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Gene Chizik's Press Conference

Co-Defensive Coordinator Gene Chizik
On Matt Leinart:

He's a product of great system. He's got great players to surround him, and he's very intelligent, he's not going to get in to situations that aren't good. He's also going to get himself out of situations that are bad. That just comes with a lot of experience, which he's had. I think it is all those things combined that make him as effective as he is.

On Reggie Bush: He reminds me of Carnell Williams.  He's probably a step faster when he gets out in the open field. I think that's what separates him from other backs. He has a really nice element of power to him. I think people are take so taken with his speed they don't realize his power. He has that cut back ability when he gets out in the open. He's a wideout, he's a running back, he's a fullback, you know, he's catch me if you can.

On overrunning plays: People that do have good team speed, that's what happens to them. That's what we've been preaching and that's what we've been trying to work on. We feel like we are going to get people around the ball, it's just about getting the right angles. Somebody is going to miss a tackle, but if you miss a tackle correctly, you get some help from your friends. If you don't, then it could be a big play and that's what we don't want.

On Monte Kiffin: I just kind of barged in the door and just hung around.  He was just really giving with practice tapes and very forthcoming with information. Just over the year he just kind of accepted that I was around and I wasn't leaving.  I think I took a lot of things away from that, that I incorporate everyday like tackling angles. I think people always try to make the game really complicated, and he tries to make it really simple. In every game it's really going to come down to your tackling and being physical and not making mistakes.

On changes in USC's offense: I think there is a lot of carry over from what they did then to now.  If you think about it, here's Matt Leinart who's gone two years with that offensive game plan, so you can't come in and change a lot. Plus the whole system is in place. It's changed some, but it still has a lot of the same qualities as before.

They do such a great job of making everything very quick. Getting the ball out of his hands very fast. There are just not very many people that get to him. On their drop back game, if you got a chance to get to him, it's not easy to do with four men. They do a great job with there protection.

The do a great job of trying to out-formation you and get you into mismatches. They're all over the place and do a great job of that and we are expecting it.

On seeing Matt Leinart in 2003: In 2003, the last time I faced them, was Matt Leinart's first game and Reggie Bush was a true freshman. To see their growth has been tremendous. To see Leinart's growth at quarterback, maturing and understanding the offense better and Reggie maturing also. Again their offensive line is a huge part of that. They are very big and very physical. So you can see the whole thing has been developing and they just keep getting better.  

You have a lot of recall of what you did and didn't like. You go back and look at your notes of what you did good and what you did bad. So you have a better starting point, when you start planning for a game like this.

It was his first start in a very hostile environment, he really managed the game well and controlled the game well, and he's been doing it ever since.  You can see he never got himself in bad situations, he wasn't willing to take sacks, got the ball out quick.  He was just a great team manager.

On the Texas game plan: You have to be careful when you have a month off, because you can become a mad scientist. You've got to make sure you do what you do and you are who you are.

On coaching at Texas: I left Auburn, because I think The University of Texas is the best job in the country. Mack Brown is the best head coach in the country. It's a treat to be able to work for a man like that, with such an unbelievable record. You come to crossroads in your career and you have to be able to make decisions and I thought that was the best one for my family and myself.

On his 25-game winning streak: I haven't thought much about it. It's been mentioned a couple of times, but when you are in the forest looking up you can't see much. Just trying to win another game. I remember the last game I lost, but I don't think about it much.

On the game: I think we have two talented football teams. And talent-wise, it's going to be really even.  We just have to do what we do and not try and reinvent the wheel.

On his defensive philosophy: My philosophy is you can't play defense anywhere without being physical and without playing with a mentality that is not a nice one. The first thing we talked about the first week I was here, was we are going to be physical, and if you can't be that you won't be playing.