Crowton Talks USC at Tucano's Media Luncheon

PROVO -- BYU head coach Gary Crowton addressed local media at Tuesday's Tucano's Football Media Luncheon. Following is part of the transcript of Crowton's comments.

"It was a nice win against Georgia Tech. I thought they were a very athletic football team. I thought that as the game wore on, we got better. I actually thought they got better too, to be honest with you.

"We were able to keep them out of the end zone defensively, and offensively, we were able to get into the end zone. It was a good win.

"I thought Matt Berry made a lot of progress. It was nice to be able to play without our starting tailback and do well with Rey Braithwaite and Naufahu Tahi and Tafui Vakapuna. Those guys came in and did some good things.

"Now we have got to look forward to Southern California, which is an outstanding football team. They are extremely fast and very good."

Q: What can you tell us about USC's Defense?

A: "Well, they are the fourth-ranked team in the country and they just knocked off the sixth-ranked team. People thought that both of those teams were pretty good coming into that game. They make up ground really quickly. They're good tacklers. They read the run keys and pass keys very well. I think they're an outstanding team."

Q: How does our offensive line match-up with their defensive line?

A: "I think we'll do fine, I mean we've got a young offensive line. I thought they did well. I think they'll get better. In getting a little bit better, this will be a good challenge for them. If we don't match-up well, if they have some guys that cause some problems with us, we'll have to do some doubling but we'll have to wait and see how that goes."

Q: I'm sure you saw the USC/Auburn Game. How much of that package did you see in that game?

A: "I felt like the defense had good control of Auburn's offense and he didn't do anything to lose the game offensively. He (Norm Chow) had to open it up to score to match-up as if it were a shoot out type game. But I thought he stuck to his game plan and they were conservative at times. He did what he needed to do to win and their quarterback did pretty well."

Q: What di d you think of USC's QB against Auburn?

A: "He did well. He may have only turned the ball over one time as I recall, but I thought he did a very good job of managing the game for his first game. He's a veteran guy who's been around. They talked about playing a freshman, which they didn't. I didn't think they would. But, I thought the quarterback did a very good job."

Q: How do you get your players to get past the fact that you are playing in the Coliseum against the fourth-ranked team in the nation?

A: "We're not going to be intimidated going in there. Our situation here in Provo is a great situation. We had 63,000 people at our game against Georgia Tech on Thursday night. I know that BYU and USC average about the same attendance every year. BYU has averaged more attendance than they have many times. We're going to be fine with that. I don't think the Coliseum or playing USC will play a factor as far as overwhelming our teams. We do have a young team offensively. Defensively, we have a lot of experience. I think they will go down there and they will play hard. And, they're a good football team. They are a very athletic football team. They are big on the defensive line and they have great speed for their size. Not the biggest team, but they are just very athletic. They are a well-recruited school because of the tradition that they've had. It shows by their game against Auburn. But, on the other hand, BYU has always played well in these big games. I'm hoping this is one of those times. I'm excited to go in there and play. We are going in as a 21-point underdog. Going in as an underdog against a real good football team, you have nothing to lose. We're just going to go out there and play hard and try to win. We're just going to get after it and let the chips fall as they may. And that's the way you do it."

Q: With nothing to lose as far as your record is concerned how much of a concern is it to lose players this early in the season to injury?

A: "Well, I hope we don't lose any. Any team is at risk to lose players, that's why there is a big concern about adding the twelfth and thirteenth games each year. Players are in a lot of games. That's the risk you take. I'm not going to worry about that. We're just going to go in and play and hope we all come out healthy."

Q: Talk about Bronco's rotation with a lot of different defensive players.

A: "Bronco likes to play a lot of different players and I like that. It is based on effort in practice. If guys practice hard and have great effort, they are going to play. We play a lot more than BYU has played traditionally but we like that, it keeps up a bit more fresh and helps us avoid injuries. It's a good way to reward them for working hard in practice."

Q: With Gilford injured and Heaney out for the season, how are you going to slow down their (USC's) receivers?

A: "Well, we play with what we've got. I think they'll play hard. I think Jernaro will be a top player and his wrist shouldn't affect him. He might not be able to catch the ball as well but he'll be all right. It might be a bit painful, but I don't know what nicks their receivers had from last week. Jernaro will play and Chad Barney played a lot last year. He's got some good experience and good height. I think he'll be great. I'll tell you who I'm pretty happy with in covering is Nate Soelberg. He's as fast as anyone out there. He ran a 10.3 in the 100 meters. He's a very good cover guy. So, we'll give him a chance to see what he can do. We're not afraid of those guys -- they're just good. It will be fun to play them."