Below is the transcript from Jon Embree's weekly press conference on Oct. 16, 2012.
"As far as last week's game, disappointed with the outcome. It felt like we put ourselves in position; obviously the second half kickoff, and how we played offensively in the second half didn't help us. I thought our fans were tremendous, I heard a great response from our recruits that watched the game and had seen all the people out there and really being into the game and helping us. Now we go on the road and play a great USC team, preseason No. 1 team, talented all of the way across the board. Obviously, when you start talking about them, you start on the offensive side with Matt Barkley, he is probably going to be the first guy picked next year in the draft. Then he has got two great receivers, game changers out there, with [Robert] Woods and [Marqise] Lee that are tremendous talents. They picked up the guy from Penn State, that gives them the tailback to match their talent on the edge. Defensively, we have our work cut out for us; we have to do a good job of tackling and covering. Know that they will find as many ways as they can to get the ball out there to those guys and let them try to make plays. Their defense is very good on the front four. They do a good job of just getting pressure with their front four, and their linebackers are very active and athletic; 10 and 18, [Dion] Bailey (No. 18) and [Hayes] Pullard (No. 10) are two very good players, and then on the back end, they have [T.J.] McDonald; and [Nickell] Robey at corner, who I really like a lot, I thought he was a very good player last year and he got even better. He is a corner that is really physical, and likes to get after you; he does a good job of coverage. Then McDonald is the safety, big hitter, a lot like his father was, he is a great player. So that is the USC Trojans."
On His Defense Against Arizona State
"Just concentration. We were in man coverage, I think in three of them that were critical situations, two were touchdowns and one was a big third down that they converted and they ended up scoring on, and that was man coverage. So it was guys just not covering their man."
On The Perceptions Of The USC Game
"I don't really worry about that, I really don't. I mean it doesn't change how you prepare, you have to go out and prepare and do everything that you would normally. Like I said, I don't read the papers or any of that stuff so, it doesn't affect me, and as coaches, we have to be positive on the field, do a good job of leading them and prepare them and then go on out and play the game."
On USC QB Matt Barkley
"First off, I think he is good with his decisions. He is accurate with the ball. He has had some drops this year that has hurt him, but he is good with the ball, he does a good job of understanding coverages. So when you are in zone, or you are trying to mix or hold them, he is still good with getting rid of it. He can make all the throws, he has a strong arm, he can go across the field. I think he has a very good touch on the deep ball."
On Getting His Young Team Ready
"You just go out and prepare. Any time you go on the road, in this conference really; we are going to two of the most hostile environments you can go to in this conference, the [Los Angeles Memorial] Coliseum and up there in Oregon. We are going to get two weeks at it, but if you just go out, prepare and play, you have to just focus on the play, and your job and assignment. I think if you ask most athletes, generally the venue isn't the issue, and the good thing about our corners is that knowing shouldn't be a factor. It would be different if you have young guys trying to deal with snap counts and all those kind of things. We just have to be good at communicating on the back end if they motion it to the stack or something and we want to play a three-over-two or something like that. We just need to communicate what the coverage is going to be. That will be the main thing for those guys and I am sure that they are excited about it, I mean this is why they came here, for the opportunity to play against the talent they have been able to play against and have an opportunity to play early. This is just they next step in that process for them."
On Elaborating On Matt Barkley
"Him and Luck to me are very similar, from the standpoint of when you say, 'Rank the quarterbacks we've played against in this conference.' He has some swagger about him that Luck had, it was a quiet confidence, very selfless player from the standpoint that he is always talking about his teammates. He doesn't get down on the guys, he helps lift them up when they make a mistake. He is very encouraging; the right kind of leader you want at that kind of position. I am glad this is it, I am glad he is leaving; has to now."
"It has just been unfortunate, it has, that we have had to deal with this. I am one of those guys that it evens out at some point. I feel bad for the players that are missing, like Ray Polk, it is his senior year and he is missing his senior year due to injury. [Doug] Rippy has missed a lot of time due to injury, those guys I feel really bad for. The other guys that we have had, that have been missing, hopefully they will be coming back. But it is the nature of the game, it is a violent game, it happens. But like I said, it will even out for us at some point-we are going to go and have the same starting lineup for every game."
On Injuries In Non-Contact Drills
"High ankle sprains, you can't worry about, concussions and stuff like that, that has happened. When a guy tweaks his foot, planted it wrong, those things you cannot control, so it is unfortunate. I think we have had one ACL that was contact, that was Terrance Crowder, but he isn't playing this year obviously. Paul Richardson was running three quarters speed, and blows out his knee. It is just unfortunate but like I said, it is part of the game, and it will even out for us at some point."
On Keeping The USC Wide Receivers In Check
"Well to keep them in check, don't let them play. You are not going to keep them in check, if you worked and stopped one, the other one can hurt you. They both have really good size, they are physical, and they have game changing speed. The other thing I like about the two of them is that they are aggressive at attacking the football when it is in the air, so they catch the ball with their hands. Sometimes you get fast guys who it has got to be thrown right to them, and with these two guys it doesn't happen that way. They are aggressive if the football is in the air, they are not afraid to go inside or across the middle, or go shallow, they are not afraid to go inside and block. I think they both do a good job of blocking also, they play a key role in the run game, and they do a good job. Sometimes they are asked to block defensive ends and they will come in and do that. They have really worked hard to become complete players, you can see that aspect of their game from one year to the next."
On DB Parker Orms
"It's good to have Parker out there every game. He is smart; he does a good job of helping the young guys get lined up. He is more of a safety type so now that gives us the flexibility. We have been playing, basically, nickel teams, so he has had to move around. He is really physical, he is not afraid, that is part of the reason he hasn't been healthy his entire career, he is really physical, he throws his body around without regard for it, which is good to have in that element position that he plays in the defensive backfield. It is good to have him because he is a really smart player, very instinctive, he is generally around the football a lot, whether that is making the tackle or picking up the ball or tipping a pass. It is good to have him out there."
On Developing Players
"There is a process that you need to do, you have to be patient, you have to get players and they can help you climb that ladder. You have to do a good job of developing players, and then you have to get some guys that maybe they don't take and they turn out to be better than the guys that do take. So you have to have a little bit of all that kind of happening to give yourself that chance. There is no doubt that there are some programs that have it rolling as you say. But the weird thing about college football is that it is cyclical, you just have to continue to develop your players, continue to recruit, you get guys and they fit what you want to do and then just keep building it. As you get past the first three or four schools in front of you, you just keep climbing that ladder until you are at that position to where you can have the same caliber players as USC, so to speak, and then you focus on them. And that was something I thought Coach Mac (Bill McCartney) obviously did a great job of. I remember hosting some key guys as a player here that he brought in on recruiting trips that were game changers or improved us to the point that allowed us to take the next step. Hosting those players and understanding the importance of us getting them, and that we were able to get those guys, then them in turn doing the same things. Then you looked up and Colorado had players like, those other programs had at that time, like Oklahoma, and Nebraska and our players were every bit as good as they were. But obviously you are not going to have those guys lining up to come play for you right now, but you keep recruiting those guys and you just keep getting better and then you keep taking your shot at those guys and eventually you start getting them."
On WR Gerald Thomas' Improvements
"I wasn't around much early in the summer, we are not allowed to have contact with them. So I don't know what he is like in the summer. As far as camp, he got a little worn down, the bye came at the right time, but I thought early in the season, he was playing really fast. He is another guy that is aggressive with the football when it is in the air, he is not afraid to go across the middle. He can be that guy, when we get P-Rich (Paul Richardson) back, Jeff Thomas back, you have some guys that give you a little bit different feel out there on the perimeter as far as guys that can make a guy miss and go a long ways. He is getting a little more confident with that, he has a good feel for the offense, he doesn't make a lot of mental mistakes. I think he had one on Saturday, which is pretty good considering all that he is asked to do. I think he does a good job of understanding the game plan of what he is asked to do. We try to give him the ball on reverses and sweeps and all of that, but sometimes it is just not there when we call it, so we have to check out of it. But he is the guy that we try to get the ball and get him in space and give him the opportunity to do something."
On Changing The Offense
"Well you can't do too much different because you are in the middle of it (the season) obviously. In the offseason, that is our top priority of getting that fixed, we have to run the football and that has been the biggest issue with me as far as what we have done from an offensive standpoint. Our lack of production is the fact that we are not able to run the football. I think we have had three times where it was fourth and one and we couldn't get it running the football. We have to be able to do that, and it will be examined thoroughly. I've already started that process but it will be something that we do as a staff. That will be addressed during the recruiting process, there is that dead period in December so that will be addressed and discussed in the direction that we need to go."
On Any Ideas For The Second Half Of This Season
"Yes, some possibly. Again some of it is personnel too. You have some ideas but you don't have the people, or if your people don't fit that, you can't do it. But there are some things that we will keep trying to mix in and do and see if that can help us."
On Establishing An Identity
"I don't feel like we have established that due to the offensive side of the football from running. We just, we haven't run the football like we want. Defensively, I think we are heading in the right way from the standpoint of scheme. Obviously, we haven't been able to do a lot of things I have envisioned us doing just because youth or injuries. You have to make sure guys at least have an idea of what they are doing when they are out there; we haven't been able to do it on that side. Last year, it seemed like most of the injuries were on the defensive side, and now obviously we are playing six guys that are freshman on that side. I just want them to be able to line up and tackle, and be in the right gap when you are on the D-line. I think the pieces are there from a personnel standpoint on that side, to go the direction that we need to go."
On Recruiting in California
"One of the schools you mentioned, all of their guys go to USC, and it doesn't matter. It is a good opportunity. We got 10 kids last year out of the state of Colorado that we signed, I do not know how many we have committed now from there, and there is a few more that are close. It is always good to go out there and play at home, and that is one of the things of being in this conference, is knowing you are going back out and playing in L.A. or in the Bay Area every year so that kids can learn more about your program. Any time a team is out there whether that is men's basketball or soccer, every time Colorado is out there, that is huge because we have a lot of alumni out there and we get a lot of kids from our general student population from out there. It is a win-win."
On Recruits Bad Impressions
"You just have to explain to them that sometimes - just the different things that are going on in your program - how they fit. They need to understand that we are not instant oatmeal; we are not just adding water and going. So if that is what they are looking for then this is not the place for them. If they want to be apart of something special and help build something, if they want to be somewhere where they can get a great education, they will continue to be a Buff, those are the things we talk about. Whether it is position specific to how they fit, the different things that guys maybe at their position are doing and how that fits their skill set, I think you have to talk to each of them; each kid is different about that. A lot of them do what their roles are going to be, a lot of them chose to come here because they will have the opportunity to play early. We went heavy on offensive line, we got some guys on the edge and the perimeter with some receivers, obviously they see the opportunity to play early next year, and recruiting some linebackers because we are losing some. Something I ask, 'Is it your dream to play college football, or watch someone else do it?' If you are one of those that wants to stand in line and wait a couple years, if that's what you want, great. If you want a chance to play early and be apart of something special then you will come here. I dreamed of playing college football, I didn't dream of watching anyone else play."
On Injury Updates
"I thought Chidera [Uzo-Diribe] was okay (in the ASU game), I don't know where he is at. [Ray] Polk, he practiced last week and then just didn't get any better. I like to get a feel for guys after a Thursday practice. Christian [Powell], we will see today where he is at. [Doug] Rippy, I thought he played okay. I thought he was limping at times but I thought he played okay, he ran around decent. Hopefully, he will be better this week. He still has swelling. He is nowhere close to 100 percent. Again, that is a guy as the clock is running, you have to go play."
On An Update on LB Brady Daigh's Injury
"Brady is fine. He was with us Sunday at practice. He didn't participate in practice, I don't think he will participate in practice today either, but he should be good to go. He just has soreness. The MRI, CAT-Scan, whatever, all that stuff came back good, so he is fine."
On Being 41-Point Underdogs Against USC
"Well [Sports Information Director] Dave [Plati] had just mentioned that to me when I got here. That was news to me. Again, I don't pay attention to that. But I am sure that will help the players be motivated, but again, you have to prepare in a certain way if you are going to go out and win any game, and it is important that we have a great practice today and that is all we can control. We can't control anything else and so it is important we have a good practice today. I thought Sunday was a good first step. Yesterday, a bunch of guys watched some tape. That is where it is, and go out there and go play. Let's see what happens."
On His Birthday Being Yesterday
"To me, it is just being able to be around my family and the players; they are an extension of the family. Just being blessed, being healthy and being able to do what I do, everyday feels great."
On If Los Angeles Should Have A NFL Team
"Yeah, the problem is, where? I played for the L.A. Rams, but we were down in Disneyland, Anaheim. I think USC finally has control over the coliseum now. I think it would be nice to have an NFL team."
On His Roots In Los Angeles
"It is kind of like a second home, obviously coaching at UCLA, I lived out there. I spent a lot of time out there with family, and then played there. So it is kind of like a second home for me, Los Angeles. "