Nov. 7, 2005
Stanford, Calif. - Stanford football head coach Walt Harris along with Cardinal players Trevor Hooper and Justin McCullum addressed the media at Monday's weekly Stanford Football Press Conference. Here's some of what the trio had to say in advance of the Pac-10 contest between Stanford (4-4, 3-3 Pac-10) and Oregon State (5-4, 3-3 Pac-10) at Reser Stadium this Saturday, November 12 (3:30 pm, PST). Saturday's contest will be televised locally on Fox Sports Net Bay Area. 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 is coming off a pair of losses to unbeaten teams, beginning with a heartbreaking 30-27 overtime loss to then No. 8 UCLA on October 29 before a 51-21 defeat at No. 1 USC last Saturday. Oregon State snapped a two-game skid with an 18-10 win at Washington last Saturday.
The two teams are currently in a four-way tie for fourth-place in the Pac-10 with the Cardinal needing two more victories to become bowl eligible and the Beavers one win away.
HEAD COACH WALT HARRIS
On this week's opponent Oregon State
"We have a tough challenge this week. We're striving hard to come back from this last ballgame [versus USC]. I know we have good leadership out of our seniors, and I know our football players realize the importance of this game. We're going to go up there and play like we have to play in order to give ourselves a chance to win the game."
On Oregon State's defense
"Their defense is really stout and not many people have been able to run the football. I'm very impressed with their front seven and the way they play their scheme. They make it impossible for a lot of teams to run the ball."
On thinking about the needing two wins in its final three games to reach a bowl
"These are Stanford kids ... they can count [laughter]. They did pretty well on the math part of their SAT's as you could imagine, but my responsibility as a coach is to keep them on track. We're not the kind of team that can envision more than one game at a time, even though I think there is some credence to the fact that it's down to a three-game season. But, right now our focus has to be Oregon State. It's a tough place to play from everything I've heard. The fans get into, and that's wonderful, because that's what you're supposed to do for the home team. It adds to the challenge, but the game is really won and lost on the field. It's going to be hopefully won hopefully because we do the things you have to do to win football games instead of doing the things that we did to lose football games."
On how much weather conditions can effect a game
"My opinion about the weather is that it's the same weather on both sides of the football. But, I know we'll have to work on what we refer to as a "wet ball drill" so that we're snapping a ball that's wet. We don't want to throw a ball that's wet too much [in practice], because that's something that can wear out a quarterback's arm. We need to get the snap and hand a wet ball off. But, if the weather is not good, it's not good for both of us. That may be to their advantage, but Stanford's going up there in the past and won. We just have to take care of that part of the game. That's part of the challenge of playing on the road and playing in not very good weather."
On trying to put the UCLA game out of his mind
"Our number one focus has to be correcting any mistakes that we had last week. We definitely have things on the defensive side of the ball that we have to improve on. We need to work at that all week in practice and make practice like a game as coach Harris tells us weekly. We then need to go out there and execute against Oregon State. Every game is an important game but this is our biggest game of the season to get that win and hopefully move forward from there."
On the opportunity to reach a bowl game
"Everything we do know is geared toward that [making a bowl game]. Nothing has changed know because of the two losses in the last two weeks. Our goal is to be bowl eligible and win all of the rest of our games, but without a doubt two of our next three. We're starting this week to try to get that first win. Coach Harris is calling it a three-game season, and we're trying to go undefeated."
On his career-best game at USC last Saturday
"I think I got a lot more opportunities, and I tried to do what I was supposed to do and be in the right place at the right time."
On the team's loss at USC
"It was hard to lose and hard to lose the way we did. If we would have eliminated the turnovers, we would have had a much better game."