Quotables: USC’s Lane Kiffin and Matt Barkley

USC head coach Lane Kiffin’s opening statements: “I know you’re going to ask about the Kennedy Pola situation. Because that’s a lawsuit by the Tennessee Titans – not Jeff Fisher specifically – we can’t comment on that. We have to deal with what’s happened in the past. We’re really excited to get to next week, to get on the field. We’ve lost some guys in the meantime, but our front-line players have stayed. People expect USC to start crumbling right now.”

Kiffin on USC’s strengths: “I feel good about our defensive line, but depth in general is going to be an issue. We have to be extremely intelligent how we handle our practicing. I’m We’re fortunate because of our 10 coaches, seven have NFL experience. But we’re going to have to tone down our practices a little bit. Offensive line is always the one that seems to be banged up. Most of the spring, we were down to seven or eight guys.”

Kiffin on debunking one myth about himself: “Wow. Where’s my SID, you didn’t prepare me for that one. What would be one myth? I’m gonna have to think about that. There are a lot of them out there.”

Kiffin on transfers: “The diffucult thing was these sanctions, and I don’t know if it was why they did it, but we created free agency in college football. There’s no salary cap on. Our players can leave at any time to go anywhere. You saw a number of guys leave who weren’t very excited about playing time. The penalty is about the ban, but every guy I talked to said they thought they could go and get more playing time. When tthey made these decisions, they’d have to leave something valuable, they’d be leaving a degree at USC.”

Kififn on what he can improve upon: “When I look to when we were back here before, during that process, we were very deep. Things would happen – one year Mike WIlliams is supposed to be on our team and he’s not back, and we win a NC because Dwayne Jarrett was sitting there. It there’s any difference, it would be our depth, making sure the bottom of our classes are really strong.”

USC quarterback Matt Barkley on transfers: “I saw it as a recruiter in a sense. Not as many guys were on the edge as you think, but there were guys who thought about leaving and those who did leave. It was my job to be positive. A lot of our seniors were really positive, and that reflected on to me, too.”

Barkley on considering transferring: “Not once, never entered my mind even once. I’ve always wanted to come to USC, and to be able to play early like that is always something I wanted to do.”

Barkley on transition from Pete Carroll to Kiffin: “One of the greatest things he could’ve done was open up that competition again. More than anything, it changed me to be a better quarterback. And Mitch, I’ve noticed a change in his play. But it made me a better quarterback.”

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Quotables: Cal’s Jeff Tedford and Mike Mohamed

Cal coach Jeff Tedford on the Pac-10 parity: “There’s a lot of parity in this conference, there’s no doubt about it. Last year, we had five teams with the same record. It’s very difficult to go through this conference unscathed. You have to bring your A-game every single week.”

Tedford on expectations: “A success is going to the Rose Bowl, that’s what we’re here for. I’m not going to say not going there would be a failure. But it used to be eight wins was good. People were satisfied. We’re the second winningest program in the Pac-10. But that’s not good enough any more.”

Tedford on the Pac-10 East Coast swing: “I was a proponent of it, talked to Larry Scott about it, thought it was a great idea. It was a first-class trip all the way. It was great to give the Pac-10 more exposure on the East Coast.”

Tedford on Pac-10 regaining star power: “There’s quite a bit of star-power in the Pac-10. You look at some of the quarterbacks, and that’s where it starts, but there are a lot of great running backs as well. There is a lot of firepower in the Pac-10.”

Cal linebacker Mike Mohamed on expectations: “I’m aware of all the preseason accolades, but at the same time, my main focus is the team. I want to win the Pac-10, I want to go to the Rose Bowl. I know I need to go out and play like I did last year.”

Mohamed on USC sanctions: “It’s definitely tough for the players, especially when all this is coming down on them who had no part in it at all. I definitely feel for the players.”

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Quotables: Washington’s Steve Sarkisian

Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian on Jake Locker staying: “I thought we all handled it very well, with our coaching staff, with our athletic director, with his parents. We really tried to get him to a point where we could educate him on the decision, give him the facts, but let him make the decision. All along, he wanted to stay, but he wanted to get all the information. As physically gifted as Jake Locker is, he’s a better human being. How he handled that situation is really indicative of who he is as a person.”

Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian on having a great quarterback in the Pac-10: “Historically in this conference, the teams who have either won or been involved in the race have had that veteran leadership in that position. You have to find a way to win on the road. Generally speaking, when you have a veteran quarterback, he’s the one who can perform. Having Jake, as we go to Cal, as we go to USC, as we go to Oregon, we’ll take that advantage of having a quarterback who has been in those environments”

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Quotables: UCLA’s Rick Neuheisel and Rahim Moore

UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisels opening statement: “We’ve got a very challenging schedule, but I think we’ve made strides over the last couple of years to give ourselves the right to call ourselves a good football team this year. We’re very, very excited about beginning the season.”

Neuheisel on the Pac-12 split: “Last night they put five coaches on one plane and five on the other, and I think Larry was just telling us how he was doing it. I understand that there are more things in play: television dollars, chances to be in Los Angeles. I’m just going to duck that question and say smarter people will decide that.”

Neuheisel on his 2010 goal: “Be better than we were last year. I want the momentum to keep going. (We were) 4-8 in year one, certainly not what I expected. We endured it, tried to learn through it. Last year we went through a miserable month of October. Found a way to right the ship, got to a bowl game and won it. All those things led to a real great work ethic, an excitement about going forth. For the first I’ve been at UCLA, we’re an experienced football team. We’ve got players like Rahim and Kevin Prince at quarterback, Akeem Ayers, guys who have played and played at a high level.”

Neuheisel on Colorado joining the Pac-10: “1995, I was given the head job at Colorado . It was a dream come true, I was 33 at the time, and at that time, there were some overtures from the Pac-10. I hadn’t coached a game yet, but (the university president) asked what I thought, and I said I would tell you the Pac-10 is a wonderful conference. Obviously they didn’t choose to go that way. Colorado will be a great partner to this conference. It’s a great school, I can tell you that from experience. I think they’re going to be a great player.”

Neuheisel on the Pac-10 East Coast swing: “I want to compliment Commish Scott in trying to change Pac-10 culture. We’ve been that left coast conference, that finesse conference. They say, ‘Oh you guys just play that throwing around ball, not that tough guy stuff, three yards and a cloud of dust. Commisioner Scott going to NY and taking that East Coast bias head on, I thought that was a bold move. Having gone through it, I thought it was brilliant.”

Neuheisel on UCLA’s 66-point outburst against Texas in 1997: “1997 wasn’t a great year for us at Colorado, and I wasn’t paying attention to other games. We played Texas that same year; you could tell there would be a change. That isn’t the case anymore. They have one of the preeminent programs in the country. they’re going to be as good a team as we’ve played. It’ll be great for our players to go to a place like Austin, Texas. Much like going to Tennessee a year ago, we’ve got to try to block out those distractions.”

Neuheisel on the team’s character: “Every coach that goes to a prgram has to win over the players who are in it. ‘I’m a UCLA Bruin just like you are. I’m priveleged to say this is my school.’ There is comfort in that I’ve been in each of these kid’s homes. I’ve got relationships with their parents. I can dig a little deeper, having had that relationship.”

Neuheisel on the USC sanctions: “I’ve been asked 100 times about the sanctions at our cross-town rivals – truthfully, we can’t take the time to worry about that. They had something we wanted; they were the Pac-10 champs when we got here. Now Oregon has what we want.”

Neuheisel on the new offense: “Norm and I evaluated the season, and our running numbers aren’t what they need to be successful. We have to be consistent running the football. It will take pressure off the quarterback, off the playcaller, off the defense. It has to be done.”

UCLA safety Rahim Moore on topping his 10 interceptions last season: “Just doing all I can to get better. It’s not about topping last year. If I could, I would take back the picks to get 10 wins. It’s about getting better. Thsiyear is a good year for us to showcase ourselves on a big stage. This year is not about me, it’s about the team.”

Moore on the best Pac-10 passing attack: “Washington and Arizona. They do a good job of route-recognition. Washington does a great job with the spread, and not only do they do a great job, they blend well. You have to really come with it. This year they’ll be even better. What I’ve been doing is getting my secondary better.”

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