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October 19, 2011

Harrison Smith

Manti Te'o

THE MODERATOR: We're back with Harrison Smith and Manti Te'o.

Q. (No microphone.)
HARRISON SMITH: Yeah, there is quite a difference in those trips. You know, just looking back to some of the great guys who have been through SC, there were a lot of them there at the time. It's kind of interesting to see the different sides of it.
But right now we're just focused on this Saturday. Some of the guys that were there for those games can take those experiences into this game just because it's always such a big rivalry game. There's a lot on the line for both teams.
Having both of those sides of it I guess probably help us in preparation for this week.

Q. (No microphone.)
HARRISON SMITH: Yeah, I mean, like I said, we kind of got to see a couple different angles on it. USC is always a tough group, always a lot of talent, well-coached. It's always a battle with them.

Q. (No microphone.)
HARRISON SMITH: I mean, you have to respect obviously the run, it adds a little bit more. I think it's hard to be successful in this time if you can't do both, especially throw the ball very well. That's something that they do.
They have play-makers at all those skill positions and a line that can pass block and run block. You definitely have to respect their ability to do both.
With a guy back there like Barkley, he can make all the throws.

Q. (No microphone.)
MANTI TE'O: It definitely adds a different dimension to the game. You have to play more honest, not just read your keys. When you see something, react. But definitely like Harry said, USC has a pretty good set of skill players that can make plays and has made plays for them. Matt, he can make all the throws. He makes good decisions. He's the leader of the offense. He has an O-line that protects for him.
Going into this, we just got to do what we do: focus on our keys and react.

Q. (No microphone.)
HARRISON SMITH: Not particularly. I mean, he's a play-maker. If I had to describe him in one word, he's definitely a play-maker. They like to give him the ball, give him space to work, then sometimes just throw it up and let him make plays. He's a very talented guy. He does a lot for them.
He's a guy that when you turn on the film, he's blocking till the whistle, he's always going hard. He's a player that doesn't take any plays off. He's always going.

Q. (No microphone.)
MANTI TE'O: I mean, it's a combination of coach letting me go. He just lets me go on certain plays, lets me pressure the quarterback. Some of it has to do with being more comfortable and getting my eyes straight, you know, just running, just being more comfortable I guess.
Usually when you first get in there, everything seems so fast. The more you're in there, the more experience you have seeing different things, the more things start to slow down. So as things start to slow down, I can start to react and I see things better.
It's a combination of both scheme and just being more comfortable.

Q. (No microphone.)
MANTI TE'O: I definitely have changed the way I watch film, just doing a lot of film study. I'm not going to be able to come out every play and know what they're going to do, but when they line up, I have a pretty big idea of where the ball's going, who's going to get it just by what I see and what I recognize from film. Film study has definitely helped me.

Q. (No microphone.)
MANTI TE'O: Just in the way what I watch, what I look at. I've always looked at certain things. I've learned to kind of filter everything into one category, to kind of organize my film study so I'm not just watching random plays. I watch the same play over and over again so when I see it on the field, my body already knows what to do from what I watched.

Q. (No microphone.)
MANTI TE'O: Yeah, I mean, I was trying to get in there when Harry was in there, all my guys were in there. They were in there, I was out. I was begging coach just to put me back in just for a drive.
Harry and them, they're strong, stopped them.

Q. (No microphone.)
MANTI TE'O: It started off, they kept saying no. Then I guess I started getting irritating so they started avoiding the question, so it was good.

Q. (No microphone.)
MANTI TE'O: I would say, to be honest with you, not anymore. My first two years, I'd say, Okay, this is USC, I almost went there. I grew up a USC fan. I used to have those kind of emotions mixing in with all the anxiety and excitement.
But going into this year, I don't have that feeling anymore. I'm happy to play another game. I'm happy to play with the guys I'm with, so...

Q. (No microphone.)
MANTI TE'O: I mean, I'm cool with a lot of guys. I'm cool with Matt Barkley. I know a few guys over there. But mainly I know the guys who left, Ray, Stanley, I'm close with them. I don't really know this group of guys.

Q. (No microphone.)
MANTI TE'O: You know, just an accident. I just got landed on. That's about it. Right now it's a hundred percent.

Q. (No microphone.)
MANTI TE'O: None of them right now (laughter).

Q. (No microphone.)
MANTI TE'O: No. The guys that I was with, they were all committed. Devon was there. He was already committed. The group of guys I was with, they pretty much were sold on USC and were going.

Q. (No microphone.)
MANTI TE'O: I mean, I told the story a lot of times. I was going to go to USC. I prayed about it. I was directed here. I think that was the only thing that could persuade me to come here. I was all sold on USC. I grew up a USC fan, you know what I mean? But I prayed about it and everything pointed this way.

Q. (No microphone.)
MANTI TE'O: Oh, definitely it's something new. It's something that I'm looking forward to. It's something all the guys are looking forward to. We just hope the fans enjoy it. We're going to need their support, need their energy, and we're going to feed off of that. It's definitely something we're excited for.

Q. (No microphone.)
HARRISON SMITH: I think it will be a great time for the fans and for both teams involved. Kind of an environment that you never see at Notre Dame, a night game, especially such a storied rivalry. I really think the fans are going to be into it. They're going to be, I don't know, pretty rowdy I think.

Q. (No microphone.)
HARRISON SMITH: Yeah, you're right. I don't really like to go back on stuff.
But, I mean, to me it was just another play, doing what the coaches taught us to do. When you get an opportunity, you got to make a play. That's pretty much all it was.
THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions from any of the callers.

Q. Harrison, I know that you're on the defensive side of the ball, but can you talk a little bit about what Tommy Rees has brought to this team over the last couple years, coming in as a true freshman, doing what he's doing, now taking you to a 4-1 record at the start of this year.
HARRISON SMITH: He's just got a level of confidence. I think naturally that's how he is. I think guys kind of feed on that, even outside of the offense. The defense feeds off of the plays he makes, and the special teams does, too. Really that level of confidence in his own ability. The leadership he brings to the table is something that maybe you can't coach, something he was kind of blessed with. That just provides energy for the rest of us.

Q. Is he a vocal guy or a subdued guy? How would you describe that in terms of his leadership?
HARRISON SMITH: I think he's kind of different on and off the field. He's not too loud off the field. But when it comes game time, he gets pretty fiery, as I'm sure you've seen. I guess on the field he just kind of wears it all on his sleeve, makes it obvious as to what he's feeling.

Q. Manti, when a young guy comes in and gets named the starting quarterback, maybe there was an upperclassman who he ended up taking the job from, in the locker room that can maybe sometimes cause some problems. What is it about Tommy and this situation where guys were maybe more accepting of how it all sort of played out?
MANTI TE'O: I mean, it just goes to speak to the character of this team. Everybody wants to win and wants to do what's best for this team. When Tommy got the job, Dayne didn't put his head down or anything. He didn't complain. In fact, he tried to help Tommy out. He tried to tell Tommy what to look for and to try to teach him whatever he knew.
That's how our team is. We just help whoever is up front. Just make sure when it's our time to be called that we're ready.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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