Countdown to Kickoff
Coach Mike Shula's USC Game Week Press Conference Transcript


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Opening Comments:
"We obviously have a big week this week, on the road, SEC game against a tough South Carolina football team; a team that came in here last year and beat us, and a team that's playing well early in the season under Coach (Steve) Spurrier.

"They do a great job on offense. You can tell just (in) their passing game. Their receivers run great routes. You can tell they are well-coached in that area. Defensively they do a lot of things. They give you a lot of looks. And in special teams, they are very sound in that area, too.

"For us this week, we've got to have another great week of practice. I thought we prepared real well last week. We're a little bit beat up right now. I'll go over a couple of those things: Justin Britt will probably miss practice today with a shoulder (injury). He'll be questionable for the game. Glen Coffee, who had a concussion, will miss practice today. He'll be questionable. Marlon Davis has got a sprained ankle. We think he'll play. He's probably listed as questionable also. Jimmy Johns sprained his shoulder. He's questionable. Terrence Jones didn't play and Mark Sanders who didn't play last week--both of those guys are questionable. I'm not sure how many of those guys will practice today. We're hoping to get on the field tomorrow and or Thursday."

Could you talk about your level of concern with both the placekicking and the punting and how does it affect your preparation and how you call plays during the game?
"We didn't have a good night last week. It was obvious. But I think that our kickers, in our minds, are just like other players: if your quarterback has a bad game, he's just got to re-group the next week and focus in a little bit harder and work a little bit harder and prepare. I said after the game Saturday in both situations we don't know right now who we're going to kick, who's going to punt, but we'll evaluate it this week, make a decision later on in the week. Those guys are just like everybody else. They've all got to work and do their job a little bit better.

"As far as, `does it change our mindset?' Not really. Each and every week, for example, with field goals you want to find out where you want to kick from, where's the furtherest out you can kick from, if not, if there's a four-down territory things like that. That's something we usually decide the day of the game."

Mike, who are you planning to start at right guard, and, has Ramzee Robinson worked his way back in to the starting lineup?
"At the right guard position B.J. Stabler really took the most snaps out of anybody last week. He could possibly be our starter. Mark Sanders, depends on how he does with practice this week; Marlon Davis the same thing. Taylor Britt's another guy that play, so we've got four candidates right there. If you base it on last week and probably if we had to play right now it would either be Taylor or B.J. And with Ramzee playing---we consider all of those guys starters. We're going to try to get equal snaps with Ramzee and Anthony and Simeon. Simeon got beat last week on a touchdown but came back and played pretty well in the second half. All of those guys are playing. We're happy that they're playing well and we're going to need them to play well this week."

Mike, after reviewing the tape, can you talk about the job that Cody Davis did at left tackle, and is he pushing Chris Capps now for that starter's spot?
"Yes. That's really another spot that you'll probably see both guys on the field this week. I thought Cody came in and played pretty well for his just being a redshirt freshman. We're just young at that position in both of those guys even though Chris is a sophomore he hasn't played much. Chris actually, when he came back in, he played better. So competition will continue, hopefully, to make these guys better and we're going to need that depth anyways."

Mike, Steve Spurrier was a very successful college coach and didn't make it in the NFL. A lot of other guys who've been successful college coaches haven't. You've been in that league: why do you think that is?
"I'm not sure how that pertains really to this game, but there are a lot of things that have to do with success rate in college and the NFL. Probably the biggest thing is personnel moves and personnel. The thing I've noticed in coming from the NFL, and I wasn't a head coach, but coming from the NFL to college is you have a lot more control in college over personnel and over decisions being made about your football team. Some people do in the NFL. Some people don't. I don't know, I wasn't at Washington and I wasn't at Florida. I know Coach Spurrier is an excellent coach. His record speaks for itself."

Mike, talk just a little bit about (Tyrone) Prothro. What makes him a special player and, does he have a future at the next level?
"I think he's special mainly because he's so explosive. He's a guy, even though he's not real tall, he's very thick. He rarely takes a clean shot. As far as him playing at the next level, to me it's still too far away (to predict). I think as far as his speed, his explosiveness (that) there are a lot of guys in the NFL who would love to have that. That's probably the best way to answer that. But he's still got work to do on running routes, things like that. Making catches like that a little more obvious so they don't have to go to replay. But consistency, too, right? He got some touches last week and played well. He's going to have to do the same thing this week. Great players will be consistent when their number is called week in and week out."

You're taking a lot of young players, particularly young offensive linemen I suppose, on the road for the first time.  Just talk about playing away from home for the first time.
"It's something for sure that I've learned since I've been here is (that it is) a bigger difference than what I'd thought. You're playing on the road for the first time. These guys are much younger, much less experienced. We're going to have to work hard all week on crowd noise with our offensive line, probably have to go to the silent count if we're in the gun, things like that. The communication has got to be really the focal point of this week. So, again, we've had guys on our team that we know how they'll react, but there are a lot of guys now that we're not quite sure, so this will be their first time. We've talked to the seniors already. They've got to provide that leadership. They've done a good job so far. We're going to count on them again this week."