Ed Orgeron conference call highlights

Some selected quotes from USC head coach Ed Orgeron’s Sunday night conference call following the Trojans’ 31-14 victory over Oregon State.

Orgeron on the improved play of the USC secondary:

“I think we learned a big lesson at Arizona State in giving up the deep ball, and Clancy [Pendergast] made some great adjustments in the secondary. And we went back to some fundamentals about staying in lead position, staying in the post, making them throw the ball in front of us, and I think some of those things have been very well taught. The play of Demetrius Wright at safety has been excellent. Moving Josh Shaw to corner ... as you know he’s a very, very good football player.”

On the strong performance of the USC offensive line against Oregon State:

“I just think that we went back to the fundamentals. When we went and played against Notre Dame, I think playing on the road ... the crowd had an effect on us, on the silent count [and] we made some mistakes. We piped in the noise. ... I think it’s the second week in a row in which they’ve played together with Max [Tuerk] at right tackle. Talking to the offense, they felt that the communication with Max and Aundrey [Walker] was where it needed to be. I thought that John [Martinez] had one of his better games. And so, I just thought that the cohesiveness of the unit for the second week in a row helped, the communication helped, we simplified the game plan, the protection was all built on us being able to not get beat one on one, and I thought Clay [Helton] did a great job with his protections.”

On USC’s nine penalties for 68 yards:

“Obviously, some of the penalties are inexcusable ... some of them we really just have to fix. Some of them are right on the cusp where our guys are playing hard, and that’s going to happen. Penalties are going to happen ... they’re not excusable, but we’re not going to take the aggressiveness away from our players. We’re going to teach them the right technique, and do the best we can with it.”

On the development of Cody Kessler since Orgeron took over as interim coach:

“Just the style in which he plays, his tenacity, his moxie, his leadership. ... He’s got some stuff to him that I really like in a quarterback -- all the intangibles. I think he was 17-of-21 with the interception that was not a good decision. But the way he runs the offense, the way he wants to win ... he’s very competitive. Our guys believe in him.”

On the Trojans’ 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive after Oregon State’s game-tying pick-six in the second quarter:

“We talked at the beginning of the week, we said, ‘Listen, they’re a good football team. They’re going to make plays. At one point in the game we’re going to face adversity. It’s going to be OK. We’ll just stick together. No matter what happens, we stick together. Know that you’re going to be prepared well, you’re going to be ready, and we can overcome any obstacle they throw at us.’ And our guys did. When Cody came to the sideline, the defense was telling them, ‘Hey, it’s OK.’ And then they responded with that 10-play drive. I think that was a turning point in our new five-game season so far.”

On the 1-2 punch that developed in the rotation at tailback with Silas Redd and Javorius Allen:

“Give the credit to Tommie Robinson. I let the guys handle their rotations ... and Tommie does a great job. Tommie is one of the best running back coaches I’ve been around. What a tremendous job he’s done.”

On what impressed Orgeron about Allen’s performance:

“The way he’s running, and slashing, and leaning, and breaking tackles, and staying upright and moving forward. ... I think he’s gaining confidence every time he touches the ball. We’re seeing things that we haven’t seen from him, really. We’ve seen some things from him in practice that we really like. As you know, Buck [Allen] was on the scout team with me for two years, so I knew [him] probably the best on the staff. But when we had a change of coaches at that running back position, Tommie came in and kept saying, ‘Hey, I really like Buck Allen.’ And you know, when a coach likes you, and a coach wants you to play, wants to give you a chance, it means a lot to a young man. Buck has a heart of gold, and he’s like a lot of players on our team, he’s a great team guy, and I’m just happy to see him have success.”

On the confidence level of the team:

“I’ll say this, I know the confidence level on the football team and the coaching staff after the game was very high ... that we could go there and beat Oregon State in a hostile environment. Now the key is for us to still take it one game at a time and make improvement. One of the best things with Coach [Pete] Carroll’s teams was they got better in the month of November, and that’s my goal with the football team, is this week for us to take the next step and get better.”

On where Orgeron’s passion for USC comes from:

“I came here in 1998. I wanted to coach here since I was 6 years old, and the opportunity to come here and coach here has been everything I ever imagined and more. I’ve been to a lot of universities and a lot of great places, and I feel that it’s the best place in the world of coaching.”