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January 1, 2006

Reggie Bush

Dwayne Jarrett

Taitisu Lutui

Steve Sarkisian


THE MODERATOR: Coach, if you want to make an opening statement and then we'll take questions from the group.
COACH STEVE SARKISIAN: Well, it's obviously very exciting time for us, you know, to be back at the Rose Bowl here. We were here two years ago, and to be back playing a Texas team that is a very good football team with an extremely talented defense, one that is loaded from the front end all the way to the back end, is a great challenge for us offensively. I think our kids have prepared extremely well. They see the challenge, they realize the challenge. This isn't something that they think, oh, we're going to go through the motions and it's just going to happen for us offensively.
I think our kids have prepared extremely well. It's going to be a lot of fun to be a part of and to match up against this defense from the front end to the back end with Wright and Huff in the back end, I think it's going to be great for these guys from Dwayne and Deuce and Reggie and Matt and LenDale and the rest of the guys to match up with one of the best defenses in the country, and we're excited about it, and I think it's going to be a lot of fun for these guys.
Q. Steve, what's allowed the sort of unique pairing of you and Lane Kiffin to work well?
COACH STEVE SARKISIAN: We're young -- no, I think that we've got a unique relationship in the fact that we've almost grown up in the coaching business together. I think we've developed a style of preparation and work ethic and trying to create plays. Sometimes it works, sometimes it don't work, but we've found a way to almost work together and have the same mentality.
When I was able to come back and was offered the job from Coach Carroll to come back, that was one of the keys, that Lane was still going to be here to do this thing together because it's obviously a huge task to come in and try to run an offense, especially with the talent on this team.
I think, as I said before, we grew up in this profession together, and we have similar work ethic and similar styles. We also have a lot of fun, which is key.
Q. Reggie, has anyone to your knowledge ever successfully put a spy on you and that worked out well, and do you sort of look at it when they put a spy on you and lick your chops a little bit like, oh, I'm going to beat the spy?
REGGIE BUSH: Well, they have. A great example of that was last year in the Oklahoma game. I don't think they just had one spy, they had about three or four spies. We were able to hurt them through the air and the receivers did a great job and had a great game, and Leinart just went crazy that game. So I've seen teams do a great job of focusing on the running game or on me in particular, but other people are going to be open.
Q. Deuce, can you talk about the pride you guys take on the offensive line to buy time for Leinart and open holes for Reggie and LenDale?
TAITUSI LUTUI: We take big pride in having those two golden childs behind us. It's just something we protect as offensive line unit, covering the ball wherever they are. You'll see offensive line.
Q. Dwayne, how has that 4th and 9 play become part of your life since then, people referring to it, people sending you thank you notes or anything?
DWAYNE JARRETT: Yeah, definitely got a lot of thank you notes. That 4th and 9 play, I think it was just a tremendous play that Matt checked out of. The offensive line gave us enough time to execute the play, and I just ran my pattern and things worked out for the best. Matt threw the ball where it needed to be and I just turned my body slightly and made the play.
Q. Reggie, you look at the Texas defense on film, what's your biggest concern?
REGGIE BUSH: I'm not concerned at all, but the fact that they're a great defense, obviously we can't overlook them. We've got to maximize our opportunity. Every practice is crucial for us. We've got to continue to compete every day and keep our level of competitiveness up. Obviously if we get complacent, then that can hurt us. And like I said, we've just got to be prepared for a great game and prepare for anything, really.
Q. To follow up on that, have you guys faced a defense with that much speed this year at all?
REGGIE BUSH: Well, we don't know because obviously we see how great they are on film, but you can never really tell until you get into that game type of situation, until you're actually playing against that team on the field. We've played some really good defense this year, like Oregon, Arizona State, and some of those teams, Notre Dame has done a great job. So some of those teams may not have a lot of speed but they played their schemes well and did a great job against us.
Q. Dwayne, given the way you guys were able to throw the ball against Oklahoma, a team that spied Reggie, are you hoping Texas spies Reggie?
DWAYNE JARRETT: Yeah, I hope so. That's going to leave us open more as receivers. If they decide to do that, it's definitely going to be a lot of other people. You just can't key in on one player. We have a talented bunch of guys. If you just try and kill one player, someone else is going to make the play. I'm pretty sure they're going to come with a different defensive scheme when we're out there playing with them, but we'll just take that and we'll just adjust to it.
Q. I know you don't like yourself getting caught up too much in it, but I think the city of Houston right now is thinking about the Reggie Bush sweepstakes, and I think maybe San Francisco is, too. Even though you haven't declared what your intentions are, how do you deal with the knowledge that you could be the first pick of the draft if you decide to come out, and if so, do you allow yourself to think, I could go here or I could go there, and which one would you prefer?
REGGIE BUSH: This whole thing, I was just talking about it to some other reporters, how the media has kind of made the decision for me, not given me the option. They've sort of told me I'm going pro. It's fine. Like I said all year, I won't make my decision until after the season.
As of right now, we've got a task to complete to finish the season, but the fact that obviously I could be the No. 1 draft pick will obviously be a dream come true. But like I said, at the same time, I'm not going to worry myself about it. Like I said, I've got to focus on this game and helping my team win this next game.
Q. Do you have a favorite NFL team, somebody that you grew up watching?
REGGIE BUSH: It's funny, it just so happened to be the 49ers growing up. That was my favorite team. That's when they had Jerry Rice and Steve Young and a lot of great players on the team, and Ken Norton. I used to love watching them growing up. But that doesn't mean that that's where I want to play next year.
Q. Are you going to watch the game today?
REGGIE BUSH: If we get a chance to. We've got a practice coming up, so I don't know, I may not have a chance to. I'll see the highlights on ESPN if I don't get a chance to.
Q. Speaking of ESPN, all over the TV, all over the different newspapers people are writing this is the greatest offense in the history of college football and saying that. Have you heard that stuff, Reggie, and what do you think?
REGGIE BUSH: I have heard that. I've seen the stories that they do on us competing against some of the best teams over the years. Obviously that's respect for us, that people recognize what we're doing and we're in the midst of making something special happen here. Like I say, this is a special team for us all right now. I think it's a fair statement that we could possibly compete as one of the greatest offenses, greatest teams in college football ever.
Q. How is this USC team compared to last year's team?
REGGIE BUSH: I don't know. You know, it's weird because we lost so many defensive players last year. We lost so many leaders last year, but at the same time, we're still competing, we're right back competing for another National Championship. Obviously offensively, it doesn't differ at all. We had everybody returning this year. As far as defensively, I just don't see why people continue to overlook our defense because we've won every game this year, so obviously they're doing something right.
For me, just facing them every day is making us better, and that's why we're so great right now, why we're so good offensively right now is because we're facing those guys day in and day out and they're forcing us to compete and be on our best game.
Q. Reggie, I know you've talked about your friendship with LaDainian Tomlinson. Can you talk about how that came about and what are some of the greatest things you've learned from him?
REGGIE BUSH: I got a chance to work out with LT over the summer, and we had been friends for a while. We really hooked up my senior year in high school, so we have been friends for a while and I got a chance to finally work out with him over the summer, and that really just gave me an opportunity to see what it takes to not only be the best running back but just the best player in football, period. And working out with him, I threw up like three times or something like that, but it was a tough workout.
Like I said, it just gave me an opportunity to see what it takes to get to that next level and be the best player in football.
Q. So he was tough on you?
REGGIE BUSH: Yeah, he was tough on me. He's had nothing but great advice to give me, all throughout my career in college.
Q. I know you can't say, but do you know how to stop you?
REGGIE BUSH: Yeah, you can put three or four guys on me, but that's not going to do you much justice because then other guys on the team are going to be open. Like I said, I'm not superman. Obviously you put three or four guys on me, you can stop anybody. But at the same time, that's just going to open up plays for other guys like Dwayne, Dominique Byrd, Steve, LenDale, and I welcome teams with open arms to put that many defenders on me.
Q. Deuce, the offensive line started out as being a work in progress, a lot of young guys and a lot of changes to this year being now talked about as one of the greatest offensive lines ever. What has that transition been like, you guys kind of growing together and learning, and how have some of the guys, yourself and some of the other guys, progressed?
TAITUSI LUTUI: Yeah, I said this earlier. I think one of the things to our success that's really working good with each other is being good friends off the field, just our relationship and stuff helps us communicating, and the calls and stuff we make on the offensive line, we just can read each other very well being real good friends.
Q. Coach, will you know pretty early on Wednesday how they're going to try to deal with Reggie? How quick do you get a gauge on what Texas will try to do?
COACH STEVE SARKISIAN: Well, we need to find out extremely early. I don't think it's all about how they're stopping Reggie; it's the overall scheme of things and what their objective is in the game. It's a big factor for us. Any time you give coaches a month to prepare, there's a lot of different things they can do, and they're a great coaching staff. It's going to be a big challenge for us to not only figure out what they're doing with Reggie but what they're doing up front, what they're doing in the back end.
It's a big challenge so we can get the proper calls made and Matt can have a good understanding of what we're trying to do from that point on. I'm sure they'll have a variety of looks for us and it's going to be a big challenge for us and extremely challenging for Matt, as well, so he's seeing what's happening.
Q. Reggie, do you feel curious about who will win this humongous Texans-49ers game today and what it will do to the bottom of the league standings?
REGGIE BUSH: I'm curious about it. I would like to see what happens. I'm a fan of football in general. You know, whatever happens in this game, it won't have any effect on me. Obviously it'll just mean who gets the first pick in the NFL draft.
Like I said, from day one, I won't be worried about it until after the season. My main focus right now is to be a leader and help my team these next couple of days in preparing for this game.
Q. This goes for all, just your thoughts about putting your stamp on college football, possible history here with three straight National Championships.
COACH STEVE SARKISIAN: I think more importantly than putting a stamp on I think is trying to put a stamp on this game and coming out and executing and performing and playing at a high level, which is what we're trying to achieve daily.
These guys know how to compete, they know how to work, they know how to prepare. They've done a great job of it all year. So the key for us is not to worry about history or greatest offense or greatest teams. The key for us is to go out and play how we play every day, and to go out and to perform at a high level come Wednesday at 5:22 or whatever that kickoff is.
After that, then we can worry about stamps and histories and greatest offenses, but the key for us, as Reggie just said, I think he said it extremely well, we need to maximize our opportunities here for the next three, four days so that we are extremely prepared to play at a high level come Wednesday.
Q. Any other follow-up to it?
REGGIE BUSH: I think Coach Sark has pretty much summed it up. We can't worry about the possible history that's going to play into this game. We've got to take it as another football game, and I think that's it. We've got to focus on this game, not get caught up in the hype and all that plays into the National Championship. We've got to focus on this team and this team alone. Like I said, Coach Sark pretty much summed it up. We've just got to maximize our opportunity day in and day out. These next few days are going to be crucial for us, and that's about it.
TAITUSI LUTUI: Yeah, they pretty much said it all.
DWAYNE JARRETT: Basically they pretty much summed it all up. You know, we just have to stay focused and just prepare and just go out there and execute our plays and worry about the history stuff after the game, like Coach Sark said. You know, all of that doesn't even matter if we don't prepare for this game and we don't go out there and win. Like all three of these guys said up here, we just have to stay focused and maximize these last couple of days of practice that we have to go out there and play the best game.
Q. I hear a lot of the players refer to Pete Carroll as both a coach and a friend. How do you think it works that he could be that and still keep a consistency to win 34 in a row?
DWAYNE JARRETT: For me, I think it's mostly because he's like a father. You know, he has kids and he knows what it's like to be a dad and at the same time being straight, sticking by his word. I know, I think he carries that over to us as a football team.
You know, he's our head coach, but at the same time he really cares about us, and he does the greatest job ever, just to make sure we're having fun, doing everything, and at the same time we're working hard. I think that's the best thing about Coach Carroll. He's a players' coach, and he's out there with us throwing the ball, running around, tackling people, and a lot of college coaches, they don't do that.
Once you have that and the players see that, you want to go out there and bust your butt for that coach and just work hard and do everything that he asks of you to do. I think he definitely plays a big role in us just going out there and us playing for him and he's just having fun with it.

End of FastScripts...

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