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Walt Harris And Stanford Players Speak At Weekly Press Conference
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 09/26/2005

Sept. 26, 2005

Stanford, Calif. - Stanford football head coach Walt Harris along with Cardinal players Michael Okwo and T.J. Rushing addressed the media at Monday's weekly Stanford Football Press Conference. Here's some of what the trio had to say. Stanford (1-1, 0-0 Pac-10) hosts Oregon (3-1, 0-0 Pac-10) at Stanford Stadium in the Pac-10 opener for both clubs this Saturday, October 1 (2:00 pm, PT). There will be no live telecast of the contest but an audio broadcast can be heard on Stanford flagship station KNEW 910 AM and via the internet on gostanford.com.

Head Coach Walt Harris
On having a week off after Stanford's 20-17 loss to UC Davis in its most recent game
"We've had a week to think about our last experience, and we're not real proud of it. We're trying to move on. Our players have worked hard this week. Hopefully, we've improved."

On this Saturday's opponent Oregon
"We have a formidable opponent in Oregon. We're up against a big, physical team on both sides of the ball. Their athletes have great speed and size. We have a tall challenge this week, and we're looking forward to our opportunity."

On what his players can take from the September 17 loss to UC Davis
"I want them to take the positive things that they can learn from that experience. Sometimes a negative experience can be positive. The sign of a good man and of a winner is someone that takes something negative and turns it into a positive. That's what we have to do."

On the availability of J.R. Lemon and Timi Wusu for this Saturday's game versus Oregon
"We are practicing both of those young men, and we are looking forward to watching what they can do. Hopefully, they'll continue to practice well and earn the right to get in the game, but it's all based on how they practice."

On the team committing just three penalties in its first two games
"It's one of the areas that we do focus on, take pride in and communicate with our players about constantly. It's one of the team goals that we have each game. Our goal is to be the least penalized team in the conference. Right now, we're doing okay."

On Oregon's offense
"Oregon is a high-scoring team. Against USC, which probably has the most talent in the United States, they had a chance to be ahead 21-0. Their quarterback (Kellen Clemens) is very efficient and effective. He throws the ball well and is good at getting away from the rush. Anytime, you have a guy that can run around back there and hurts you when he runs, it makes it very challenging for a defense. They also have some big-time receivers in guys like Demetrius Williams."

On losing each of its last three games to Oregon
"I don't think we live in the past; we live in the present. Hopefully, we're taking care of business day after day and make the most we can out of this day. We want to learn from the past but not dwell in it."

On the team's approach to its Pac-10 opener versus Oregon
"We're playing for the Pac-10 championship and this is the first opportunity for us to do that. We just have a lot of work to do and a lot of tightening up to do. But, we have good football players who care a lot and put a lot into it. We had a not so proud weekend (against UC Davis), but we're looking hard and are very motivated to change it."

T.J. Rushing


T.J. Rushing
On how the week was for him following the UC Davis loss
"It was rough without having a game this week to forget about the UC Davis game, but now we're focusing on Oregon."

On his impression of Oregon's play versus USC
"I thought they looked real good and played hard. Their offensive is going to present us with some problems. We need to be sound in our defensive assignments. Whoever has whatever job on any given play has to do that job and not try to be all over the place doing other people's jobs, because that's what gets you in trouble."

On whether the team's lack of experience in the secondary is coming into play
"I don't think so. Last year, our guys got to watch more experienced people play and learned a lot from them. You can learn a bunch in this game by watching not just playing, so I don't the lack of experience is what is hurting us."

On trying to erase the UC Davis loss and regain respect as a team
"We have something to prove now - that the UC Davis game was a fluke. It would be easy to fold up the tents and just say `we're horrible', but we don't believe that at all. We believe that we're a great football team that's going to do great things this year."

On the team's approach to its Pac-10 opener versus Oregon
"Those first two games are over with. It's time to start conference play and get this thing rolling - try to win a conference championship."

Michael Okwo


Michael Okwo
On whether the UC Davis loss is out of his system
"I think Oregon is in my system now. I'm fully into that, ready to watch a lot of film on them, and get ready for the next one."

On Stanford's recent struggles (three-game losing streak) against Oregon
"There are things to draw from with regards to last year's game and things we can improve upon. They have some of the same guys that they had last year, so we can look at that."

On the feeling you get when the defense recovers a fumble in the end zone (two versus UC Davis)
"It's really exciting to get back on the field after a play like that, because we are really thirsty for something else to swing our way. It is tiring, but it's a good feeling."


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