Nov. 7, 2006
Stanford, Calif. - Stanford football head coach Walt Harris, along with players Erik Lorig and Pannel Egboh addressed the media Tuesday at the weekly Stanford Football Press Conference held on the Stanford campus.
Stanford (0-9, 0-6 Pac-10) travels to Washington (4-6, 2-5 Pac-10) at Husky Stadium this Saturday, November 11 (12:30 pm, PT). The game will not be televised. Stanford's audio account of the contest featuring Ted Robinson and Bob Murphy can be heard live on KNBR 1050 AM and from a Yahoo Sports! link at gostanford.com.
Here's some of what coach Harris and the players had to say to the media on Tuesday.
HEAD COACH WALT HARRIS
"Last week [versus USC] was a very physical football game. I thought our guys played pretty well at times. We stopped them on their first couple of drives, [but] unfortunately we didn't execute on a couple of third downs, which made it difficult. I thought we came out and tried to battle as best we could. They are obviously a good football team, and they did what they had to do and didn't turn the football over. As for this week, we have a game on the road in a tough environment against a good football coach who is building his program. They had a lot of success early, but they had some injuries, like us, so it's been rougher down the stretch. You are going to see two teams that are desperate to win, so hopefully we are healthy enough to make it happen."
On the offense against USC
"Of course we'd like to get in the end zone. If you examine what happened, you would see we had some chances, but didn't function well enough when we had our chances. We just have to go on and keep trying to get it accomplished."
On the positives from the offense versus USC
"At times we moved the ball well. We had a good mixture of run and pass. T.C. [Ostrander] played a lot better in this game than he did in his previous game, which is a good example of him settling into the position and also getting practice time. We have to execute better, whether it be a better call, a better read, a better rout, or better protection. Its just not one thing, it's a lot of things and in football you have to have 11 guys execute on every play. That's probably our problem more than anything else, having our 11 guys execute at the same time."
On Washington head coach Tyrone Willingham
"He's done an excellent job. When [Isaiah] Stanback was playing they were making it happen. He was a threat and a huge playmaker for them so that's a tough loss. I'm impressed with their backs and the speed of their wide outs, and their linemen have gotten better as the season went on. They keep it pretty simple because they are fairly inexperienced. I've seen their backs do well in the open field, and I've seen their receivers run by guys.
On the "X" wide receiver position
"Austin [Yancy] and Evan [Moore] will compete for that starting position. The longer Evan can go in practice, the better it helps him play the game. Evan has worked very hard to get back in practice, but football is not one of those games where you cannot practice and just show up and play well. There are too many little things required in training, and that's why it will be great for him to practice more."
On Erik Lorig
"He's improved tremendously. He got a wake up call about how challenging it is. He has learned that it takes a lot of focus and energy to try to understand. He's still a [redshirt] freshman, so it's only going to get better, along with a lot of the other guys. He plays hard and football is really important to him. His tempo on the practice field and the game field is as good as we've got."
On the defensive line
"We haven't been as good as we wanted to be in the run game. But this past game we held a very good running team [USC] to 108 yards. We saw that our gap integrity was good as a defensive line. Most defensive lines have really gotten knocked around by USC, but as a defensive line we held our own. So we definitely want to build on this and keep Washington's run game under control."
On the blocked field goal versus USC
"It's a pretty big problem. It's all about recognizing what your supposed to do in those situations. Rather than let him run up the sideline I should have taken the sideline away, making him cut back. That would have given a chance for other guys trailing behind me to come make a play. It's all about recognizing the situation and being able to adjust."
On staying positive
"It's been a rough season for us. We are trying to stay positive about this whole situation. You can sit and pout about what's been going on, or you can stay positive and try to build on what you did the previous week and get better, which is what we are doing."
On the possible poor weather conditions expected for the Washington game
"I've never played in conditions like that, so it's going to be a new experience for me. It's definitely going to be a brawl. You have to get down and dirty in that kind of environment, so it should be interesting. I'm looking forward to it."
On progressing through the year
"A lot of that has to do with experience and learning the offense. Earlier in the season I was a few steps behind the offense and what the offense planned to do. Slowly, I became more familiar with the system and the terminology. Now, playing the position I do on the offense, fullback and tight end, I do a lot of interior work, and I am personally trying to make holes."
On offensive improvements
"I am making small goals, looking at little things. As an offense we would like to be getting better and getting more yards. At this point I am trying to build myself up in small areas, trying to accomplish little things and by the end of that hopefully we will see the results we want to."
On steps to getting better
"I measure little improvements by going to practice every day and in the games. Watching film you see small areas where you need improvement, and that's what I am focusing on, the little things and how I can get better. I think that will improve the offense as a whole.
On positives he brings to the offense
"I've been able to use a lot of my power in the interior line in some of those motions and coming across the line in the misdirection plays to block the outside linebacker. I've enjoyed doing that, and that's one of the roles I've had on offense so far."
On building for next year
"At this point we have accomplished playing hard, and that is one of the most important factors of playing football. But even more important is executing, and as a team we want to play hard while executing. That is what we are looking to accomplish in the next three games, which will carry over into next season."
On the improvement of Stanford's young players
"We are all focused on getting better. As a young class we all want to individually get better for the team. I think everyone wants to improve and do better for the team."
On head coach Walt Harris' philosophy
"Coach Harris demands that you understand the entire offense at every position. Understanding the whole offense conceptually will give you the best advantage during a game."