Tevin McDonald talks about the matchups against USC's receivers, and answers the obligatory…
VIDEO: Mora on Wednesday
JM: Another good day at practice and… Guys are locked in, focused, and getting ready to go. Have a walkthrough on Friday. Get ready to tee it up.
Q: what's it like going against this high powered offense?
JM: well it's a real challenge, you know… We've played some really good offenses this year. I think Arizona's rank fifth in the country and we played them. And Arizona State's was up there and you know that's kind of how this PAC-12 is. There's just a lot of diversity. A lot of skill. A lot of innovation. This week poses unique and different challenges than the other weeks. I think that the thing's that's different this week... Not only do they have an excellent scheme but they've got players everywhere. We all know their names and you have to be ready for those guys.
Q: Is there any additional planning that goes into stopping Marquis Lee?
JM: I think there needs to be. Our philosophy… and I think the philosophy of most defenses… you have to try to learn a scheme. Prepare for scheme. Match your concepts against their scheme and then roll it out and play. But when you're playing a special guy like Lee, a special guy like Woods. And a special guy like Barkley and special guy like Silas Redd. I think there's things you have to be ready to do. You have to have answers for your players if things start going the way you don't want them to go.
Q: is there anything personnel-wise that reminds you of Oregon State a little bit?
JM: No. that's not to be degrading to Oregon State. I said going into that game that I thought they're a really good football team. Their quarterback was a good QB. He's since been replaced. I'm not certain that Matt Barkley's about to get benched. Matt Barkley is a Heisman Trophy candidate. That caliber of receivers is as high as you can get in America in my opinion. This is the best group of receivers… maybe… people say I may be overstating this… I watched the film all week. It's as good as you find in college football. I put it up against any of all time. Michael Irvin won't want to hear me saying that, but I put it up against any of all time.
Q: you've been kind of downplaying this whole crosstown rivalry. Why is that?
JM: why… because I think it is important.. In order to build consistency amongst your football team, to treat every game as the most important game that week. I don't believe in looking ahead. I think if you look ahead and you discount the team that you're getting ready to play. You take your eye off the ball. And so now that this week is here, this is the most important game we'll play.
Q: There's got to be an additional emphasis in beating USC.
JM: Why? We want to win every game. Our goal is to come out every Saturday and beat the team that we're playing and this week is no different.
JM: I've got nothing to do with that. My job is to coach the football team. All that stuff is periphery stuff. I've told you guys many many times. I focus on what matters and what matters is that we play good football on Saturday.
Q: what do you think of this USC defense?
JM: I think they're good. I've worked with Monte for a year. He's had a tremendous impact on me. And on my philosophies on defense. Especially at the NFL level. I think they're athletic. I think they play hard. I think it's the best front that we faced all year from a skills standpoint. I think that TJ McDonald is certainly, if not the best safety in the country, one of the best safeties in the country. I think they're really, really talented.
Q: some of the weaknesses all year have been the turnovers and penalties. Is that something you'll try to exploit?
JM: for us and for them?
Q: Their weaknesses has been turnovers and penalties.
JM: so have ours. So we're working on making sure that we eliminate penalties and eliminate turnovers. I don't think you can ever exploit another team's penalties. First of all, some of the penalties that are called are penalties and some are not penalties. Every week you concentrate on taking care of the football and taking the football away every week. That never changes.
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