Offensive coordnator Steve Sarkisian on how the offense changed:
“The emergence of Joe [McKnight] playing in the running back position was new. You have to remember he was very limited at the running back position. He did not play it in high school as much as people think.”
Here’s the kickoff of the 1963 Rose Bowl between No. 1-ranked USC and No. 2-ranked Wisconsin. This is considered one of the greatest bowl games ever, as USC takes a 42-14 lead before Wisconsin QB Ron VanderKelen leads the Badgers to 23 points in the final quarter and throws for 401 yards before the Trojans hold on 42-37.
“We’re still No. 1 and they’re still No. 2,” USC coach John McKay says. “They’re a good team, but they’d finish about sixth in our league.”
USC offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian on Illinois’ defense.
“They are very well coached. The funny thing is when you look at a defense is that you can see if
a defense wants to do a lot of things. Some defenses dont do a lot of things. But the first thing we
can tell after looking at a game is if the guys are really well coached or if theyre out there just
trying to survive.
“These guys are well coached. They play well together and they understand their
scheme very well.”
Wide receiver Patrick Turner (bruised thigh) returned for a portion of practice but did not seem to impress Carroll.
“He ran around a little bit. Not anything to make a dent, Carroll said. “I know he really wants to play in the game.
Here’s USC coach Pete Carroll on UCLA hiring Rick Neuheisel.
“We were waiting for the smoke to come out of the Vatican and it finally did,” Carroll said. “I think it’s a terrific choice. His experience in the NFL is beneficial. They got a really good choice. He’s always been a really good recruiter. He’ll do a great job.”
The Rose Bowl deserves a big F for not adding one new activity to the itinerary for USC this week. Three straight trips to Disneyland. Three straight trips to Lawry’s. Three straight trips to the Improv.
Well, they did change one thing. In the past the players went to a Laker game instead of a USC-UC Riverside game.
All of this would be overlooked, but the grumbling within the team’s increased since Christmas. Even the Sun Bowl puts in more effort at keeping a team happy.
Illinois tailback Rashard Mendenhall said the Illini will be able to bother USC with their spread offense, much like Oregon.
“We watched that tape and other film of USC versus the spread offenses to try to simulate our offense against USC and (the Trojans) definitely seemed to have some problems against Oregon and their spread offense. We present some of the same things and we feel very confident of our ability to duplicate the same kind of success that (the Ducks) had.”