Sunday's Stanford Football Press Conference Quotes

Oct. 7, 2007

Stanford, Calif. - Stanford football head coach Jim Harbaugh, along with players Mark Bradford, Bo McNally and Tavita Pritchard, addressed the media Sunday at a Stanford Football Press Conference. Stanford knocked off No. 1/No. 2 USC by a score of 24-23 at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Saturday for its first win over a No. 1 ranked team since a 36-30 victory at then No. 1 Notre Dame on October 6, 1990.

Stanford (2-3) returns home to host TCU (3-3) for its annual homecoming game at Stanford Stadium this Saturday, October 13 (2 pm, PT). The contest will not be televised but Stanford's audio account of the game featuring Dave Flemming and Bob Murphy in the booth with Mike McLaughlin on the sidelines can be heard live on KNBR 1050 AM and from a Yahoo! Sports link at

Below is the transcript of what coach Harbaugh and the players had to say to the media on Sunday.

On His Address To A Large Student Crowd That Greeted Stanford On Its Arrival Home
'That was the icing on the cake to come back from Los Angeles. We heard there was something going on back here at campus. We heard some stories that there was some bonfires. But then to show up and there had to be 4,000 or 5,000 students was amazing. They were great. The band was great down in the Coliseum. Then to have our students show up when we came back was a great feeling for our team.'

On Whether The Feeling Of Beating USC Has Sunk In
'Yes. The best part about it is that our players can feel the ultimate feeling in winning. It's very pleasurable to win. How great it is to win. Our players are in that position to win.'

On The USC Game
'It was a great football game. We talked about it on the sidelines. I said it to Tavita [Pritchard] `Where would you rather be? This was a great football game, and we're in it. We enjoyed that moment, and we're going to enjoy the moment of today and that feeling of winning. It's great.'

On Stanford's Players
'The players were locked in. I said it yesterday after the game. Pre-game they weren't over-excited; they weren't over-emotional. When you're playing a big game like that everyone's running around all hyped up, sometimes you leave it in the pre-game. I noticed in our pre-game that our guys were just relaxed; they were going through their warm-ups. They were ready to play, and it showed in the game. They just executed. They executed their fundamentals. USC made a lot of plays but our guys just kept communicating and kept looking each other in the eye ... When we made a play, we just kept communicating and looking each other in the eye. We just kept playing and realized this was a heck of a football game we were in.'

On The Remainder Of The 2007 Season
'This is a start. We haven't written the finish yet. We don't know how the finish is going to turn out, but it was a heck of a start for that.'

On Whether He Sensed His Players Could Win
'So many times in all of these guys' lives, they are told that they can't do something. They are told no, that you're not big enough, you're not fast enough, you're not strong enough, you've got too many players hurt this week, you can't possibly think or expect that you can beat USC. And they hear that hundreds and thousands of times, and this football team yesterday said yes. As a team, they said yes we can win. It was about the team, the team, the team, the team. This was one time when the players said yes.'

On The Reasons For The Victory
'It was a collective effort, a collective effort from the coaches, too. D.J. Durkin pre-game meeting with special teams basically laid it out [in terms] of what the pre-game was going to be like, what it was going to be like to play in that atmosphere. Scott Shafer the way he approached tactically with the defense the entire week. All of our coaches and players had a collective belief.'

On Whether This Win Was The Start Of A New Era For Stanford Football
'I look at this win as a start. We don't know the finish and haven't written that yet, but I can tell you what this means to our players, our alumni and the university. I know this. Our players love the game of football more, they love their university more, and they love each other more than they did two days ago. Maybe it shouldn't be that way. You should always have a constant, steady building of your love of the game and each other, but I can firmly say that there's a greater love for each other. The players don't play for the coaches, they don't play for the university, but they fight and play for each other and there was a bond of love in that locker room after the game.'

On Unsung Heroes From The Win Over USC
'[There were] so many. I think you'll see that anybody who stepped on that field, whether it was one play or 70 plays, impacted that football game ... Every guy that strained to make a tackle; every guy that strained to make a block; that strained to reach their arms two or three inches more to make a play or to sustain a block for one more tenth of a second ... The guys that strained its not going to show up to everybody who watched the game, but it's that straining and sustaining for inches and tenths of seconds by everybody that played on that field and fought their hearts out.'

On The Hit Richard Sherman On A Successful 4th Down Conversion On Stanford's Game-Winning Drive
'His ribs are still sore this morning, [but] x-rays are negative. [He was] training to catch that ball; straining to hold on to it and get those six extra inches that first down took.'

On His Post-Game Handshake With USC Head Coach Pete Carroll
'He was very classy after the game. It was a tough loss for them. They have experienced the winning, the winning, the winning, the winning. What they've done down there is amazing, but you can't win them all and for three hours on Saturday we were the better football team.'

On His Feelings About The Win
'It feels like a movie. We go to hotels on Friday nights, and we watch a movie. This feels like Disney really happened to us. They said congratulations, and it was like, wow you really did it. It's a great feeling.'

On His Feelings Returning To A Large Crowd Of Supporters On Campus After The Game Saturday Night
'It was crazy. I had no idea there were people around here that cared so much about the football team. I just felt the love from all the fans and everyone on campus. It was a crazy scene. I was excited and happy to see it.'

On His Game-Winning TD Catch Which Was Reviewed By Instant Replay
'After that last touchdown when they said it was good, and I didn't see any flags, it was no question to me. I was just celebrating on the sidelines.'

On Being Part Of What Some Are Calling The Biggest Upset In College Football History
'For me, it was just one of those things that at the end of game it's one of those things you dream about this day as a kid, playing in the sandlot or the parking lot with your friends. It's just like you make the situation in your head, you're making the catch. It's one of these stories that I'm going to tell my grandkids. I'm just going to take this with me forever. It's just a great feeling.'

On Whether He's Seen His Game-Winning TD Catch On SportsCenter
'I haven't even watched TV at all. I've just been celebrating with teammates and fans. It's just an awesome feeling. It's just a tribute to the way the team played to be able to be in that position at all.'

On Dedicating The USC Game To His Father Who Recently Passed Away
'This was a game that I dedicated to him. I just went to his funeral on Tuesday, so this for me is such a great win because it was down in L.A. at a school at when I was getting recruited in high school it was one of my dad's favorite schools and one of the schools that he wanted me to go to. For me, it was such a big win considering that he just passed and he got to see this one. It was a big one for me.'

On Talking To His Dad And Uncle [former quarterback Jack Thompson] On The Phone After The Game
'He [my dad] was in tears; he was pretty excited. I haven't talked to him [his uncle Jack]. I got a voice mail from him. I wasn't able to call everyone back in the voice mail box. I'm working on it. It was full.'

On His Thoughts About Making A Second Start Versus TCU Next Saturday
'There's not a whole lot I'm going to do differently. I've been preparing like a starter every week before this one, and I'll continue to do the same thing. [I'll] get in watch film and study the game plan.'

On Whether He Said Anything Different In The Huddle On The Game-Winning Play
'Honestly, I didn't have to say much. During that whole drive in the huddle, I looked in everyone's eyes, and you can ask any of them, there was a sense and a feeling that we couldn't be stopped. Nothing really needed to be said. I looked in Evan's [Moore] eyes and in Mark's [Bradford] eyes, and in all the line guys' eyes, and I just got the sense that the Trojans couldn't stop us. It was surreal. There was never a moment of panic. We just knew we were going to get it done. You talk about the fourth-and-20 and the fourth-and-goal, the whole time we just knew we were going to score.'

On Whether The USC Win Felt Like A Dream
'I didn't want to go to sleep last night, because I felt like I was going to wake up to the hotel bed check call.'

On Whether The Five-Yard Penalty On Stanford Just Prior To The Game-Winning Play Helped
'I think it did help, actually. It gives him a little more room to work with, and it gives me a little more room to see what he's working with. He made a great play on the ball.'

On The Importance Of The Win To The Program
'It's definitely something this program and this staff can build on; especially with the youth out there on the field right now ... This is definitely something that we can use to move forward with. We definitely haven't arrived as a team, but it's definitely something that we can go and say this is something that we did positive. We're learning how to win and like coach [Harbaugh] said we're trying to change this culture, and this is a big step in that direction.'

On The Play Of The Defense Versus USC
'All of the defensive coaches' stress that one big hit can change the outcome of the game. That's just kind of the mentality we take when we approach making a tackle. We take shots; we try to hit them as hard as we can every time. I think it showed throughout the game that we kind of wore them down a little bit. Their guys were feeling it, and that helped us out a lot.'

On The Goal Line Stand At The End Of The First Half
'That was a big point in the game for us. [It gave us] a lot of momentum going into halftime. It gave the defense some confidence to come back, knowing we can stop them. It just goes to show what a great coach that coach [Scott] Shafer is, putting us in the right position. There were three or four goals in the backfield on that goal line [stand] untouched because of the call he made.'

On The Differences Between Other Pac-10 Games And The USC Game
'From a defensive standpoint, it was just paying attention to details. In those other Pac-10 games, we'd be in position to make the play, we'd be so close to making everything happen and then because of one false step this way or your eyes are in the wrong place on play, you give up a long touchdown or a long play. We limited those. We still made a couple of those mistakes yesterday, but we crunched them down and changed it from making seven or eight of those mistakes to just two or three. That was the big difference for us, and we're just going to have to keep working on that and get better to the point where we are not making any of those mistakes. It takes time to fix it, but we're on our way.'

On The Team's Improved Tackling Versus USC
'What it comes down to and the coaches always say this is that it's just a game of inches. When we have missed those tackles in previous games, it was just an inch and a half here, two inches there. We've been working really hard in practice the last few weeks making those plays and practicing our tackling, and I think yesterday we showed how much we've been working, and we closed down those two inches and made the plays that we needed to.'

On What The Defense Was Thinking On USC's Final Drive In The Fourth Quarter
'Our defensive mentality in that kind of situation is like coach [Scott] Shafer always says it, `bring it on.' We relish those opportunities to show what kind of defense we are. That's when great defenses are made, and we were happy and excited to be out there. We ended up being able to make the stop, [and it was] a great feeling.'

On His Interception That Clinched The Victory
'It's really hard to explain. When I caught and then I went slid down, it didn't really hit me that that was it, that was the game. I saw everybody running and the stadium was silent, and it was a pretty amazing feeling.'

On Whether The Win Over USC Can Lead To A Winning 2007 Season
'Absolutely. Our goal is to win every game we go into and after winning yesterday, you can't let anybody tell us we can't do anything. Whenever we go in as an underdog, it doesn't matter to us. If we're the underdog or picked to win big, we feel like we can win every game we play. That's the mentality we take. We want to win every game the rest of the season.'

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