Nov. 21, 2005
Stanford, Calif. - Stanford football head coach Walt Harris along with Cardinal players Babatunde Oshinowo and Matt Traverso addressed the media during the weekly Stanford Football Press Conference on Monday. Here's some of what members of the trio had to say in advance of the final game at Stanford Stadium between Stanford (5-5, 4-4 Pac-10) and No. 6 Notre Dame (8-2) this Saturday, November 26 (5:00 pm, PST).
The game will be televised live to most of the nation by ABC. An audio broadcast can also be heard on Stanford flagship station KNEW 910 AM, the Stanford radio network and via the internet from a gostanford.com link.
Stanford needs a victory Saturday to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2001. Notre Dame has won four in a row and is looking to secure a spot in a BCS bowl.
HEAD COACH WALT HARRIS
On Stanford's preparation for the Notre Dame game this Saturday
"Our young men have got to step up and rise to the level of competition to give us a chance [to win]. We're working as a coaching staff to come up with a plan that will give our players a chance to be successful."
On Notre Dame
"We're getting ready to play a Notre Dame team that's in the Top 10 nationally. They've had a good year and have excellent football players. They're very confident."
On whether Stanford can recruit the players necessary to compete with the likes of Notre Dame
"I hope we can; that's why I'm here. We think it's possible. We have a tremendous school; we just have to do all the things to get our program to be more attractive. It just can't be the school. Hopefully, some of those things are going on."
On last Saturday's loss to California
"Our defense played well enough to keep us in the game. Unfortunately, we didn't have the ability to get it done on offense."
On Stanford's season to this point
"We've had some tough times, but we've also had some good times even though last week wasn't one of those good times. There are about three teams in this league that are ahead of everyone else physically. But, I've looked at our final standings in the Pac-10 and where we going to end up, and that's an improvement from where a lot of people thought we would finish."
On Stanford being excited to play Saturday
"I don't think our team will have any problem getting excited about playing the last game of the regular season, the last regular season game for our seniors and the last game ever at Stanford Stadium. It's an opportunity for us to go out and play together and bounce back from a sub-par performance for our team. There are a lot of reasons for us to hit the practice field and be excited about a challenge. But, the bottom line is that we have to perform well and execute in order to be competitive."
On Stanford being able to bounce back from tough losses this season
"It's a credit to the character of the young men that go to school here and a direct result of how much they put into it. I also believe it's the leadership provided by our seniors. We're probably tighter than most football teams both on and off the field because of the uniqueness of a smaller campus and the common bond that the student-athletes have here."
On what his first season at Stanford has been like to this point
"There's going to be highs and lows, because you are trying to instill a new program ... When you step away from it and look at it philosophically, you can say there are going to be highs and lows. I was very excited about some of our highs this year, and I probably didn't expect some of them. But, I probably also didn't expect some of our lows. Once you get into the season, you're a competitor and you're doing what you can as a coach to give your team a chance to win, so the lows hurt you more."
On being able to bounce back from the Big Game loss to California
"We have to approach it the same way we've approached all of the downs we've had this season. We just have to think about starting to get ready for the next game. With this being our last regular season game, this [the Notre Dame game] is really just a one-game season for us. It's very easy to get focused for that."
On the team's loss against California
"I really can't say for sure [why we didn't play well against Cal]. Defensively, we started pretty well and played decently in the second half. The final score didn't really indicate how we felt we played. It was frustrating how the game turned out. But, if there's one thing I've learned from my time here at Stanford it's how to recover from frustration like that. We did a pretty good job of that earlier this season, and we're going to try to do that with this last regular season game."
On his senior year to this point
"This season has been very unique. It's been different for me personally than any other season I've played football. Growing up in high school and early on here, the teams I've been on have struggled. This year has been the first year in a long time that I've had nothing but positive feelings about what is going on ... I've felt good this season, and I've improved as a player this season. I just want to go into this last regular season game and give it everything I have. That's all there is to do; that's all I have left in terms of my regular season career at Stanford, and I want to go out on a good note."
On Notre Dame
"They're definitely well-coached. They execute very well and are very efficient in the passing game ... It's exciting to play them, especially being from the Midwest. I still have people that tell me I was crazy for not going to Notre Dame."
On his feelings going into the team's last regular season game
"It's as if there's nothing else. It's as if we started the season today. There's nothing else going on, school's not even in session this week. All the past is gone for me right now. It's just about this game we have on Saturday, and that's really refreshing. I'm excited about this week and getting ready to finish my career."
On thinking about reaching a bowl game
"All we can do is prepare for this game. Thinking about bowl games doesn't help you win [the current game]."
On the emotions he expects to feel this Saturday
"We've been told that 10 days after the final game, Stanford Stadium is going to be gone and that kind of produced some nostalgic feelings [thinking about] the first time I was there to all the things we have done in that stadium. Knowing that after a little more than a week, the stadium is going to be gone completely, makes this last game a little more special. It really does. Not just for us the senior class, but for all the Alumni that are going to be at the game ... All of the great things that have happened there and this is the last event in that stadium ... it will definitely be an emotional game, and it should be."
On his feelings after the Big Game loss to California
"I thought about it all night afterwards and then Sunday when we were here watching the film. It's been frustrating because we've been really inconsistent all year [on offense]. We haven't had many games in a row where we have protected the passer well. It's frustrating, but we just have to put it behind us at this point."
On the team's chances against Notre Dame this Saturday
"Anyone can beat anyone on a given day. You have to go out there and play your heart out, because that's all you can do."