USC Media Day Quotes
Mark Sanchez
Mark Sanchez
Posted Dec 31, 2008

Mark Sanchez and the Trojans discussed the Rose Bowl, Penn State and much more. Look inside for all the quotes from the Rose Bowl Media Day.

Quarterback Mark Sanchez

On being able to keep focused on the Rose Bowl Game with so many distractions surrounding the team…

“It’s not difficult at all. We have all these activities going on. We go to Disneyland. We go to Lawry’s [Beef Bowl] and hang out with some of these seniors for the last time. When we are practicing, that [practice] is all I am thinking about. I’m more focused on this game than any game because we have so much time to prepare. It means a lot to me and obviously I want to win. We think if we play well enough, we will be just fine and it is going to be a great match-up.”

On preparing for Penn State

“All week it starts with film preparation. You start watching old games. You get little clips of the games. You watch their defense and try and pick up different keys. You can’t just watch it all once. You have to watch it multiple times. We watch our practices that are filmed for us. I try to see my footwork and if it was accurate on this throw or is that the kind of play fake I want. We do these things throughout the week and then by Thursday we are pretty much ready to go.”

On Penn State’s defense…

“They are a stingy group. They’re tough, physical guys. They fly around to the ball. [Aaron] Maybin has been wreaking havoc all year harassing quarterbacks. Their linebackers play downhill. They flow to the ball and they hit the running backs hard. They don’t shy away from hits. Their secondary is all seniors. They are a veteran group. They are experienced and they have played together. They have seen a lot of football together, so they know their schemes well. They play well together and feed off each other’s energy. It’s an emotional group and I’m excited to play against them. They are going to be a great, formidable opponent.”

On what the team took away from the loss to Oregon State earlier in the season…

“We just can’t come out flat like that. I think everybody on the team admitted it. I think the best part about that game was that our team really grew up. We were mature about it. Nobody was pointing fingers. Everybody was pointing fingers at themselves and taking responsibility. I knew this team would bounce back. I knew that teams in the past had lost and had one loss early in the season. I knew it wouldn’t affect how we finished the season. I think wefinished strong and put ourselves in a great position to play on January 1 in the Rose Bowl Game and that is what we are playing for. This is a big time bowl game against a tough team so it is going to be fun.”

Linebacker Rey Maualuga

On being a physical defense…

“It [being physical] helps a lot. Coach Carroll’s philosophy is practice is everything. Just go out there and let loose. We get our offense prepared [to face other physical defenses]. It makes the games a lot easier. This defense is made up of [several] seniors. Everyone is a veteran and knows what to expect from each other. Everyone knows what to do, so we are not worried about what the other person is going to do because you know he is going to do his job.”

On wanting to start the Rose Bowl Game on defense…

“We can get the defense out there and hopefully get a three-and-out to give our offense some momentum. We want to get them fired up to go out there and move the ball down the field.”

On playing for head coach Pete Carroll…

“He knows what he expects from his players. We know what we want from a coach and that is what he gives us. Some coaches don’t have open practices. Some coaches don’t do the things that he does as far as trying to play with you or try to run down [field] on kick-offs. At times when I am practicing my linebacker position, he will be in front of me and say ‘I will read this play faster than you will’. When it is all said and done, fun aside, it’s time to get down and work.”

On Penn State’s offense…

“As far as athleticism and the way they pick up their offense and run the ball and throw the ball, this is probably one of the best spread offenses I’ve seen and probably the best offense I’ve seen this year. We just need to continue to dominate and play like we’ve been playing [to shut them down]. We just have to make them a one-dimensional team. Hopefully stop the run and force them to pass the ball all day. I think if we do that it will be a close game for us.”

Linebacker Brian Cushing

On being part of one of the best Trojan defenses while attending USC

“Since I’ve been here I would say it is one of the best. I can’t say anything about previously, but since I’ve been here this has been the fastest, most aggressive defense. I think they have a little bit more attitude than any other defense I’ve played with. It’s a confidence level when they go out there. They know what they are doing and are really getting the job done.”

On Penn State’s defense…

“They are a very stingy team on defense. They play smartly. They have very few penalties. They are a very disciplined team. They are the all-around package.”

Safety Kevin Ellison

On this year’s defense and its seniors…

“Hopefully we finish out strong as possible. You guys [media] decide how you rate us with the great defenses [in college football]. Hopefully we are at the top.”

“I think the defense is ready [for the Rose Bowl Game]. The coaches are getting everyone ready. The players want to be a great defense, so I think they are ready.”

On not having to travel to play in the Rose Bowl Game…

“It’s nice. We have been here the last four years. We enjoy the week [before the game] and it is kind of like a home game for us.”

Defensive End/Linebacker Clay Matthews

On his family’s history keeping him motivated to succeed…

“Obviously when you have a dad, an uncle and also a grandfather who has played in the NFL, you think you are going to be the same way. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case for me as far as college was concerned. I think every athlete believes they can make it to the next level. Obviously, I had a lot of skeptics at the beginning, but I always thought I could make it with these guys and make it to the next level.”

Offensive Guard Jeff Byers

On being motivated to play in the Rose Bowl Game for the fourth consecutive year…

“It is still fun. If you want to have fun, you will have fun regardless of where you are. We have never played Penn State in the Rose Bowl Game. I don’t think we are going to be asleep at the wheel playing against Penn State. They are a very good football team, very well rounded. People forget that these guys are one win away from playing for the national championship.”

On playing against Penn State’s defense…

“We have to go out there and we can’t make mistakes [against them]. If you want to beat a good defense you have to be very disciplined. You have to execute. You can’t jump off side. You have to have everyone on the same page blocking. That’s how you beat a good defense and move the ball. If you execute right, you should be alright.”

On Penn State’s team as a whole…

“This is not your typical Big Ten team. They are quick. They are mobile. They are fast on offense. On defense, they run just a couple defenses, but they are very good at it. They play very disciplined. Their linebackers are solid. Their line is extremely good. Their secondary plays really well in their schemes. We have a lot of work to do to execute against these guys.”

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can reach Kevin Carden at

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