Sept. 12, 2006
Stanford, Calif. - Stanford football head coach Walt Harris, along with players Trevor Hooper and Anthony Kimble, addressed the media Tuesday at the weekly Stanford Football Press Conference held on the Stanford campus. Stanford (0-2) will host Navy (2-0) and celebrate the Grand Opening of the new Stanford Stadium this Saturday, September 16 (7:00 pm, PT). The game will be televised live by Fox Sports Bay Area, while the Stanford radio broadcast can be heard live on KNBR 1050 AM and from a link a link on gostanford.com.
Here's some of what coach Harris and the players had to say to the media on Tuesday.
Stanford All-Access: Stanford Football Press Conference Full Audio Coverage
HEAD COACH WALT HARRIS
"Obviously we're not excited about what happened last week [at San Jose State], nobody would be. But it was a hard fought football game. We capitalized on their mistakes, they capitalized on ours. We just made ours at the wrong time. There are obviously things we have to improve on; we're working diligently to do that. We have an unbelievable opportunity this week because we are playing in a stadium that has so much positive publicity. Last week was the first time I've been in [the stadium] since the grass has gone in and everything else has been cleaned up. It's remarkable; it's a great stadium for Stanford Football."
On this Saturday's game against Navy
"We know we have a tremendous challenge versus Navy. [Navy head coach] Paul Johnson is an outstanding coach; he's done an unbelievable job there. They're on a five-game winning streak, two this year, and they present some major problems [for us]. They are really difficult to play against defensively because of their offense, and our offense will be up against a team that is very experienced. We have a lot of things to focus on and a lot of things to be excited about. That's our challenge, to get better and make it happen on Saturday."
On Stanford's new football stadium
"We have been given the go-ahead to get in [the stadium for practice] on Thursday. I think it should reenergize us a lot; that it guarantee results, no, but when our players go in there on Thursday, they are going to have a feeling they never have had here before. I'm praying it really makes a difference in the way we execute because that's really the bottom line. I think it will be a really neat experience for them to see it empty and practice in it, and then see it on Saturday filled with fans."
On whether the Navy game is a must-win before reentering Pac-10 play
"I don't think that with the youth of our team that it would be smart on our part to put any more pressure on our players than there already is. We're just going to get ourselves ready to go, play as hard as we can, as well as we can, and we hope to get the job done."
On home field advantage
"I'm sure those words ("our house") will come out; they already have. But those are just words. Emotion is a part of it, confidence is a huge part of it, and that's all based on execution. We have to focus on what is really going to win it for us, which is being able to execute against what they present to us. I think the crowd is all required to be hoarse when the game is over. That will provide what the fans can do for us, and we will work very hard to do our part of it."
On Mark Bradford's health
"Mark Bradford's health is not good. He's out, and I don't know for how long. He could be out the whole season. It's a very devastating injury, a very freak injury, but that's unfortunately part of football. It's a ligament in his foot. It's very unfortunate for Stanford football and of course for Mark. He is in a cast and [the doctors] think that will heal it, but they can't guarantee it. My personal hurt, is, usually, when a guy really gets it right - you get prepared, get in great shape, you're a big play performer for your team and go into your senior year - you've done all this prime time stuff, and then to have it taken away from you is very difficult for everyone, mostly Mark. This is part of the adversity challenge that every football team goes through. We have to make the best of it."
On Stanford's confidence, emotion, and belief
"We're going to try and build it back up this week. In some areas [against San Jose State], we did better; some areas we didn't do as well. There were some positives. I think we ran the ball better; we came out without a sack. Defensively, I think we pursued the ball as hard as any game that we had last year. Unfortunately, they had an outstanding play made on the fact that we over-pursued, but you have to love our hustle. I think our special teams made a positive stride; they recovered a fumbled punt and they also made a play on a recovered kickoff - that was huge. I think in hindsight, we were right there to down the ball inside the five-yard line but because of our exuberance and because of our youth, I think we end up throwing it back into ourselves, and we kicked it into the end zone. But you have to love our energy and our effort and our hustle."
On Trent Edwards
"He had two times that he got tackled in a way he doesn't need to get tackled. He has to continually spend time in his approach to the game about those situations so that he can stay healthier. I think his inexperience, at times, shows up. I also think his competitiveness shows up, at times, and I think sometimes those get in the way of making a smart decision."
On Stanford's front seven getting the job done
"We're [Harris and Coach Christoff] in the process of trying to identify where we're not getting the job done and trying to make some things happen with the guards, trying to improve that, whether it be more intense coaching, more repetition coaching, or last resort is having to replace somebody or having to play somebody more."
On Stanford's defensive
"We have not had a Player of the Game, voted by our defensive staff, now for two games in a row. I think that our two secondary guys [Trevor Hooper and Brandon Harrison] really played well, unfortunately that was because they had to tackle so well. I thought they played very physical and very hard."
JUNIOR RUNNING BACK ANTHONY KIMBLE
On the new stadium
"I can't really say what it's going to be like. I haven't even seen the stadium yet, but I hope it will live up to all the hype. Last year [the students] were really excited about it; school hasn't started yet so I can't really say for now because there are not many students on campus. But we [the team] are really excited about it; it's a lot of motivation. This is a huge project, huge for the school, huge for the program. Opening the stadium is real big for us."
On Stanford's current 0-2 record
"[I feel] shock and disappointment. You never want to be 0-2, you never want to lose two games especially like we did; we got blown out in the fist one and then to lose a heartbreaker. They are both really tough games to follow."
On the need for Stanford's offensive help out the defensive
"When there are a lot of leaders, a lot of older guys on offense and then younger guys on defense, it should be our job to lead the team, pick that side of the ball up. I think we have to do a better job of that, do a better job of scoring and helping the defense whenever we can."
On stepping on the new field for the first time
"I just want to try not to let it be a distraction - that's a major thing. We don't need any distractions. We just need to go out there and be very excited about the new stadium but also be focused on playing Navy."
On Navy running a 3-4 defense
"It's very basic compared to our defense. They are a good defensive team, they have a lot of guys that I think real highly of who are real good performers. It's kind of a bend-don't-break defense because they know with their offense they will only be on defense about eight times a game. We just have to go out there and perform to the best of our ability; we had a real good offensive game against them last year. We just have to go out and play the best offensive game we can."