Rose Bowl coaches' quotes
TEXAS COACH MACK BROWN
Thank you very much. First we want to thank Pasadena, the city of Pasadena and its officials and the city of Los Angeles and specifically the Rose Bowl people. We've just had a fabulous time out here for the last two years, and for the University of Texas to have never have been to a Rose Bowl two years ago and now to have played the University of Michigan down to the last play of the game and Southern Cal, two solid programs, to the last play of the game and to win both games, winning two Rose Bowl championships, the National Championship is not only special for our state but also for the University of Texas and the people of Texas.
I'd also like to congratulate Pete, his staff and the people of Southern Cal. They were just phenomenal. That offense, we couldn't stop them. They could not get them off of the field. We started thinking, we missed a field goal, we missed an extra point and when we turned the game in the 4th quarter we knew we had to go four downs and the offense the entire 4th quarter because we couldn't stop them. We did a better job the first half but they stopped themselves a bundle of times. LenDale White, Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush, Jarrett and that offensive line are as good as any in the country.
It's really surreal when you're sitting there in the 4th quarter and you're down by two scores and you still think you're going to win and you're playing a team that's won 34 straight games and momentum has turned and your defense is struggling, but we never, ever really thought we'd lose the ballgame.
That's what makes these two teams special. Southern Cal has come back time and time and time again to win, and they came back in the 3rd quarter like we expected them to. The thing I liked about our team tonight is they kept playing and they never got discouraged and they never gave up.
Q. Can you talk about what's going through your heart and mind? Texas has not won one of these since 1970, desperate fans there have wanted this, and you finally did it against a team who most people felt was the favorite going in with the 34 game streak and everything.
COACH MACK BROWN: Well, there was a tremendous amount of pressure on them. Even though we had not won a National Championship for many years, that streak is a difficult thing. Pete has done a marvelous job of not talking about streaks and just continuing to win, and that's what we'll continue to do, we hope is continue to win like Southern Cal did.
It's a real, real proud time to see those kids and see assistant coaches you've worked so hard. DeLoss Dodd has been the director for 23 years and this is his first National Championship in football, and he's had them in many other sports. We were kind of dragging him behind.
Also with Coach Royal here, the first thing I'll do when I leave the tent is call him and make sure I congratulate him because he's wanted us to win for a long time.
Q. Can you talk about your emotions right now?
COACH MACK BROWN: My emotions right now are trying to make sure that our guys handle themselves in a classy manner because you've got to learn to win, and this is new for us. We've won a lot of football games. I told the guys before the game in the pre game talk that I've been planning this for 33 years and now I don't know what to say.
What a neat time, a special time for those kids and our coaches. I'm sure it will be for me as I look back right now, I'm just so darn happy we came back and won because I was mad that we fumbled and didn't stop them and all those things that go through coaches' heads are right now pretty much in our minds.
Q. Could you just elaborate a little bit? You've been over this ground before, but I want to write about how it's been a two way street with you and Vince, how he was the student, but he also had some things to teach you. Could you go over that again?
COACH MACK BROWN: Well, the thing that we've tried to continue to do is learn each year, and within a year and a half ago some people questioned whether Vince would be a major college quarterback or not, and now he's got two Rose Bowl Most Valuable Player trophies since that time. So Greg Davis did a tremendous job of working with him, and Vince did an even better job of buying into watching more film and studying more and being in better shape and throwing more outside of the framework of the time that the NCAA wouldn't allow us to throw.
And then from my standpoint, I think it was more just for me to start spending more time asking kids about kids, asking them about who they are and about their lives and trying to make sure that they understood that it was more about them than just winning, and I told them tonight as I told them Monday, I don't want this to be the best thing that ever happens in your lives. It may be the best sporting event in your life, and for some of them it will be for sure. Some others may go to a Super Bowl. But I want this to help them carry confidence later on in life, and Vince, too, because I want him to be a good father and I want him to be a good husband and all those things that he would like to be.
I feel like those are things that are much bigger a year ago than maybe they were before that, and he and I had a lot of talks about his life and his family and moving forward.
Q. It seems at a game where USC did not come out in the second half, came down to such a big defensive play. The time out at the 4th down, what did you say to your team?
COACH MACK BROWN: I don't think we punted once, either. I think we missed a field goal. Honestly we were kicking field goals while we were scoring and I was angry. I told the team you stop this 4th down play, we're going to win the National Championship. That's what it's down to. It was such a great football game between two great teams. We're talking about this much difference (indicating six inches) in us winning the National Championship and SC not winning No. 35. That's the way the game went throughout the night.
Q. Since you've been at Texas you've been under a lot of scrutiny from the media, the public eye, Joe fan. A year ago people were saying you couldn't win a big game. How does it feel to sit here in front of these roses having just won a National Championship and holding that ball in the air?
COACH MACK BROWN: It's not about me. That's why it didn't bother me then and that's why I'm not mad at them now. They'll just be quiet for a while. They'll be writing and saying different things.
Q. Frostee Rucker said they weren't surprised (inaudible) they didn't start with it but went to it in the second half, multiple scores drives under three minutes. When did you make your decision to go to that?
COACH MACK BROWN: We thought we would use it the second series of the ballgame, but we came out and felt like our guys were really uptight. We fumbled a punt after a good 3 and out, we moved the ball after the punt early, we fumbled as we were driving the first set. So we thought more than anything else that it would probably settle us down a little bit more because it's something we've done successfully all year. It quiets the crowd because you go with a silent snap count. When you're as efficient as Vince is, people wear down when he's out there with the ability to do both, and we felt like that gave us the best chance to win.
Q. And sticking to it?
COACH MACK BROWN: Yes, and sticking to it. Pete did a good job of going nickel and dime and blitzing the defensive back some, and I just thought Vince played a tremendous ballgame.
Q. What does it say about just the makeup of your team that down 12 with six minutes to play you weren't nervous, you weren't scared?
COACH MACK BROWN: I think that's the story of the night. Both are great football teams. They're both well coached football teams or they wouldn't be here. It was obviously the two best football teams of the year, and I thought ABC got what they wanted to get. It was just a great football team, and SC wasn't going to quit. I was very honestly I felt like we would score but I didn't want to score very fast. That's why we didn't call a time out. It was about 16, 17 at the end there. But these kids were behind at Ohio State, they were behind at Oklahoma State, behind some at Texas A & M, behind last year in the Michigan game late in the 4th quarter, and they just have a willingness about them that makes you really, really proud to be called their coach.
Q. Pete Carroll called Vince Young, said it was the most dominating performance he's seen by a single player, gave credit to the entire Texas team but said Vince Young, actually called him an extraordinary football player. You see him every day. How good is good?
COACH MACK BROWN: I think he's one of the great players to ever play college football. I said that last year, if he comes back next year, which we think he will, he'll have a great shot to win the Heisman. I thought he was the best player of any team this year because Reggie was a great player on a team with a lot of other guys that didn't touch the ball. Reggie didn't touch the ball as much as a guy like Vince does, so the most valuable player for our team and I thought that showed up in the Maxwell and the Davey O'Brien Award, but I do feel like the performance that Vince had in this game last year and the performance he had tonight separates him from a lot of people, and now he's 30 and 2 and two most valuable player trophies from the Rose Bowl, a National Championship trophy, a Conference Championship trophy. Not only is he a special player, he's a special leader and a special person.
Q. What was said between you and David Pino. What did you do to keep his confidence up?
COACH MACK BROWN: I said focus, don't get down on yourself. You pushed it a little bit to the right on both of them, looked like you stuck your head up a little bit prematurely, so keep your head down and kick. He had not missed a kick from the Colorado championship game until tonight. I honestly thought this game would come down to a kick until we missed the field goal and then the scoring got out of whack. Right before we kicked the field goal to go 21 36, if we had scored that time we probably would have gone for two because it was in the early parts of the 4th quarter.
USC COACH PETE CARROLL
This was a night for champions. It was a championship night in all ways. Two teams went out battling the whole time to the final second in great fashion, honorable fashion. And Texas did a great job. They did a wonderful job all night long. We had to keep outscoring them and we weren't able to.
And Mack Brown and his whole staff, and the whole program, they were great champions tonight. And if you have to hand it over, step aside for somebody, that's a heck of a team to do that to.
I'm very, very proud of this football program, this team, the players that have led this team over the last few years, and we walk out of the Rose Bowl tonight very disappointed. We had a real chance to win again. Make a 4th down and we win. But on this night it's Texas' night. They deserved it. They earned it. It was a heck of a football game.
Vince Young was extraordinary. He was an extraordinary talent out there tonight. It was obviously the difference in the football game. It was obvious why they were so affected this year. Good players all over the board, but he's off the charts. He's a heck of a football player.
Q. On the 4th down, late in the game, what was the thinking instead of punting it or going for it?
COACH PETE CARROLL: 1st down the game is over basically, rather than we just seen them what they had done the series before and it didn't really matter where they were going to start in that regard if we had a chance to make that 1st you don't, that's where we win the football game, that moment flashes by in the instant and that's our moment to seal the win. It was a night we had to do it on offense and we weren't able to and we had our chance to stop it and couldn't do it on defense.
Q. Best performance you've seen by an individual against you?
COACH PETE CARROLL: Yes, without question, that was the best by one guy and a team, I won't take away from the Texas football team, it's an extraordinary football player.
Q. You've had the great success, 34 in a row, and obviously it has to come to an end eventually. Talk about your feelings right now, the disappointment that obviously you must have.
COACH PETE CARROLL: Of course I have. It hasn't hit me yet, to tell you the truth. This has been about excellence all throughout the year. It's not about walking. It's the level you perform week in and week out, and the stats you hold yourself to and we did that tonight. I have no problem with what happened tonight. Of course our football team battled like we always do.
We didn't think we thought there was a second on the clock to kick the field goal, that's what we were thinking. We would have done it. It's a very rare opportunity that we dealt with here. I loved every minute of it. It was so much fun to do something that hasn't been done before and work at it. The challenge now is to show who we really are, come back and get going again. It's pretty hard to describe what the feeling is like.
One of the thoughts I had all along, who is going to get it. They took it. I won't take anything away from them. This was an excellent football team we played, they had a great team and great stats, and coaching staff and the whole thing. They are a worthy team. It makes me feel a little differently than if we lost to somebody we shouldn't. It was that kind of night. If we had the ball again we would have got back in it again.
Q. You really went with the blitz on the last series almost every play, it looked like you were going to try to put it in your hands and force the action a little bit that way?
COACH PETE CARROLL: Yes, just basically when faced with an opportunity, I have been in these situations before, and it's how you want to dish it out in that situation, how you want to deal with it after. The last thing I want to do is sit back and see what happens. I want to get it and make opportunities. We were trying to fill up the rest of it so that he couldn't escape. He could any time he wanted to earlier in the night, so I thought the best chance was to get that done.
Q. Pete, what can anybody do to stop anybody with that kind of talent?
COACH PETE CARROLL: It's very difficult. I'm on the record telling you guys how hard it is to stop the quarterback. He is a difficult quarterback to face, because he's so fast. It's not that he's scrambling. He's a fast guy and he's big. He probably made us miss a dozen passes tonight and we slipped right off the guy. He threw the ball quite well again. A great 1st half. I don't know what his numbers were the 2nd half. A great 1st half. He took what we gave him. He is a heck of a football player.
Q. In all the situations you've been in, have you ever been in a situation where you felt you couldn't stop a guy if you had to go 80 plus yards to stop?
COACH PETE CARROLL: I played with Dan Marino for years. I felt that way a lot of times.
Q. Why the decision to go for it on 4th and 2 in that situation? And take me through the play, what you saw.
COACH PETE CARROLL: For us at the time, it was the right thing to do. We would have won the game right there. We had a chance to win the game and go for it. You make that 1st down and you win the football game. You're going to have to stop it anyway. How far you're going to kick it right there, kick a 20 yard punt, it's not even close. The decision, in my opinion, in our way of thinking, you're going for it all the time.
Q. Can you talk about the frustration as a defensive coordinator in that situation trying to stop an offense?
COACH PETE CARROLL: Unfortunately we've won and lost them over the years. I've been in this situation a lot, where it's coming down to the last drive. So it's extremely frustrating, in particular when you know what the problem is. We tried to get after him, even when we looked like we were going to sack him. If you go back, I'm not sure if we had a shot to turn the ball over, and they knocked the ball away from us. But that was our chance to win the football game right there. We were just looking for one more, we couldn't find it. He was too good.
Q. What kind of adjustments did you make at halftime that you were able to get the ball in the end zone and put up some more points?
COACH PETE CARROLL: That's just the way we play really. It's the stuff that we do always. We did some things differently in the 2nd half, it worked out okay for the most part, but when they just got back, his factor of running made a big difference.
Q. I meant you offensively?
COACH PETE CARROLL: We knew we could run the football. We blew a couple of opportunities going down the field, we gave the ball to them a couple of times on the interception in the end zone and the fumble that was crazy. Reggie tried too hard on that play, he'll regret it forever, but he tried too hard to get the ball. We knew we could move it. It was a matter of being patient.
Q. So many times your team has went down this season in halftime and the 2nd half you've come back and put the pedal to the metal and beat things up. Texas didn't let that happen tonight. Talk about that.
COACH PETE CARROLL: That was very characteristic in how we play. We played so well in the third quarter. We did that again, but it was the two drives at the end, we couldn't stop them. Sometimes the momentum of our burst in the third quarter sets us apart from the other team, but they became more effective when they had to throw the ball, because now he's running as well, that actually helped them.
It's just the factor that he brings that makes a difference with this team, they are good players all across the board, but he's so unique. He's an X factor, he just takes off running and that's the issue. We weren't able to stop him when we had a chance.
Q. At this time right now does it feel like you lost this game or that Texas won this game?
COACH PETE CARROLL: I'm not going to take anything away from Texas at all, I'm not. We had our chances to the win the game, we had a 4th down situation, we had the ball in our hands on the pick. We had plenty of shots, the whole sequence of those last two drives when they had the football and we could have stopped them. It's simple as this, we had a turnover issue in this game. It's how it goes. We understand that philosophy and this night we needed to get it a couple more times. The football was all over the field. We had five different times it seemed like we didn't come up with it, that we could have won the game itself. I don't remember what the question was.
Q. I know it's really early, but how are you feeling about the coming season and losing some of the very powerful seniors we have right now?
COACH PETE CARROLL: I thought about it a lot. What my thoughts come back to about this football team right now, this is a program that has found a level of excellence, a level of performance and giving of their will to us that's extraordinary, and we'll get back to work and see how it comes together. We have great players coming in to offset the guys that are leaving. We've always lost great players but we've replaced them. Recruiting efforts are extremely important right now, to be able to come in and fill these spots, let's get ready, let's go, we need them. Recruiting efforts are obviously enormous right now, to have another great year and get excited to come back for spring football.
Q. Talk about how much you think you left out there in the 1st half in terms of opportunities when guys got in the red zone and how that affected how far ahead you could have been at halftime?
COACH PETE CARROLL: That was a huge factor in this game. We could have had points in the 1st half, we screwed up. That's the power of turnovers. That's how it works. The free safety made a great play to pick that ball off, and then down in the corner. They earned that one. We gave them the other one. That's crazy. That's so far out of line with the way we performed. I can't even imagine how to explain that one. But I do know why it happened, Reggie was trying to get a touchdown.
Q. Could you walk us latecomers through the 4th down call.
COACH PETE CARROLL: It's real simple, the series before they had great success moving down the field. If they get the ball I don't know what yard line it was, but it's the 40 or so, whether they get it there and try to kick it down there or kick it 20 yards farther, it's not going to make a big difference. The difference is if you make the 1st down you're running a squad down to win the football game. It's unfortunate we didn't get it. We missed it by how much, eye few inches.
Q. Matt Leinart played his last game for you. Talk a little bit about Matt's impact the last three years.
COACH PETE CARROLL: He's been a great champion. He's been a great leader, a great role model. He's been a blast to be around and play with. It's time, you know it and I know it, it's time to go. It's an awesome feeling to know you have completed things and you've done everything you can do, and he did that. He played fantastic tonight again, and it's just too bad he couldn't walk out of here as the Rose Bowl Champion one more time.
It wasn't that he didn't do everything he could. I think rarely you get an opportunity to see a guy with all of his glory be such an extraordinary kid, and he is that. He made the decision to stay, and he should send a message to kids that that's the right decision to make. Matt graduated. He's going to get paid a ton more money than last year and he got to play for his college one more time. I know he wouldn't trade his experiences for anything. He's a living example for other people and that makes him a great leader, almost in a small way an icon in the world of college football and we're very lucky we had time with him. It's been great to be with Matty.
Q. Where do you think he ranks in college quarterbacks?
COACH PETE CARROLL: He's got to be up there, with all he's done. I don't know, but I know he's a great one. The top that has ever played.