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December 1, 2013

Reactions: UCLA




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Ed Orgeron

Injuries: "Marcus Martin went out with a knee, Marquis Simmons elbow, Aundrey Walker I believe broke his ankle and Quinton Powell went out with a wrist."

Opening Statement: "Obviously a disappointing performance by the team. I think it's the worst performance we've had since we started back together. We did not function well in all three phases. We started off very slow. We weren't able to run the ball, we dropped passes, we didn't do much on offense. We couldn't stop Hundley on the quarterback draw. They just had the upper hand on us tonight. We didn't play well on special teams, not that our guys weren't trying. We didn't have one of our better games. No excuses, we just didn't play well."

The last time a quarterback played so well against USC: "It's been a while, especially running the ball like that. We knew going into the game that there where some concerns about the quarterback draw… I think they got us a couple of times. We were prepared for it, we worked on it, but they still made yards."

What they did to stop the draw: "We tried everything. We called a push rush. We had the linemen push, look for the quarterback draw. Then they blocked down, pulled a center on us, and kind of split us right there on third down, and started going in for the touchdown. That was a huge play. Then we started blitzing, and they started splitting us on the blitzes. It seemed like everything we tried, he was making plays. We tried almost everything we knew to stop him. Give them credit. They did a good job."

Buck Allen's play: "Buck Allen. Obviously Buck has been a tremendous story all year. He's turned into an outstanding back for us. I think he made a lot of yards on his own. It didn't look like there were many holes tonight… Buck played decent tonight, but I will say this: No one played well enough tonight to beat a rival team, and that's my responsibility."

Slow start: "We started fast on defense, we weren't able to convert a couple of chances on third down, but we didn't move the chains. We felt like we got behind a little bit. We played well in spurts. The sacks really hurt us in the second quarter. We were running the ball, we just weren't very consistent. The kick off returns and them starting with the ball on midfield really hurt us. Our third down conversions weren't as good as they needed to be, and overall we just didn't play well."

Energy level of the team: "I felt the energy level was very high before the game, about as high as it's ever been. I think when we didn't make plays, we got discouraged early, which was disappointing. We tried to sustain, and we had energy in spurts, but we weren't as consistent as we had been in the last couple of games."

Dealing with energy issues in the future: "I think it was about execution, that's all it was. We were looking forward to playing a great game tonight, and we expected to play a great game. We weren't executing well, and I think it took a little fire out of us. We weren't executing, but we continued to fight. We were in the ball game up until midway through the fourth quarter. We're going to continue to fight, work hard and build on the things that we can. We have to look at the film first and see what went wrong. Either the preparation, the game planning and/or the execution."

The future: "We don't know. We really don't know. We set out this thing to go eight weeks in a row, one week at a time, one game at a time, and if you look at the overall body of work, it's been pretty amazing what these young men have done. Obviously we're disappointed, especially when you don't beat UCLA and Notre Dame. That's what a head coach at USC is supposed to do. I understand that has to be done. What the future holds, we don't know. I do know that whatever happens, this group of young men and these coaches will be in my heart for a tremendous job that they've done under extreme adversity. They've grown as a team and I'm proud of them."

Special teams game plan: "We knew Ishmael (Adams) is really good, and we worked very hard. We didn't want to squib kick or anything like that. We did against Stanford also. We've faced some pretty good kick returners, and we've stopped them. Tonight we didn't. We did not have a good enough plan, and we didn't execute well enough."

Kris Albarado's struggles: "We had a couple of bad punts, and we're going to have to get it corrected. We'll open up the competition and get it fixed. It's totally unacceptable. I will say this: In the last eight weeks, our special teams have been lights out. Between the field goal and punt blocks, returns, the field position, they've been lights out. I thought tonight wasn't their best game, but their overall body of work has been pretty good."

If he'll be anxious with Pat Haden's decision: "I'm going to take it one day at a time. Right now, I'm hurting for these guys and our coaches. We wanted to win this game. Tomorrow is going to bring a new day with recruiting. The sun's going to shine, we're going to get up and going to get after it again. We're going to look at the film, make our corrections and move on. We're going to fight regardless of the situation. We're Trojans we fight."

Cody Kessler

If the scheme changed when Marcus Martin and Aundrey Walker left: "No. Obviously it's never good when you lose two offensive linemen in the same game, but it didn't change the scheme too much. Abe (Markowitz) has played before and John (Martinez) started last year. It didn't change the playbook at all, we just didn't execute. It's on the players. I don't want anyone to blame this man (Ed Orgeron) or the coaches. It's our fault. They put us in the right place and in position. They gave everything to us, and we just didn't execute. We missed opportunities, we missed third down plays. I missed some passes, we had some drops, we missed assignments up front. That's 100% on us as players."

Pressure by UCLA: "They did a good job. When you have guys that are that big and that strong, you're going to take some hits. They had some decent plays, they'd win some, and we'd win some. When it came to crucial times, some of them caused turnovers or bad decisions on my part. There were some throws I should have made and some blocks we should have made, but there's nothing you can pinpoint until you watch the film. We're going to get it fixed and move on from there."

Devon Kennard

Brent Hundley: "…He just made some plays. Our coaches put us in good positions, but he's a good quarterback. He scrambles well and he kind of got all over the place. He was running all over the place and we had to get him down."

Torin Harris

Final home game in his career: "It means everything. It's been a great journey here, and going to USC means you're a Trojan for life. It's been a great opportunity. The last game didn't end the way we wanted it, but it's been a good go."

Impressions of the game: "We have to check out the film. I can't make any assumptions with what happened."

Feelings on the season: "I feel like we did a lot. I think we did a good job. We came a long way."

Keeping everyone positive before the bowl: "We have to think of the positives, how far we came this season and everything. We have to look at the good stuff. We can't always look at the bad things, especially in times like this. Of course the bad things will come to mind, but you have to stay positive."

Kevin Greene

Impressions of the game: "Just from the sideline looking at the game, there were a couple of small mental errors and breakdowns within the defense. As an offense, we have to do a better job of executing."

Last game in the coliseum: "It was definitely a bittersweet feeling. You never want your last game to be a loss, no matter where it is, especially here at the Coliseum. but at the end of the day, we still have another game. We still have a bowl game in a couple of weeks, and we have to get ready for that."

Keeping the team excited and energized: "I'll just tell them to keep their heads up. We did a lot of things that people did not think we would do. Going on the road and beating Oregon State and taking care of business against Stanford were things that people didn't think we could do. We've actually proved the world wrong in a lot of aspects. Tonight was unfortunate, but you have to move on. You can't win them all."

Antwaun Woods

The game: "It's a tough loss in a rivalry game, but you have to stay positive. We did things that no one thought we could have done. We came together as a team under Coach O (Ed Orgeron) and we made great progress on the season because of him. That's the positive to take, but we still lost."

Feelings on the coaching search: "When it comes to Coach O, I'm 110 percent Coach O, no matter what the circumstance is. No matter what, I'm a Coach O fan, win, lose, draw, whatever. I played the last nine games for Coach O and the team. He helped us become closer as a team because we wanted to have success for him. He's a great dude all around. He just made us closer, so he has my vote."

J.R. Tavai

Impressions of the game: "UCLA was the better team tonight. They took advantage of our mistakes and bounced back when they needed to. I felt like we could have done better. We didn't play like we should have."

Staying positive: "We're definitely going to bounce back after tonight. We have a lot of heart on this team, Coach O is going to take care of us, and we're going to fix our mistakes on Monday."

Coaching search: "In my opinion, Coach O should be the head coach, but I'll let them take care of that. Coach O is definitely the heartbeat of this team, and without him, we wouldn't have done what we did these past eight weeks."

George Uko

Best moments for him so far as a Trojan: "The best part has been this year probably. Most of the worst parts are in the past."

Missing the guys that are leaving: "A lot. I'm going to miss it so much. Guys like DK (Devon Kennard) and KG (Kevin Greene) and some of the other guys on team. Everyone contributes to making this a family."

Energy level: "…I don't know. Maybe the sideline wasn't as upbeat as it usually is. We weren't jumping around as much, the energy wasn't there because they got up quick on us 14-0. From there we were fighting out of a hole the whole time."

Coaching search: "Stick with Coach O. They can go get anyone they want and pay millions of dollars for a name like John Gruden or Jack Del Rio. They have a name to them and a title, but they don't have our hearts. When they're walking in the door, they aren't going to have our hearts and the passion that we share with Coach O. That's something that the money and the name can't bring. You can bring in any name you want, but if you don't have the heart and passion with that coach, you don't have anything. That's what coach brings. He bring love, joy and caring. He makes us feel like he's a second father figure in all of our lives. There are guys on this team that don't have dads, and he plays that role. He's a father, mentor and coach. It'd be tragic if we lost him."

Marqise Lee

How he feels: "I'm upset that we lost to tell you the truth, but at the end of the day when I think of the overall view and the expectations, a lot of people didn't expect us to make a bowl game or to have the type of record we have now. So you can't really be upset. I'm speaking for myself. One thing I'm focused on is yeah, I'm upset. We lost. We wanted to get that W. UCLA did what they were supposed to do. We couldn't get stuff going, a lot of players got hurt. Overall, I'm just grateful we got this far and have the opportunity to make it to a bowl game."

Coach O taking the blame: "Coach O basically took the blame, but it's not really his fault. We left some things on the field as players, passing wise, defensive wise. It's on the players to tell you the truth. Of course you allow Coach O to say it because he's a coach, but it's on the team. We have some things to pick up. The main focus that he said was that we still have an opportunity to play one more. We have to make sure we utilize our time and work on what we need to for this game."

How much of a difference Coach O made: "A big difference. Like I said, the expectations for us were low. A lot of people didn't have faith. For us to end it the sway we did, and to go on to a bowl game is great. At the end of the day, for him to take over mid-season, do what he does and to go 6-2 is great as a head coach. I think he should remain head coach and that's what we played for to tell you the truth.

His leg: "My leg's cool. It got re-aggravated, but I'll be alright. We have time so I'll be alright."

If he thought they should have gone deep more: "Not really. I think everything we did was good, we just have to utilize. We missed some opportunities. We had guys open who missed, wrapping up on defense, Nelson and I catching the ball. Turnovers. We lost the turnover battle, and that almost makes it impossible to win the game. We'll figure it out and be okay."

Senior year: "It's something that I have to discuss with my mom. I haven't really thought about it to tell you the truth. I know I had to talk with my mom about it about a month ago. She kept hearing stuff about what I'm going to do. She wanted to sit down and really talk about it after the bowl game, so that's what I'm going to do."

Criteria for the decision: "I don't know to tell you the truth. I haven't really thought about it. I don't know anything, I haven't thought about anything. I'm just lost in the world. I'm just focused on this next game and getting back on point. After the bowl game, that's when I'll focus on this other stuff."

If they were too high before the game: "Nah, that's just the game, it's how I roll. The whole game is way hyped, that's how it is. Once one of the players got kicked out, me and the corner came to an agreement that we weren't going to say anything anymore. We didn't want to get kicked out of the game. We maintained it once the refs started kicking guys out and throwing flags."

Why the energy level was lower than it was against Stanford: "That's where the missed opportunities come as far as having opportunities to get plays, hold blocks and get open. There were a couple problems today. Receivers open and not looking down field, linemen not holding blocks and receivers not catching balls or getting open. It's a whole team thing, and we have to improve as a team."

If he agrees with George Uko on this being his favorite season: "I can agree with Uko. My freshman year was amazing, too, but at the end of the day, it's a transformation. It's a a situation where you struggle early, and you have the opportunity to come back and make something of yourself, and that's what we did."

If he noticed UCLA's pass rush: "A couple of times, I did, as far as turning around Cody was in some problems. Overall UCLA played well, and we have to work on our flaws."

If they adjusted to the pass rush: "Not necessarily. UCLA was doing a pretty good job, but our coaches thought like we were holding up pretty well. We just continue to do the things we needed to. We made some corrections at halftime, but nothing big."

If the game felt different because they were favorites: "Not at all. I didn't pay attention to any of that to tell you the truth.

Serra High: "A lot of players from Serra have offers from USC. At the end of the day, I don't know if they're going to go here or not, but I have been pushing a little bit of SC on them. At the end of the day, it's whatever decision they make. Right now, Serra is doing great, they're still in the playoffs. Bosco and Serra players were talking a little smack in the locker room about how they'll see each other in two weeks."

Xavier Grimble

Impressions of the game: "They started a lot of their drives on the 50. They had some short punts and we were getting close to blocking those punts, but we had some short punts, too. We put our defense in some really bad situations. It looks like they didn't play awesome, but I always like to take credit on offense and special teams and say we put them in bad situations. If we gave them better field position, maybe we would be able to get some stops tonight."

If he thought his score would turn it around: "I definitely did. I was looking to make a play, and I was hoping that would turn it around."

Being your own worse enemy: "That's what hurts the most, when you beat yourself. We had fumbles, we gave up sacks and we didn't play well on special teams. That's how you lose. We didn't make enough plays to recover from our mistakes."

Josh Shaw

Impressions of the game: "We didn't execute. It's as simple as that."

What he tells the team going forward: "There's nothing we can do to change this outcome. We have one more game left so we have to continue to stay together and win a bowl game."

Improvement from the defensive backs: "Nah they didn't throw for a ton of yards today. A lot of the game was on the perimeter with quick screens and trying to hit the running back out in the flat. They didn't stretch the game much vertically, so I think the secondary did okay."

Coaching search: "Coach O told us right now, he knows how we feel about him, and we know how he feels about us. At the end of the day, it's not in our control. It's up to Pat Haden. I'm sure he knows we'd love to keep Coach O and for him to be at the helm. But it's up to Pat Haden."

Playing for Coach O: "Even today before the game we all gathered around the fifty yard line, and had him come in between us in the huddle, and get the break. That's not something we ever do. He didn't know it was going to happen, but it was something that we decided amongst the team that we were going to do. Unfortunately, we couldn't get the win."

NFL Evaluation: "I'll do that. I guess underclassmen do that next week, so I'm going to get an evaluation."

John Martinez

Impressions of the game: "It just came down to communication and executing. It came down to a chess match and capitalizing on bad moves. Tonight I just feel like we made more bad moves."

Did losing starters in the offensive line hurt: "I felt like Abe Markowitz and I stepped up. When a guy goes down, it's our job to step up and not take a step back. I feel like we were fully prepared, but it came down to execution."

Getting the chance to play in his final home game: "It meant a lot. Of course when Aundrey Walker went down, it was heartbreaking to see that happen. But for me to be in there and play with my brothers, it was awesome."

Staying positive: "I told them that we had one more. We have to redeem ourselves and we can't let this one bring us down. We have to redeem ourselves when the bowl game comes around. In a sense, all the guys had their heads down before, but Coach O brought them back up. He brought us together as a family and told everyone of the players that we can't let this one bring us down as a family."

Coaching search: "Whoever it is, we'll respect them. When coach Kiffin was here, we still respected him. If he is the head coach, great for him. I think he has all the qualities of a head coach. He brought us together as a family, and I think that was a big step for us."

Dion Bailey

Remembering the season: "Definitely. What we've been able to do, we're going to go down in history for what we did this year under our circumstances. My whole tenure at USC has been a roller coaster. I wouldn't give up this year or any outcomes. Everything happens for a reason, God has a plan and it just wasn't in his plan for it to happen tonight. We have bigger things in store for us, we're going to turn the page. It hurts, especially losing to them. But we're going to get ready for whatever bowl game we're going to. We're going to go out here and take it out on them

What it means that coach Orgeron was the interim coach: "He brought the team closer together, the brotherhood grew stronger with him as the head man. He's just that type of guy. He knows how to win people over. He's a professional recruiter. That's what he does, he gets people to believe in what he's doing and saying. We were able to do that, but we came up short tonight. Our whole season has still been special, and he's a special head coach with a bright future ahead of him."

What he's most proud of: "I'm happy how myself and my teammates handled adversity while we were here. We still stand tall with our heads held high, everyone's chins up. We've been through. I'm just proud of how everyone's handled it."

Leaving early: "I don't know if I'm leaving yet or not, so I don't really know about missing anything. I'm going to miss the seniors that are leaving for sure this year. It'll be hard to replace their leadership. If I'm still here or not, they'll have to replace that leadership, and it'll be a big key for them having a successful year."

Buck Allen

Coaching search: "To be honest I would have given it to him a while ago. That's just the respect I have for Coach O. He's a great man. He loves all of us like we're his sons. He came in, took over and did his thing. I'm going to leave it up to Pat Haden and president Nikias. That's not my decision."

Impressions of the game: "We didn't execute our assignments like we should have. I can't point fingers. We lost as a team."

If he could see the impact of losing Martin and Walker: "That's my starting center and guard so I'm going to notice it. the guys that came in did a good job but we didn't execute like we wanted to. We're going to go from here."

His fumble: "Cody threw it and I got outside. i really didn't get possession of it like I wanted to. I didn't pull it and pay attention to detail. It's on me, and I take full responsibility."

Moving forward: "We have to keep our head on straight. We have another game to play, and we can't get down. We have to go back to the drawing board and fix it."


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