Oct. 25, 2003
U.S.C. vs. Vanderbilt – Oct.25, 2003
Coach Lou Holtz post-game press conference comments
Troy Williamson, Dondrial Pinkins, the offensive line played extremely well. The backs ran awfully hard. Offensively, we played as complete a game as we have since I have been here.
Defensively, we gave up 456 yards. It starts with we can’t get a pass rush. We blitzed everybody we could. It was one on one. We can’t get a pass rush. It will be a long week, because we’ve got to prepare for Eli Manning and Ole Miss next week. We’re just not in sync.
We made some plays on defense, but not until late in the game when we got the sack. Our kick coverage was good, right up until the end. We put some new players in to look at.
It was a good thing the tight ends showed up.
I went to Skip when we were up 28-10 and said we can’t stop them, said you will have to control it on offense, and they did.
On option: We have had that, but it was just the right time to run it tonight. Dondrial did a nice job. It was the first time we ran it. We would not run it unless a) we could recognize it and b) it was very successful.
We’ve got to look at the linebacker situation. Got to look at Ryan Brown. You don’t know what is going to happen. We’re playing different people. We moved Laury somewhere, it was different to him. And we moved Dunta Robinson somewhere. That changes our nickel situation.
Every time we blitzed, we got hurt. And we blitzed five to six men, four to one side. I don’t know. It looked like our guys were on the government’s witness protections program.
George Gause and Moe Thompson have missed work. If you don’t practice, you may play, but you won’t play better. We are digressing on defense.
It’s a win. Thankfully, the offense played exceptionally well.
Moe Thompson intercepted some in practice this week. I said it would be nice if he intercepted on in the game, and he did.
We wanted to run the football. The coaches said they would give us a chance to run. We never gave them a chance to run against LSU. The tight ends played well.
I am concerned with our ability to stop people. If we can’t stop people, we can’t play.
USC Player Quotes
“We took care of business but we have to credit Vanderbilt for playing well. They are a tough team and we didn’t take them for granted. We still have a lot of growing up to do and a lot of work to do but we tried hard tonight. We have to keep playing for 60 minutes. The games gonna keep rolling and we have to keep the pace. The biggest adjustment from high school to college is staying mentally tough with every play. Everyone is as big as you and as tough as you. I’ve been through the nerves part. You just have to stay in the game every play.”
“We needed to get success in the running game from the first series. We wanted to establish the run in the first series so we can run the entire game. When you establish the run early the defense will have to be ready the whole game.”
“Moe tipped the ball and he got it – he did a good job of running it back. I have to give credit to our offense tonight for staying in there and playing hard. Because of the injuries to the team, we aren’t playing at full speed – but we are trying to stay with it. I am trying to learn the new linebacker positions with a shifting line.”
“The team was satisfied with the win and we were up by a couple touchdowns and might have sat back – the game was in order. We have to remember we have to play a full 60 minutes. We needed to pick it up at the end of the game. We were here last year – with five wins and we have to remember that this yea r – we are going to work on that.”
“We have four very tough games to finish the season. We haven’t played up to our potential for every game and we have to remember that we have to start playing up to it. Eli Manning (Ole Miss QB) is the best quarterback in the nation and coverage has to be perfect on every throw. Moe Thompson did it all tonight – he’s becoming a great player. He did a good job tonight of really putting the offense in a good position.”
“This week we stressed getting back to basics and very physical football. We stressed getting back to basics all week. It always feels good to get a win, especially after last week. I expect us to have a hard physical practice this week. We need to relax and play football – last week things didn’t go our way – we have to be patient and be focused the entire game. We are taking it one game at a time and following the ball and the details. WE had to stay focused and be ready to play football. It does feel good to win today.”
“I think we played well. Our team stepped it up and the offense did a great job, but we still can improve on things. WE came out and played with confidence and when you do that, you are unstoppable. If you don’t do that, you won’t play well. (On scoring the last TD): We knew we had to score and put up some more points. We moved the ball and we were able to get a touchdown. We need one more win to be bowl eligible and we need to let the young guys know the disappointment after last year – we want to go to a bowl game this year. But one game at a time.”
Vanderbilt Head Coach Bobby Johnson
“I don’t know if we could do many more things wrong in the first quarter. We really had to recover after that.”
“We did a good job moving the football. We ran the ball effectively. [Jay] Cutler had a good game.”
“South Carolina did a great job tonight, they controlled the football. They ran the ball and we couldn’t stop them. We couldn’t handle their defense. They came off and knocked us backwards and blew us off the ball. Early on, we gave them an interception and a fumble. We did not give ourselves a chance to win.”
“Those two turnovers early on killed us. South Carolina did a great job on the interception. Moe Thompson did a great job getting up and catching the ball.”
“At the half, we weren’t feeling out of the game. We were moving the ball. Because of the circumstances, our guys weren’t feeling completely discouraged.”
“Late in the game, the onside kick had perfect execution. We were waiting for a long route to come open. South Carolina has a good defensive line and they put the pressure on us and made a great hit on Cutler.”
“Fatigue, right now, is definitely a factor. We need a break. We have several players out there that are playing hurt.”
Vanderbilt Player Quotes
Jay Cutler, QB
“We had a great game plan. Offensive line played great and the receivers ran crisp routes, they made it easy for me.”
On sack by Moe Thompson that he fumbled in the 4th quarter: “He got me good. A tenth of a second later we had Kwane (Doster) right down the middle. Who knows what would of happened.”
On first half struggles: “It was very disappointing. Offense didn’t get it done in the first half, we didn’t perform well. If we could of played a better first half if we have a little more time who knows what happens.”
Erik Davis, WR
“We started out slow and turned the ball over to much. We can’t continue to dig holes like that especially against a good offensive team like South Carolina.”
On turnovers: “The turnovers are obviously big plays and that is why we lost. We have to learn to be more consistent.”
Kelechi Ohanaja, FS
“We didn’t play as well as we could have. We continue to make to many mistakes and we didn’t make the plays when we really needed them. We have to be able to stop teams on third down.”
On South Carolina quarterback Dondrial Pinkins: “He is a very mobile quarterback, who is a dual threat. He can make plays and make it difficult for the defense.”
“They did what they needed to fundamentally and we didn’t. That is why the outcome was the way it was.”