Oct. 31, 2005
Stanford, Calif. - Stanford football head coach Walt Harris along with Cardinal players Nick Frank and Julian Jenkins 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 (4-3, 3-2 Pac-10) and No. 1 USC (8-0, 5-0 Pac-10) at the Los Angeles Coliseum this Saturday, November 5 (7:00 pm, PST). Saturday's contest will be televised live nationally by TBS. 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 had a three-game win streak, its longest since 2001, snapped with a heartbreaking 30-27 overtime loss to No. 8 and still unbeaten and then No. 8 UCLA at Stanford Stadium last Saturday. USC steamrolled Washington State last Saturday, 55-13, to win its 30th straight game overall.
Stanford is currently tied for fourth-place in the Pac-10 with California while USC and UCLA share the top spot in the conference standings.
HEAD COACH WALT HARRIS
On the loss to UCLA last Saturday and this week's opponent USC
"Last week [the UCLA loss] was very disheartening to our team and our football coaching staff, and I'm sure our fans. We have improved, which is the most gratifying thing, but we haven't found a way to finish. We're really disappointed in ourselves, and we have no one to blame but ourselves. But, that's last week, and now we move on to play against another undefeated football team [USC], who I think is one of the most outstanding teams that I've been able to watch. They are potent like maybe no other team I have ever seen. It's impressive."
On USC head coach Pete Carroll
"He's done a great job, and on a personal note, I'm very excited about all the things he's accomplished. He's a great guy and a great competitor."
"We have a lot of athletes to face. The quarterback [Matt Leinart] is the key guy. He's well schooled and has had a great career. They have skill, a great scheme on offense and great backs, but what really makes them tick is a great offensive line. Defensively, they're probably not as well known because they have some new starters, but they have some athletes with good size, and tremendous speed and quickness."
On what it's like to have to play two unbeaten teams in back-to-back weeks
"You can't spend too much time feeling sorry for yourself, and honestly it's a great opportunity, too. Everyone knows what a great challenge it is, but it's also a great opportunity. We have a chance to play, in my opinion, the best team in America for the past couple of years. We're going to give it our best shot. It's going to be very exciting. I love playing in the Coliseum, and I'm playing against someone [USC head coach Pete Carroll] that I respect and really care for. It doesn't get any better."
On the Stanford sideline during UCLA's fourth quarter comeback last Saturday
"I don't think we relaxed. It might possibly have been the other way - we restricted. Our kids are smart, they've been there before. We just let some plays go by. Some plays were not executed."
On the goals of Stanford Football
"I was excited that we could prove enough to play to that level [versus UCLA], but we didn't win it. All the hard work, all the hard play doesn't matter. It doesn't matter, because we're not in it to play well and lose. We're in it to win. Stanford wins. It wins in almost every other sport. It wins when they graduate. It wins with the Alumni, and we need to win. We're not satisfied, and we're upset with ourselves, and we've got to do something about it."
On being in the position to win late in the game
"I hope in the last four games, we get in that position again. That means we will get another shot at proving to ourselves that we can do it."
On USC quarterback Matt Leinart
"This guy is really a good football player. I tell our quarterbacks you need to watch him operate. He really is well coached. You can see his feet go right through the progression. He gets on line to make his throws. They have a very complex scheme in terms of multiplicity in what they do, and he runs the show."
On the turnover game and penalty situation against UCLA
"UCLA was the third-ranked team in the nation in terms of turnover ratio, and we got two turnovers. We could have maybe had five if we were just a little bit better. That's a great credit to our defensive guys, and then our offense knocked it in. That was the winning edge, [but] the losing edge were the penalties. We had three offensive penalties that killed three drives, and we had numerous defensive penalties that were unfortunate."
On the play of J.R. Lemon against UCLA
"It was great to see J.R. out there and running hard, and playing like he can."
On the play of Nick Frank against UCLA
"I think Nick really stepped up as a runner, and I don't think they wanted to tackle him. There were some guys that felt like `I won't hit him very hard', because he will hit me back."
On trying to put the UCLA game out of his mind
"I'm doing the best I can with it. It's really important for us as a team to move on, and it's really important for me to put that behind us. There's no use worrying about it now."
On UCLA's comeback victory last Saturday
"That team is 8-0 because of games like that. We're not the first team that they did that to, but we still let it get away regardless."
On his receiving skills
"I just try to help out the offense as much as I can with receiving. A lot of my routes are just safety valves for [quarterback] Trent [Edwards]. If he can find me, great, but I don't really consider myself a receiver. I'm glad I can help the offense out some times."
On the team learning how to finish
"[We can learn how to finish] by being in that same situation and pulling it out. I would hope we learn quickly. We know what's needed to do it, but there's a big difference between that and actually getting it done. The only way to pull confidence is actually to do something and get more confident with it. It's about will at that point. As a team we have to come together to find some how, some way to pull it out."
On being able to be emotionally ready for USC
"The seniors on this team are great leaders, and I don't think they are going to let us slip away. I think we're really going to come together and be the same team, or hopefully better, when we take the field Saturday."
On how to pick yourself up after the UCLA loss and get ready for the USC game
"We watched film [of the UCLA game] on Sunday and then you close the chapter. You turn the page and already start watching film on USC today. We're getting ready to play USC. We know they're a great team, but we know we'll be ready by the time the game starts."
On how to shut out thoughts of the UCLA game
"It was kind of hard yesterday. You keep watching it and you keep reliving those moments where you know that you could have done better, or you know that you could have made a certain play. But, you can't look back, that's over with. `Coulda, shouda' won't get you anywhere ... We have to look forward to the USC game now."
On the approach of getting over UCLA and preparing for USC
"I was mad [about the UCLA game], but you can't be mad too long. You've got to flip the switch. That's the whole mindset."
On the success of other Stanford teams
"It's definitely something to look up to ... everybody's winning. It's something to be jealous of and look forward to, that you were recruited to come to Stanford and this is Home of Champions, and why shouldn't you by a champion."
On the opportunity to play USC
"They're the world champions, they're the No. 1 team in the country right now for two years running. It's a great opportunity for us. I'm really excited for this game right now. It's going to be a great game."
On this week's preparation for USC
"We're going to practice like we're going to win this week. Every week practice is getting more intense. We do more tackling, get more physical and pay more attention to detail as the season goes on."