Nov. 14, 2005
San Francisco, Calif. - Stanford football head coach Walt Harris along with Cardinal players Trent Edwards, Julian Jenkins, Babatunde Oshinowo and Timi Wusu appeared during a Big Game Press Conference held at Paxti's Restaurant on Monday. Here's some of what members of the group had to say in advance of the 108th Big Game between Stanford (5-4, 4-3 Pac-10) and California (6-4, 3-4 Pac-10) at Stanford Stadium this Saturday, November 19 (4:00 pm, PST) to be televised live to a West Coast audience 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 one more victory in its final two contests to become bowl eligible after a hard-fought 20-17 win at Oregon State last Saturday. California is already bowl eligible but has dropped four of its last five games after opening the season with five straight victories. California has won three straight Big Games after Stanford had previously won seven in a row over the Golden Bears.
A Stanford victory would not only make the Cardinal bowl eligible but also give Stanford sole possession of fourth-place in the Pac-10, while a California win would leave the two teams tied for fourth with Oregon State and Arizona State needing victories in their respective final Pac-10 game to join the clubs in a fourth-place tie in that scenario.
HEAD COACH WALT HARRIS
On Stanford's senior class
"I can't tell you enough about what our seniors have done, because you can't do it without the seniors. If the seniors haven't bought in, then it's not going to work. We've had some great senior leadership. You can feel it on the practice field, you can feel it in the locker room. I felt it in the pre-game meal last week. There was an intensity and excitement that we have to have in order to have a chance [to win]. Whatever success we've had, it's because of the great leadership of our seniors. I'm really proud of what our team has done so far."
On the Stanford-Cal rivalry
"These are two great institutions. We have a lot of mixed families ... I'm sure there is a lot of inter-fighting and inter-rivalry within the homes, so that adds to this game. Once again, we're excited."
More on the Stanford-Cal rivalry
"It's pretty hard to not pay attention to the Big Game. You can't help but be focused and excited about the Big Game. What you have to have to have a rivalry is good football teams and lately Cal's been the good football team and Stanford has not been the good football team. You can't have a rivalry when one team is winning all the games; that's not a rivalry. It's up to us to make it a rivalry, and the way you do that is win once in a while."
On having a chance to get a sixth win and become bowl eligible
"We've been stuck on four wins the last couple of years, so it was a great feeling to get that fifth win [last Saturday at Oregon State]. It gets us a little closer to our goal of getting that sixth win and becoming bowl eligible. It is a feeling that we haven't had in a long time, and we're excited to have that chance to get that sixth win."
On handling the hype of the Big Game
"It's definitely a different atmosphere. You can't approach it like any other game. Stanford Stadium is going to be full. There's going to be a lot of things on campus going on during the week. That's part of the territory. But coach Harris has been in situations like this and coached in games like this. He knows how to handle players and prepare them for big games like this. We have a lot of confidence in him, and he has a lot of confidence in us."
On being in a position to become bowl eligible
"It's exciting to be in a situation like this. We learned a lot from that UC Davis loss. We learned that any team can beat any team on any given day, and you have to come ready to play regardless of the opponent. We learned a lot from that and have taken that mindset into a lot of our games. That has allowed us to compete with some very tough Pac-10 opponents. We've used that lesson we learned to our advantage."
More on being in a position to become bowl eligible
"I'm not surprised that we're in contention for a bowl game. Coach Harris has done a great job getting guys to buy into the program."
On his preparation for this Saturday's Big Game
"I'm just looking forward to practicing each day this week and getting ready for the game."
On trying to beat Cal for the first time since he's been at Stanford
"We haven't beat Cal [since I've been at Stanford], and that's very unfortunate. It is the Big Game, and there's a lot of hype around it. It's our rivalry game, and I'm excited."