Dave and Jon talk about the 2006 USC game with Patrick Cowan, preview this year's rivalry matchup,…
VIDEO: Mora on Thursday
Note: These questions come from the entire group of media, not just BRO
Q: do you need to wait and look at the film? Or can you tell us now about the good and bad things that the team managers did last night in their victory over USC?
JM: I was getting a good play-by-play during the day there during the evening, and I guess it was a hard-fought victory. I heard they had to come to a replay at one point. They hung in there, and they got the win. I was proud of them.
Q: are you concerned that they almost let a 24-12 lead get away?
JM: I knew it was 7-0 at the end of the first. And then.. they didn't send me the 24-12 score. I was about to drive over here and give them a pep talk. I think you know it's the last game of year. They got a win. Gives us something to work on for next year. I wasn't aware of that ritual. I think that's pretty neat that they do that.
Q: everybody here does it. The bands… everybody plays.
JM: is that so?
Q: sportswriters want to have a game but we never get past the bar.
JM: yea, I thought that was pretty great. They told me about that two days ago. That's pretty neat.
Q: Marquis Lee. Is he the best in the universe?
JM: I know that sounds like I'm exaggerating a little bit. I've been privy to seeing quite a few good receivers, you know. And when you're a defensive back coach, you coach against a lot of great receivers. I don't believe I'm overstating it when I think that he'd be an impact player right now at the next level. That's what he is. I was hoping that they made a mistake and he was a junior and that he could come out this year but understand he's only a sophomore and we'll face him a couple more times.
Q: can you comment that Florida State has sided with USC and they'll send their Seminole mascot out to the game and throw the Seminole spear into the ground?
JM: Like I said, I'm only concerned with one thing and that's what happens between the lines during the game.
Q: what do you think about all the hoopla?
JM: it'll be fun. The pep rally or the bonfire pep rally tonight. I've never to one. We didn't have those back in the ancient days when I played.
Q: had they invented fire at that point?
JM: I think that they were just working on it. It's great. It's college sports. It's invigorating. It's unique. It's fun. It's not something I've been a part of. And I enjoy it. I really enjoy it.
Q: how difficult is it to keep this a normal week?
JM: it doesn't because it doesn't really affect our players. I think a few of them came out here to watch the game, but they're still going to school. They're still hitting their tutoring and their mentoring appointments and study table. It's been a pretty normal week for us. We haven't changed anything at all. The only aberration from what we normally do is the bonfire tonight which I think they'll really enjoy.
Q: with all the things on the line, what do you tell the team? What is the message that you want to drive home?
JM: I think probably the most constant message I've given them is to control your emotions. Don't ignore them but control your emotions. Manage your emotions.
Q: has all the hoopla been what you expected around campus? Has it surprised you?
JM: I mean honestly… The hoopla is out there. The hoopla doesn't affect me, the coaches, or the players quite frankly. I mean there's a little added excitement. I don't want to minimize it but my week has been exactly like the last 10. I mean to a tee. To the second. And we've kept the meetings and the practices and everything we do with the players exactly like we always do. You don't change things. At least that's my experience. But obviously there's buzz out there but that hasn't affected me.
Q: these are 2 really good pass-rushing teams. How important is it going to be getting to Matt Barkley or how important is it to protect Brett?
JM: Both are very important now and hopefully we make it hard for them to get to Brett. And I'm sure that one of their goals is to make it hard for us to get to Matt. And Matt does really a good job of getting the ball out of his hands and so does Brett. That's one of the things that Brett needs to improve on, and will improve on, as he gets experience is knowing when to either just throw it away or make a quicker decision. The key to being able to rush the passer is getting into situations where you got them in passing situations. We got to win on first down. Get it second and long. On second down, keep it third and long. And have a chance to rush. But if it's always third and 3 and he can take a three-step and get rid of it, it doesn't matter how well you rush the passer because you don't have a chance to get there.
Q: what have you seen on the tape that changes with Barkley when teams do get pressure on him?
JM: I mean he's no different than any quarterback other than that… And I don't mean that disrespectfully. Quarterbacks at all levels are affected by pressure. It's just natural. Because there's hands in the throwing lanes. There's bodies that are closer to them. It changes trajectory that they have to throw the ball at. There's not as many lanes to throw it through. They might have to throw it quicker. So I think that no matter if it's Matt Barkley or if it's Tom Brady or Drew Brees or it's Brett Hundley, you know pressure can affect them.
Q: does it create a little tunnel vision sometime?
JM: I don't know. You're going to have to ask Matt what it creates for him. I've not met Matt yet so I don't know yet. I know who he is. Honestly I haven't had the pleasure of meeting him yet and I know I'll get a chance on Sunday. I'm looking forward to just shaking his hand and I have a lot of respect for him.
Q: does Matt have an inherent advantage over Brett because he's played in a rivalry game like this before or …
JM: he has an advantage because he's played a lot more games. Brett's played 10 games. How many games have Matt played? Brett's played 10 games. So rivalry game or pickup game, he has an advantage and he's more experienced at this level.
Q: you mentioned the experience. Obviously Matt Barkley has played in a lot more games and these guys have not made it this far and none of these guys on this team… so at this point, what do these guys have as an advantage as a young team going up against a more veteran team?
JM: that's an interesting way to pose a question. You've caught me off guard. I don't know. I mean I don't know that either team has a great advantage. I think people put too much stock in the past. What's happened prior. For us this is the next game. It has nothing to do with last year's game, and it'll have nothing to do with next year's game. It's just this year's game. I haven't thought of what advantage we have and what advantage they have. Think it always comes back to getting yourself in the right frame and going out and executing and playing hard and taking care of the football. Doing the things you're trained to do. Managing the environment. It's going to be intense in there. Having the maturity to be able to handle that. It's going to be chaotic during the game at times. Having the maturity to handle that. I don't know about advantage or disadvantage.
Q: do you have to address last year's game at all? Or avoid it?
JM: I haven't avoided it. I just don't care about it. Okay? Thanks.
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