Jim Harbaugh Quotes From Tuesday's Stanford Media Session
Sept. 23, 2008
Here's a sampling of some of head coach Jim Harbaugh's comments from today's Stanford football media luncheon as the Cardinal prepare to meet Washington Saturday night at Husky Stadium in Seattle.
On Washington Quarterback Jake Locker
We've faced some pretty talented quarterbacks in the first four weeks and Jake Locker, in my opinion, is the best of all of them.
He's a runner a lot like Toby Gerhart. He has a big and powerful lower body, speed, the ability to make you miss and he can shed tacklers.
If I wasn't coaching against him, I'd be a lot bigger fan. I really enjoy watching him play. He keeps you off balance with the pass and has the ability to pick up big chunks of yardages with his legs. He's an experienced guy, now.
At the same time, you have to account for everybody else. Last year, Luis Rankin, along with Locker, accounted for quite a bit of rushing yardage against us.
He (Locker) poses a huge threat. He's a great football player.
On Defending Washington
The toughest team to defend are the ones who can run and pass. You can't focus too much on taking one of those away. If a team is one dimensional, you have a better shot of shutting down what they do well. When a team does both things well, like Washington does, it makes it tougher.
On the San Jose State Game
The second half was a completely different half for us defensively and as a team. I was really pleased with the way our team finished and played down the stretch of that ball game.
There were some adjustments that were made (at halftime). Andy Buh (co-defensive coordinator) was chalking it down to the last minute and I said to him, `OK Andy, we have to go.'
They did a great job of mixing it up in the second half and adjusting to what San Jose State was doing. We were more competitive on the outside.
On Tavita Pritchard's Scrambling Ability
We had some plays designed to get him out of the pocket, but the best plays he made were on his own. You don't design throwing a pass and having it knocked back into your hands and running for 25 yards. I told Tavita that will never happen to him again in his career.
He did a nice job on the bootleg scramble for a touchdown. He was just more decisive if his primary guy wasn't there or his secondary guy was covered. He stepped up and was decisive about getting the first down with his legs.
On Tavita Pritchard's Play Against San Jose State
He threw a couple of amazing balls. The corner route he threw down to the goal line was a phenomenal throw. He had another crossing route that we got our hands on, too. Those are two of the tougher throws to make as a quarterback.
I am pleased to see the way he handling the nature of the business, the nature of playing quarterback. You are going to have people who doubt you, compete for your job and people who are going to blog in with their opinions on who should be quarterback. That's just the nature of that job. I want to compliment him on the way he's handled himself.
On Starting Slow
It's something we talk about. We even try to structure our practices to where we put them in a competitive game mode to help them start fast. We'll go from getting loose and stretching to playing. That's to address getting out of the blocks and starting fast. We didn't do that offensively or defensively this last game or against TCU. You want to start fast at the beginning of the game and coming out of halftime.
They were impressive against BYU, a very competitive, ranked team. They had a chance to win that ballgame. Oklahoma got some short passes that turned into huge gains. It was almost like our Arizona State game where a few plays in the game really made a huge difference.
There were parts of the Oklahoma game where they were stopping the run, getting pressure on the quarterback and contesting passes. There were a couple of others on short passes where Oklahoma shed the tackle and then ran 60 yards down the field. Plays that should have been short turned into big.
On Tight End Konrad Reuland
Konrad's ready to play, but there are guys in front of him, like Jim Dray, Austin Gunder and Coby Fleener. Right now, I wouldn't say he will have a big impact (on Saturday), but that can change in a couple of weeks.
On Memories of Playing at Husky Stadium
I think I played there twice. I played there my sophomore year and was the holder on field goals. We missed what could have been the game-winning field goal and I was the holder. There was some talk that I might have had too much pressure on the ball. I know I wasn't the holder the next week. I always felt bad about that. The kicker requested a different holder the following week.
On the Development of Placekicker Aaron Zagory
There were some people who were here when he was a freshman and they told me they have never seen such progress in a guy going from his freshman year to his fifth year in all of the time they have been watching Stanford football.
Aaron joined the team when classes had already started. He finally got a chance to try out for the football team his freshman year. People who were there said you wouldn't want to line him up to try to kick an extra point. And then to go out and kick a 52-yarder like he did the other day along with two other ones, he looks like a pro kicker out there. What a phenomenal story.
Zags has worked extremely hard. It's (kicking) a strength of our football team. His performance the other night changed the complexion of that football game.
I was here all summer and Zags was here all summer. He was here so much I thought he had a mattress somewhere in the Arrillaga Center. He earned a scholarship and really turned that position into a strength.
On Tom Keiser
Tom Keiser played 20 plays in the ballgame (San Jose State) and his productivity was off the charts. He's continued to work his tail off and show he's a playmaker. He'll be on the field more with that kind of productivity.