2007 Stanford Football Media Day Quotes

Aug. 8, 2007

Stanford, Calif. - Stanford head football coach Jim Harbaugh, players and assistant coaches spoke to the media at the 2007 Stanford Football Media Day held on the Stanford campus Wednesday. Stanford is in the early days of training camp in preparation for the 2007 season. Stanford will open the 2007 campaign against UCLA in a Pac-10 game to be televised live by Fox Sports Net at Stanford Stadium on Saturday, September 1 (12:30 pm, PT).

Below are selected quotes from Harbaugh, offensive coordinator David Shaw and senior quarterback T.C. Ostrander at Wednesday's media day.

On The Early Days Of Camp
'I think that the most noticeable thing is that our team looks faster, quicker and more in shape. There's great retention from the spring to where we are now in the fall camp with the schemes and the systems. I credit that to the work our players did on their own over the summer. It's a much better trained team at this point. Next, I would say there's no savior on this football team. It's a group of seasoned leaders, that's what we have right now. It's going to take everybody with the ownership of turning this around.'

On The Players' Summer Program
'They were doing their own organized workouts over the summer. We gave them some things to work on, and they would go out and coach themselves. They ran through plays and had drills that they incorporated into those workouts.'

On The Qualities He Liked In Defensive Coordinator Scott Shafer
'[I liked] production and the ability to rebuild and turn around a defense. Every program he's been involved with has been a rebuild. When he coordinated at Northern Illinois, and at Western Michigan, those were two rebuilds. Finally, the production he had in the MAC, his defense was 11th in the country last year in total defense. That's how I found him. I didn't know him, or know anybody who knew him. I just went on the Internet, said who are the top defenses in the country that I thought we could recruit to Stanford. There were two others, but after talking to Scott on the phone, I had a very good feeling the first time talking to him, and when he came out on the interview I offered him the job.'

On Whether He Hired Shafer On The Spot
'Yeah, he took it that weekend. His wife Missy came out, and I thought that was real important, especially somebody moving from Michigan to California, that was big. But just going back to the production, 11th in the country on defense, they were first in sacks, I think first in interceptions, so I think that's what people should be judged on, the type of production they have.'

On Whether The Team Is Still Carrying Emotional Scars From The 2006 Season
'Really, the attitude change happened very quickly, in a matter of days. Young people are so resilient. The culture is really what we are working on and changing.'

On Changing The Stanford Football Culture
'Just in the way you do things. It comes down to the guys and the ways we can build the culture. The people that you have in the program, the coaches, the support staff, the players, and the way you do things. We're striving to do things better, and to do things right in every detail of the program.'

On Whether Wins And Success On The Field Are Needed To Start The Culture Change
'I definitely think it comes before [success and wins on the field]. Because you earn the right to be poised and to feel confident by what you do and how hard you work. That's the thing that gives you the confidence and the poise to win in the fourth quarter. It's in the effort; otherwise you're just hoping to do it. There's guys that are preparing to win, and guys that are hoping to win. So that preparation has got to come in before you start playing. Then the winning will reinforce that we're doing things right, and will get better and better and better.'

On Whether It's Hard To Teach If The Winning Doesn't Come Right Away
'No, our only goal is to win. We definitely have objectives, and when you hit those objectives, those are the things that build your poise and confidence, and it builds your pride in yourself, your teammates and your team. And we've already seen one of those objectives to get this team in shape, getting them bigger, stronger, and faster. I'm seeing that right now. It's showing up, and that gives you poise and confidence. It's the work that came first before you got to that point of feeling good about what you're doing.'

On Senior Quarterback T.C. Ostrander
'We're pleased with T.C., he's got the respect of all of his teammates and coaches. I've been really impressed now that we've been through the spring and through the summer, and are now into training camp. I mean, gosh, we're not going back and saying the things we said in March, April and May. He's got the ability and the athletic ability to do what you tell him; you don't have to tell him five, ten times. He picks it up.'

'The accuracy is the most important thing, and he's a very accurate quarterback. He's got well above average arm strength. That's a physical tool, a physical strength, and that's something we can use. When it comes to the quarterback position, we really focus and concentrate on doing what the quarterback does best.'

'To start with, the mind conditioning and leadership abilities, those are two musts for a quarterback, and he has that. He has accuracy and arm strength, and now he's getting much lighter on his feet and has been making very good decisions. The more of those things he does, the more complete the package is going to be.'

On The Process Of Choosing His Defensive Coordinator
'Well, I did have some preconceived names, and I interviewed about 11 people, either on the phone or brought them in. It hit me about halfway through the process to look at college coordinators and defenses that are the most productive in the country. There were three in the Top 15 that I thought we had a chance to get here to Stanford. But when I first talked to Scott [Shafer] on the phone, there was a click there. I just really felt like you don't have to know a guy to hire him. You spend 365 days a year with him; you're going be best friends with him.'

On Whether There Is A Program That You Look At That Was Sort Of In The Same Situation Stanford Is Now
'From personal experience, I've been with great teams that were great before I got there and were great afterwards, and teams that were great and going through a decline, and a team that was horrible and built it up to the top. You take things from all experiences. I've looked at things like that. I've studied Kansas State.'

On Kansas State's Means Of Success
'They pumped a lot of resources into that program. They did it by pumping money in and upgrading their facilities. Examples of any program, I think it's the guy running the discipline, leading the operation, and really believes passionately in what he's doing and is able to speak from the heart. There's a lot of ways to skin a cat, but I think you really need to believe, and have a plan and a vision. That's what I've learned most in my study of teams that have rebuilt.'

On His Philosophy
'There are things that can be adjusted, but your core beliefs, those are rock solid. They don't shift with the times. It's what you believe in. If you have something that you believe, it doesn't change from month to month or game to game, or even year to year. You should believe in your scheme, and it should be big enough to encompass the talent of your players from year to year, or every four years. And I believe in our scheme that way. It's big enough that we can take advantage of the skills of our players.'

On The Early Days Of Camp
'We've started very well. The guys came in serious and focused after having a great summer not being around us. As a coach you always wonder have they been doing what you hoped they've been done, and our guys so far have impressed us.'

On The Value Of The Abundance Of Veteran Players
'It helps a lot. We have a lot of older guys with a lot of pride, a lot of pride in their effort. They want this ship to get turned around in the right way, and that's going to be done by working smart and working together.'

On The Biggest Goals In Camp
'The big thing is to continue to continue to accentuate the positives and to hone in on the things we do well and build confidences from those things. Coach Harbaugh has done a lot with that in changing the expectations and changing the attitude by bringing some fun, enjoyment and excitement back to Stanford Football. That has been as big as anything.'

On His Relations To Being A Stanford Football Player
'Certainly. Both coach [Chris] Dalman and myself were here when this thing got turned around in the early-90's under Denny Green's staff. There was a lot of things that we're doing now. We've got talented players. We've got guys that have made plays over the last few years. We have to make plays consistently, and we have to take away from the negatives. There's no magic formula. You just have to do the things that you do well and minimize the things that you don't do well.'

On The Team's Offensive Personnel
'We've got a veteran left tackle. We've got a veteran quarterback that has got a lot of playing time over the last two years. We've got two veteran receivers. We've got guys that have seen a lot football. We've got a sixth year offensive center. We've got guys with experience. We don't have a bunch of guys out there that don't know what they're doing. But it's the concentration, its the focus, its using those abilities and skills to move the ball in the right direction.'

On Getting The Running Game Going
'Starting with our sixth-year center [Tim Mattran], our left tackle [Allen Smith] and [right guard] Alex Fletcher, who has really come along in the offseason. To have a core of veteran guys up front and then really be specific and consistent in the running game [is what we need to do]. There were some runs last year that really kind of popped out, some nice flashes, but there was no consistency, and that's one thing we've been preaching up front from day one. We are going to be consistent running backs. We are going to be consistent with our reads and cuts and getting positive yards on every play. It doesn't have to 50-yard runs. It can be four-yard runs, six-yard runs.'

On Getting The Offensive Line To Improve
'They've taken to us pretty well - our coaching style and the techniques that we're teaching. In some areas we haven't added, we've actually subtracted and given them less things to think about to let them play faster, so there's no indecision and no doubt. Half of speeding up is being exactly sure of what you're doing.'

On Being Coached By Former Quarterback Jim Harbaugh
'I've already noticed a pretty big change because he has so much experience and sees things from the same vantage point that I'm seeing things from now. I really feel like he knows the ins and outs of the games better than other coaches I've had in the past specifically from the quarterback position.'

On His Relationship With Coach Harbaugh
'We're continuing to get more and more comfortable with each other. We're getting to know each other better and how each other operates. I have a pretty good understanding of how he likes to coach and how he coaches me. He can say whatever he wants to me, and I will take his coaching because he has so much experience. I have a lot of respect for that and am just trying to soak it all up.'

On His Progress
'I feel more comfortable with this offense than any other offense before. A lot of the guys on the team and in the positions around me feel the same way. When everybody on the offensive unit is more comfortable out there, it translates into better play for everybody. As camp goes along, we are going to get more and more in synch and get a more common understanding of what we're trying to do.'

On His Preparation For Games
'That's one of the major areas I want to learn from coach Harbaugh -- how to prepare for a game, how to get to where you are comfortable with everything that's going on with an offense.'

On His Strengths
'I think I'm pretty mechanically sound. I put myself in a pretty good position to throw the ball. My preparation mentally as far as learning the offense and getting prepared for each opponent each week has gotten better as I've gotten older. I know methods work for me, so I'm a lot more efficient with my time.'

On Finally Becoming The Team's Starting Quarterback In His Fifth Season At Stanford
'I wish it had happened sooner. I think everybody in my position would. But, I think I've learned a lot from being in a backup position. Certainly having that kind of competition with Trent [Edwards] and always trying to get better to beat him out has made me a better quarterback. I'm thankful for the things I've learned from him and just being in that position, but obviously I like being in this situation a lot better.'

On Fellow Fifth-Year Seniors Mark Bradford And Evan Moore
'Mark, Evan and I have been throwing together for the last four years. I think we have a pretty good feeling for each other. What we're trying to do right now is translate that into this offense.'

On Stanford's Depth At Wide Receiver
'The big thing for us there is that we have a lot of guys that play the position [because] a lot of guys had to play there last year. You learn the most from experience and you get better more quickly from experience, and that was some valuable experience that those guys got last year.'

On Coach Harbaugh's Offensive System
'It's a little bit of a different system, but I think that the system overall after being around several different systems and seeing what works and what doesn't, I like this system because it's going to show a lot of complicated looks to the defense but keep the same concept that show in different ways ... We know what we're doing but the defense is going to be confused by a lot of the different looks.'

On Coach Harbaugh's Enthusiasm
'I didn't know a whole lot about his personality before I met him. He immediately comes off when you meet him as a really enthusiastic and intense guy, and that's the way he's been from day one up until now. Our team has really responded to his type of energy. It really trickles down. People on this team respond a lot better to his demeanor and his mentality as well as all of the other assistant coaches. He put together a staff that can really communicate well to the players and the team. That's something that maybe we haven't had so much in the past.'

On His Goals This Year
'The only goal I really have this year is to win ballgames. That's really the only long-term goal I have. Other than that, I set a lot of individual goals for myself, but those are kind of small steps that will lead up to achieving that bigger goal.'

On The Importance Of Getting Off To A Fast Start In 2007
'It would be nice to get off to a fast start - it always is. But, what we are doing right now is developing a self-confidence in our team and ourselves as individuals that will carry through with the ups and downs of the season. You can't let a couple of bad games throw you off track. You have to have confidence to know you can come back from that and win the next five or whatever. Obviously, we're looking for a fast start; we're looking to win every game we play, but I don't think we're going to be thrown off by the bumps in the road.'

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