Sunday conference call highlights

Some selected quotes from USC head coach Ed Orgeron’s Sunday night conference call following the Trojans’ 20-17 victory over Stanford.

Orgeron on the fact that a total of just 13 players saw time on defense for USC against Stanford, and whether or not that was the plan going into the contest:

“It just sort of developed as the game went on, but watching the guys on the sideline … they seemed rested. There were a couple of drives where we got gassed. We have some players that were suited best to play against a big Stanford line, especially with those two tackles at tight end, so we didn’t want to put in our lighter outside linebackers, especially against the run. And then we just felt that our guys were OK on the sideline so we [decided] we’re going to play our best players during the game, and it worked.”

On the report that came out on Sunday that USC athletic director Pat Haden recently interviewed Denver Broncos interim coach Jack Del Rio as a potential candidate for the USC head coaching position:

“That’s the first that I’ve heard about that, and I really don’t care. I know he has a job to do, and I know he’s going to go out there and interview the best guys available for USC. My focus today is really celebrating our big win against Stanford, being with our coaches, doing the best job I can for USC and focusing on Colorado. That’s all I can do, and that’s really important to me. I’d rather be in this position … being with the Trojans, than being in any other position.”

On how the Trojans performed up front on defense, as well as on offense, against the Cardinal:

“I think the defensive line did a very good job … probably the best defensive line performance we’ve had since I’ve been here. I thought it was a great defensive performance, although we [allowed] a couple of long runs … that third-down run. But as far as technique and being physical, I’m really pleased with the way our whole defense played. On the offensive side, their defense was the best defense we’ve seen in a long time. I thought our guys did a very good job in pass protection. We struggled a little bit in the run game, and we knew going in that it was going to be tough, but we got the job done.”

On the status of Leonard Williams, who fought through a shoulder injury to play the entire game versus Stanford, recording seven tackles:

“Leonard played excellent. He really did a tremendous job [for being] limited in practice for two weeks, I thought he played very, very well … I’ll talk about injuries on Tuesday. I don’t have a report from Russ [Romano], but I thought we came out of that game pretty well.”

On the performance of quarterback Cody Kessler, and how he’s progressed since Orgeron took over as interim coach:

“The thing I like about Cody … I see all the intangibles. Those are the things that impress me most. Clay [Helton] handles all of the mechanical stuff, all of the plays, and all of the checks and stuff like that, and he does a great job with it. I see him as a quarterback with moxie, a quarterback with leadership skills, a quarterback that’s close to everybody on the team, and that the team is growing in confidence with. I really think that’s important, and for him and Marqise [Lee] to make that play on fourth-and-2 really said a lot about what we think about him as a man and as a player.”

On who has reached out to Orgeron over the course of the last 24 hours to offer congratulatory messages:

“I got a text from Coach [Pete] Carroll, Rocky Seto … the guys from Seattle were really fired up about the win, and that meant a lot. Obviously, a lot of people back home, Dwayne Johnson -- The Rock … that was pretty good, on Twitter. I hadn’t heard from him in a while but he was very supportive. Just guys are coming up … Warren Sapp, Cortez Kennedy … all of the ex-players … Brian Cushing today, Kenechi Udeze, Ryan Nielsen, Marcus Allen, Anthony Munoz, on and on and on … just proud of the Trojan Family.”

On how USC has been able to overcome the team’s deficiency in terms of numbers and depth as of late -- an issue that was pointed to with great frequency earlier in the season:

“It’s a mindset. It’s who we are. We’re Trojans. I’m in for dealing with what we have, and making the best of it. Our guys have done that. They’ve stepped up. You can only put 11 on the field at one time, so we’re going to put 11 out there, and we’re going to fight, and we’re going to put the best 11 that we can … they’re going to be trained and ready to go. We have a lot of great players and great young men on this team, and they’re coming to the forefront. But you know what? They just needed to play as a team and to believe in themselves, and they’ve done that.”

On how it felt to lead the USC marching band -- The Spirit of Troy -- from atop the ladder last night following the Trojans’ victory, and what the band means to him, as well as to the team:

“It was great. When I first came here Marv Goux, the great Trojan assistant, told me, ‘Son, the band is part of the football team. They’re our heartbeat, and you treat them as such.’ And Art Bartner is just like an assistant coach here on the team. And I love that. We love the band, we love the cheerleaders, we love the crowd, we love everybody … they’re part of our family.”