they are just flat out that good. I don't think you are intimidated by them if you just realize that they are a very good, very balanced football team. They play well at the quarterback position, they play well at the running back position. It really doesn't matter which of the guys you have in there, the "Thunder and the Lightning" are both very talented. They seem to be working very well together. There is a local kid who is doing a heck of job for them. Which is a real testament to their team, they have a guy who was a star at the half-back position and now he is playing as the fullback. A bit player, I think you would label him, but he is doing a great job for them. Their receivers, their offensive line is outstanding, they are a pretty good football team."

On USC this year vs. last year:
"Obviously it is a different team, I think they are missing some of their defensive guys up front. Like they are playing dominant on offense, I think that their defense was at that same level last year. So, their offense has improved to be even better than last year, and their defense is close, but probably not as dominant as it was last year."

On whether USC is the best ever:
"At this time, I think you would have to say yes. I'm very, I hesitate to put a label on `best ever', but I think in their generation that exists, in their time span, and the type of football they are playing, there is no question that, right now, they are dominating the landscape."

On being 31 point underdogs:
"I did catch that, I usually don't have any knowledge of what the point spread is, but it's what it is."

On Oregon Game:
"We had a stretch of the game, where we didn't maintain our level of play. That second to third quarter was probably pretty disappointing for me. I thought we would be in a position to play better and execute well, all of those type of things. And we just didn't get it done."

On whether team has improved:
"I think that is it obvious. We are playing good football teams. I think, in portions of those football games, we are doing a lot of things right. But, we have got to get to the point where we can sustain those things, through the duration of the football game, the full 60 minutes. If you don't do that against good football teams, you come up short."

On whether they thought they could come back in Oregon game:
"Absolutely, basing it on the fact, I think if we had executed we would have put ourselves into position to score again."

On Matt Leinart:
"I go back to the fourth and eight play. That is where you really see a display of confidence in his ability to throw, what is usually one of the more difficult routes in football, in the fade. The ball had to be well timed and well placed, and he drops it in their like he was standing right next to the guy. That to me was where you really see the confidence in his play, more so than his second effort into the end zone."

On positives from Oregon game:
"The one that we have been working on, is to try and find a way to score points in the fourth quarter. That has been one of the things that we have not done well all year. So, against this football team, being able to do that, it is another one those positive steps. Keeping our energy level going, and doing things the right way."

On whether team is getting angry:
"Not yet, I'm not picking up anger. I'm picking up more disappointment on our football team."

On whether team has given up:
"No, I don't think so. I haven't seen that moment, where there is a significant drop off, when I will look around and say uh oh, this is a crisis moment. So, no, I have not seen that yet."

On Mike Mapuolesega and Donny Mateaki:
"It is injuries, and trying to find ways to get more play time, and working to their strengths. Last week, Mike didn't even travel, because of his ankle. And Donny has been working off of that foot all year. I think he has done a great job, but at the same time, you are trying to find ways to bolster up our defense, to see if you can make more plays."

On whether Johnny Durocher might play:
"It always depends on how the game goes. I was asked that question after the game, `did you consider a change', and yes I did. Okay, I looked at that, I try to look at how things are going, I look at the series and try to make the best decision for Isaiah and this football team. I think he is still playing well, but not only Isaiah, but our whole football team, did not play in the manner that I thought we should playing."

On Durocher:
"He is been doing a good job, he has been learning. But, our backup does not get the majority of our snaps in practice. He gets limited work."

On Joe Toledo:
"Joe is getting a lot closer. I think we will find out on Tuesday. But obviously, he is more ready than last week."

On Secondary:
"We'll look at a lot of options in our secondary, to try and fine the best unit. And it will be a very difficult matchup."

On tackling great running backs:
"Body weight, when I say body weight, I mean distribution of your body weight at the moment you are tackling. Getting yourself into position, and one very important ingredient, the opponent. Reggie Bush has made everyone miss. I think there isn't a team on record that hasn't missed him so far. He poses a problem, Lendale White poses a problem, a big strong durable back that can really punish tacklers."

On Reggie Bush:
"He has got to be one of the more elusive guys that you have seen. I don't know if he is in Barry Sanders category, of being that kind of elusiveness. But, I think he is close. You go back to a guy in Nebraska, Johnny Rogers, I think those guys were very elusive, and they are in a special class. So, I think he is awful close to being that good. I think that every 12 or 14 times he touches the football, he ends up in the end zone, and that is a pretty high percent."

On comparing UCLA's Maurice Drew and Bush:
"These are not similar type guys. There is a difference between Drew and Bush, even though they are very talented. Maurice is very elusive, yes, but I think he is more of a slasher, in a sense. You have got to defend the entire field with Bush. His ability to come back, all the way back across the field. I think it was that first touchdown he scored against Notre Dame, was, I thought, spectacular. It was a 25 to 30 yard run, but it was spectacular. They play was not designed to be a cut-back. It was designed to be a frontside, he takes it backside, then uses his receiver amazingly well, like most guys don't have the ability to do, and then he hurdles the next tackle. So, they are different in how you have to defense them."

On ways to beat USC:
"We have got to do a lot of things right to beat USC. It is one of those games where you have to play basically mistake free. We have got to get some help from them, they have to make some mistakes. But, the key thing is to get us to perform and execute at our best. If we do that, then the game usually takes care of itself, and we put ourselves in position to win. That is our goal, to execute, and just go out and have fun and play. Because, there are not many people who think we can win the game."

On having fun during games:
"We emphasize that every week. You have got to play the game like you love it, like you enjoy it. What I tell our team is usually the guys that like playing the game, end the end it is usually good to you, it rewards you. It is mush easier to say that and do that when you are having success."

On letdowns:
"It is not, what you call, a conscious letdown, of guys not wanting to give effort. When you are lacking that execution, it kind of all fits together, maybe you slow down a little bit. You are not quite as quick to make decisions, it seems like your feet are a little slower. You have got to keep a clear mind, and stay focused on the task."

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