The Big Game Press Conference
Nov. 13, 2000
Before I introduce my players, this is as you can imagine an extremely exciting week for us at Stanford. Any time you have the Big Game just mentioned, it creates a great deal of excitement. With all the festivities and all the other things that surround this great football game, it is one that really gets the hair on the back of your necks to stand up. I know we will be very excited about this football game.
I'm fortunate to bring with me this morning, five of our team members, really the core of our football team and the core of our leadership. We have two forms of that core. One, a veteran core of fifth-year players - Byron Glaspie, running back, Sam Benner, defensive lineman, and Emory Brock, special teams and running back. We then have a younger core with years (of eligibility) remaining, Coy Wire, linebacker, and also our quarterback Randy Fasani.
As we approach this football game, it is one that at all points in the year, you have some knowledge of it and keep some reference of as you work though the year. It's been a season of great wins and near misses. It's the combination of those that has brought us to this point. We come into the 103rd Big Game with a good feeling coming out of our last ballgame against Arizona State of being able to put some components that we had talked about coming together - special teams, defense and offense really started to show themselves and define quickly what Stanford Football is all about. So, as we approach this game, it will be our goal to see if we can do those three things - offense, defense and special teams - with the totality to give us the kind of football that we'd like to play.
We are fortunate to have two fine quarterbacks but our starter is Randy Fasani. If his health is okay, he'll start the ballgame for us. That will be the direction that we'll go.
Last year, you came in here with the Rose Bowl on the line. Obviously, (you have) considerably less (on the line this year). Everybody wants to win this game because of the rivalry, yet are you kind of positioning yourself for next year with a lot of the players back, and trying to end the season with a win that would put you into next season?
That is one thought, and I can not tell you that I don't share that thought. But probably first and foremost for us in our program is what we do today. That has to do with our seniors - the Willie Howard's, the Sam Benner's, the Emory Brock's, the Byron Glaspie's, those guys - all of our seniors that have us brought us to this point and really one group that took us to last year's Rose Bowl. Our goal will be to be successful Saturday because of those guys. Then, a secondary goal would be that we do have quite a few young men returning and that you always want to finish the season on a winning note.
When you look at these last five games in a row against Cal, do you see any similarities (that) in each game that they haven't been able to stop Stanford from doing 'x' or something that kind of runs through all five games.
Yes, there is something. We've been lucky. I think more than anything else in this ballgame you have to have the breaks come at the right time to have success, because (if) you look over the years at this ballgame - and not just the five, seven, eight, nine years that I've been involved in this football game - but over the 102 opportunities face-to-face, the game is so close. I think it's nearly 50 games that have probably been within a couple of points, or come down to the last seconds or last minutes of the fourth quarter. I think in those situations you have to have a little bit of luck on your side. I think that we've been very fortunate that the ball has bounced our way.
Can you tell me a little bit about Cal and what you see in them, what concerns you the most?
In all honesty, I see probably the best team I've seen since the 1996 team. They have so many things in balance - the outstanding defense, the offense that's really growing and expanding and has great big-play potential, special teams. I think they've got, if not the leading punt returner, one of the best returners in the conference and in the country. They have a lot of pieces that when you look at football teams (and) say 'Can this football team have success?' - they have a lot of those pieces in place. When I look at them, I see a very good football team.
Can you comment on Andre Carter?
What is there to say about him that hasn't been said. He is truly one of the best players in the country and one of the best defensive players in our conference. I think he is right at the top (of the conference) in sacks and tackles-for-loss. He has just shown himself time and time again to be an outstanding player. I don't know how many more superlatives I could place on him that have not already been placed on him. He's a good player. There's no question about that.
Which class of seniors do you think feels more sense of urgency - Stanford's knowing that they've never lost The Axe or Cal's knowing that they've never had The Axe?
I would always qualify that by saying it depends on who you talk to. I will speak for our guys. This is a very important football game to our young men. It has always been that way and will always be that way. When you play the game 102 times, there are a lot of great players at Stanford who would have had the honor of walking in Memorial Stadium and lot of great players at Stanford have played on Stanford Stadium. When you have that, it becomes a very important football game.
Do you take any personal pride in the fact that you've never lost to Cal?
No, because it's not an individual occurrence. It's something that has to be done as a football team. I think our young men and previous teams at Stanford all understand that - that this is a game that the best way to win the football game is to play as a team. Then it comes down to the same things that basically happen every year and every game that you every play. If you can limit your mistakes and make critical plays at the right time - and that's an amazing statement in itself because when is the right time, you never know. But, if you can do those things, then you give yourself a chance. If you get one of the nice bounces of the ball, then you end up as the victor.
Would it mean any more to you to be 8-0 versus USC than 8-0 versus Cal?
I would honestly say I would love to do both. It's just the truth. I'd love to be 8-0 versus USC. I'd love to be 8-0 or 9-0 versus Cal. Both would have major significance.
COMMENTS FROM LINEBACKER COY WIRE
(on the intensity of the Big Game)
We're not going to a bowl game this year, but you can't diminish the importance of this game. Both teams get up for this game just as if we were going to play for a national championship game. It's a battle across the Bay. It's going to be exciting and probably go down to the final quarter like it always does.
(on strange things happening when the game is played in Berkeley)
It always does. There is a lot of tradition behind this game. That's what drives some of the spectacular play that happens every year in this game. It's one of the reasons this game does go down in only a matter of a few points every year.
(on whether Berkeley is a good place to play)
I haven't actually physically played there, but I've been up there and felt the atmosphere. It's a great place to play. The fans are right on top of you. It will be a sea of red and blue up there I'm sure, and it's going to be exciting.
(on his three-sack, 10-tackle performance in the 29-7 victory over Arizona State last Saturday)
I don't know. Maybe it was because I was sick earlier in the week. I missed a day of practice. I was in the emergency room. Maybe that had something to do with it. I was kind of scared that I wasn't going to perform well because I was sick, but I think the main thing is that I had our seniors in mind. We talked about it being their last (home) game. We're not going to a bowl game but we wanted to make sure we send our seniors out right. They deserve to win in their last home game. They've done some great things. They're great leaders with Willie Howard, DeRonnie Pitts, Riall (Johnson) - all these guys. They're great guys. It's something we talked about all week, just sending them out right. I know that I had that in the back of mind when I was playing. I was thinking about them.
(on getting ready for the Big Game this week)
It doesn't take much to get ready for Cal. I've been ready for this all season. It's actually going to be the first time I get to start against them. I was hurt my redshirt freshman and then we rotated last year at running back. I'm excited and everybody's going to be ready for this game.
COMMENTS FROM QUARTERBACK RANDY FASANI
(about growing up with Cal football)
Everything became realistic. I got older and more mature. I realized what life was all about. I just felt like I could get a better education at Stanford and they had a better football program. It just seemed like the place for me.
(on the Big Game)
It's a very special game. One, because it's the Big Game. It's probably the most important game of the year, our most competitive game of the year, meaning the rivalry and the history of the game. Two, my parents went to Cal, and I grew up as a Cal football fan. So, it's a really fun game for me.
(on who his parents will be rooting for)
They root for Stanford, but my mom always lets out a little Go Bears throughout the game.