FROM PULLMAN — Here's much of what Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday told the media earlier this afternoon.
(Assessment of Saturday's game) “Played pretty well for the most part. That was probably the best game I’ve ever had, run-game wise. In this offense the quarterback calls all the runs and like I said, that was the best game I’ve ever had checking runs. Underthrew a ball, made one poor decision, other than that, it was a pretty good game.”
(More on running the ball) “It’s been huge. We’ve been like that ever since Lewiston. We took huge steps in the run game. Marcus Mason and Teondray (Caldwell) are playing real well. Marcus had a couple great catches in the passing game as well.”
(On run opening other things) “It helps a lot. It helps our o-line probably the mosy because those guys aren’t just pinning their ears back and rushing every play, they’ve got to worry about a little run-game too. The windows get a little bigger. It’s not like throwing 7 on 7 out there.”
(On the 4th-and-5 run by Caldwell) “We had a pass called, and they lined up in a 5-man box and if you can’t run the ball in a 5-man box, you can’t run the ball ever. I kind of rolled the dice there, put my faith in Teondray and the boys up front and they got it done.”
“I think a lot of it is understanding the run plays a lot more. Last year I knew them but I didn’t understand who was blocking who and who was pulling what. A better understanding of what run play is best in the look that the defense is giving us is helping us as an offense a lot.”
(How Auburn game will make him better) “I think just understanding that as long as I make good decisions, we’re going to move the ball. We had almost 500 yards of total offense even with three interceptions, so if I can just limit those mistakes, we’re going to be a tough team to stop. It was pretty apparent we stopped ourselves, they didn’t do too much to stop us. It was poor decisions by me or a missed block here or a dropped ball there. If we stay on top of our stuff we’ll be all right.”
(How getting a win at USC would feel) “It’d be huge. We don’t really have a choice. Going 0-2 is a tough way to start the year with the goals that we have for this team, so it’s kind of a must win.”
(On USC's two-man quarterback race) “That’s a tough situation. I feel for them down there. If you’re doing it the way that would make everything easier, go into camp and have your competition and figure out who the guy’s going to be going into week one, and throw all your chips in with him so that quarterback feels like he has trust from the coaching staff and trust from the 105 guys around him. That’s the biggest thing, is knowing the rest of the guys have your back. It’s always easy to be confident in yourself but when you feel confidence from the rest of the guys around you, that helps out a lot.”
(On USC's defense under new coordinator Clancy Pendergast) “They’re going to do a lot of things that Cal did to us last year. A lot of 2-man. Basically it’s going to be a lot of what we saw last week. Everybody’s going to play press-man against us until we can show we can successfully beat it and get off jams and be more physical outside, and I think we’re on our way to showing that, as we did last Saturday. Threw for almost 350. We’ve just got to figure out a way to consistently beat man to man coverage, and once we do that it’ll be easy to tear up zone.”
(On Auburn's deep safety approach) “We played against a lot of man last year, Arizona State, Oregon State, teams that pretty much dominated us. Just from that standpoint we’ve taken huge steps with receivers using their hands and getting off jams and all that. Personally I’ve never played against safeties that deep.”
“That’s what we saw from the first series. That’s what that defensive coordinator is about. When he had that top five defense at South Carolina …that’s just what he does. He makes you have 12 play drives to score. He’s not going to let up one big hitter.”
(On postseason expectations) “I think kind of what I said to start the year was I’m going to help me, myself, and this team have a standpoint of 'win every Saturday.' Around here there’s been a lot of talk about postseason bowl games and what we’re going to do at the end of the year and all that, and frankly none of it’s gotten done. It pisses me off that people talk about that and fall short on it, so I’m just taking a one Saturday approach.”
(On difference between this WSU team and last one to play USC in 2010) “To just be frank with you, we actually have a decent amount of Pac-12 talent. That team in 2010, half those kids wouldn’t have started for a good high school football team. We actually have some guys who can play at this level now.”
“When Leach arrived I think we had some talent that was here to play at this level but I think Leach has done a real good job of getting the talent out of those guys. This freshman class that he's brought in has been the best class I’ve seen since I got here.”
(More on the 4th-and-5 run) “That was a real good feeling for me. That’s a thought that wouldn’t even have entered my head last year. Just from a growth standpoint,it was big. Coach (Clay) McGuire said he’s been with Leach for the last 13 years either playing or coaching, and he said he’s never seen a run over 4th and 2.