Oct. 10, 2005
Stanford, Calif. - Stanford football head coach Walt Harris along with Cardinal players Anthony Kimble and Nick Sanchez 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 (2-2, 1-1 Pac-10) and Arizona (1-4, 0-2 Pac-10) in Tucson, Arizona, this Saturday, October 15 (4:00 pm, MST/PDT). There will be no live telecast of the game but an audio broadcast can be heard on Stanford flagship station KNEW 910 AM and via the internet on gostanford.com.
Stanford is coming off a 24-21 win at Washington State last Saturday, while Arizona fell 42-21 to top-ranked USC.
HEAD COACH WALT HARRIS
On this week's opponent Arizona
"When you watch the tape [of last Saturday's USC-Arizona game] and you see the score 28-21 [in favor of USC], you say `Whoa'. Obviously, Arizona has good personnel on defense. They make you drive it; they don't give up hardly any big plays. Even as explosive of a team that USC is, they made them drive it. They did a really good job keeping it to 28-21 into the fourth quarter. They look like a very talented football team with a lot of athletes. Their quarterback [Richard Kovalcheck] has some good size with experience under his belt. Defensively, they are very impressive with their speed at safety and up front. They also have an outstanding punter [Danny Baugher] that's leading the nation in punting."
On Stanford's preparations for the Arizona game
"We're looking forward to getting out on the practice field and trying to recapture what we had last week, and bring it to the stadium on the road this Saturday."
On last Saturday's 24-21 win at Washington State
"We gave ourselves 12 hours to enjoy the victory [at Washington State] and then [it's time to] move on. I was really proud of our players and proud of our coaches. I was proud of our players because they were the ones that did it on the field and proud of our coaches because they gave our players a plan that they bought into. Our seniors were instrumental [in the victory] as well. We picked up our practice habits. We always have pretty good spirits [in practice], but I think we put more effort into picking up the intensity and making practice more like a game, which is one of those things that I believe in strongly/"
On the team's defense at Washington State
"Our defense got off the field and kept the ball in front other than a couple of plays."
On the team's offense at Washington State
"It was very exciting to see us run the football. We had trouble protecting the passer again, but we got better as the game went on, and we gave our quarterback the opportunity to play like we think he can play. We ran the ball with authority and had a lot of positive gains in the run game."
More on the team's offense at Washington State
"This last game was the best game on offense we've had, and it made it so much better for me as a play-caller with the help of our staff to get in the flow. We didn't have as many horrendous down and distances that we had in other games."
On the effectiveness of Stanford's rushing game at Washington State
"I think our players decided that enough is enough. The coaching staff decided a couple of weeks ago that enough is enough, but our players decided enough is enough. Our seniors had some positive influence. We were frustrated. Our offensive line has been maligned. Those guys decided that we needed to do what we needed to do."
On making practices more like a game
"I try to appeal to the players. It's kind of like a broken record, but you play like you practice. If you have a practice tempo and a game tempo, then you're really hurting your chances of being a good football player for your team. We're starting to understand that what we're asking them to do will help them win. You say, `Well, that should happen automatically', but it doesn't. If you make practice like a game, you create habits, and they're all good habits."
On the rushing of Trent Edwards at Washington State
"Trent really exemplified a lot of speed at quarterback. When he scrambles up the middle, it will help our passing because teams will have to be a little more cautious about how they rush the passer and stay in their lanes."
On the play of offensive tackle Allen Smith at Washington State
"A lot of credit has to be given to Allen and his coach John McDonnell. Allen has come a long ways to play in a Pac-10 game as a redshirt freshman. He did a nice job against two really good rushers on the edge. We're excited that he came through; that gives us more options."
On the play of center Tim Mattran
"Tim Mattran has done a really nice job so far. He's one of our unsung heroes. He wasn't penciled in to play a lot, but he has played a lot and has been a key player for us."
On the play of Gerren Crochet at Washington State
"It was great to see Gerren step it up. He's got speed, and he knows what he's doing. It's great to see him improve."
On the team's passing game
"The passing game is always something that has been able to help us. Our problem has been protection as much as anything. Our line improved and some things were done from a schematic standpoint that helped them a little bit. Our wide receivers also got healthy. It was good to have a full arsenal of guys. The challenge is we don't have a lot of receivers, so when you lose them, it makes it especially hard."
On the 1-2 punch of Anthony Kimble and Jason Evans at running back
"I love 1-2-3-4-5 punch, as many punches as we have. As for Anthony Kimble, we have challenged him for a couple of weeks, and I think he has responded. Jason Evans is improving as well, too. Our guys did a really good job. We had a nice little rotation and flow running the ball in the Washington State game. The line got them started and those guys ran really hard. It's also good to have J.R. (Lemon) back. That will give us a three-man rotation with a bigger person as well. I love depth. It's always better to have a fresher player in the fourth quarter than a tired player."
On the importance of continuing the team's improvement in this Saturday's game at Arizona
"If we could make as much of an improvement as we did between the Oregon and Washington State games in the Arizona game, it would be magnificent. We need to continue to improve."
On the team's running game against Washington State
"We had a great week of practice, and we were prepared for what Washington State threw at us. We performed like we are able to. The offensive line opened up some holes, the passing game and everything else was clicking."
On how to carry over the Washington State success to the Arizona game
"It was great momentum for the next game. We need to come out and have another great week of practice, watch film and prepare for what Arizona is going to bring at us. We need to be ready to play, and play with a lot of momentum and spirit like the last game."
On what the win at Washington State did for team morale
"It's sky high right now. No one enjoys losing; the team enjoys winning. It's a lot easier to go out and practice and work really hard when you're winning."
On the challenge he has been given by Coach Harris
"To go out and play like I'm able to play and not to think so much about making mistakes. That was one of my biggest problems in the last couple of weeks - trying not to make mistakes rather than just playing with natural instincts."
On playing on the road
"The two games that we played on the road this season have been great football atmospheres. The guys have been fired up to play. There are a lot of fans talking and screaming at us."
On how to attack Arizona's defense
"We need to look at their weaknesses and just keep doing what we've been doing."
On fellow running back Jason Evans
"He's slippery; he makes people miss. He loves playing the game."
On the team's defensive improvement at Washington State
"We had a good week of practice and focused really hard. The Oregon game was an eye-opener that we needed to work on certain things and work hard. We needed to focus if we wanted to win in this league. We played a lot better against Washington State than we did against Oregon."
On the talent in the Pac-10
"This conference is almost unbelievable. Everybody's got great running backs, a good quarterback, a few good receivers, and a tight punt returner. The talent in this league is amazing. It's fun to get out there and compete with these guys."
On the ability to come through in the clutch
"Everybody wants to be the guy that makes the play. I think I have good instincts. A lot of times I find the ball at the end of the game. When the game's on the line, everybody feels the same way that they want to make the play."
On being 2-0 on the road
"I like playing on the road, because I get really excited when everyone's rooting against you. It really makes you want to win."