Pete Carroll-Jim Harbaugh Press Conference Quotes

Nov. 10, 2009

COACH CARROLL: Homecoming has a significant ring this time around...being on the road like we have been and finally getting home now, it's a big deal to us. More so than ever, it feels great to have a chance to play at the Coliseum and play in front of our home crowd.

We've seen some great stadiums and some great atmospheres. Hopefully as we finish this up this year we can really create a big stir at the Coliseum, and everybody has a great time with it. We make it hard on our opponent and fun for our guys playing there, and we'll try to play well enough to get everybody excited. But it's great to be coming back home, so we look forward to it.

It is a spirited week around campus. As the weekend comes up, there is a lot of buzz with families and people and alums coming back. It makes for a special atmosphere, you know, kind of around the stadium and all.

We have a great match up coming in here. Stanford is playing great football...obviously, coming off probably their biggest win in a long time over Oregon. Really, really gets everybody up and tuned in and focused on what they're capable of doing. This is a team that as we've watched throughout the years they've been really productive offensively.

They have a real obvious core of their offense in Toby Gerhart, just a hammer back there running the football. They've built their style around his physical nature, and it's working very well for them.

They've turned out a fantastic talent at quarterback in Andrew Luck, who has just grown before our eyes just this season. He's playing great football and showing tremendous confidence in him. They allow him to throw the ball all over the field.

Last week evidenced by their attack against Oregon, they bombed them. You would think that that game would have been won in the trenches with them running the football. They threw the football every way they wanted to against Oregon. Then got the score out there and ran the football as they wanted to in the second half to finish it off. It was really a tremendous performance by their football team.

So the fact that it's a huge opportunity in the conference for us. It's homecoming. They're coming off an enormous win, this is a great, great match up for us. It's a great championship atmosphere for us as we prepare and as we take on our challenges here down the road to finish it off.

We know that each game is extraordinarily significant. We've got to fight like crazy to put up our best performance. So we look forward to it. It's a big opportunity, and hopefully we'll be right for it.

Q. Where does Andrew Luck rank among the quarterbacks you've seen this season?

COACH CARROLL: Luck is really an often useful aspect of your play. I mean, this guy's situation...he's as good right now as anybody we've faced. And he's really because they've gone with it and they've allowed him to really come out and go for it. And when you add their running dimensions with that kind of a pass attack, it really makes it a challenging offense.

I know that Oregon was not prepared for them to come out throwing the football like they did. They took advantage of that.

We'll see how they feel about playing against us and now how that fits into their plan and all. But they're making us ready for everything. He throws the ball on the run really well. He's a big pocket guy, and he's running well. He's rushed for over a couple hundred yards for the season.

He's got a rushing average as most quarterbacks are lucky to have. He's at 5.2 a rush or something like that. So this is a very diverse football player and great dimensions. You know, we're catching him at his very best right now.

Q. We're seeing this sort of youth movement back to Kevin Prince across town, Nick Foles at Arizona and it seems like the quarterback play which was down for a little bit is really starting to come back up in the league?

COACH CARROLL: There's no doubt. When you have Matt (Barkley) playing as a freshman, and Luck playing as a freshman, and the guys jumping up like they are, I think it's a big indication that the offenses are going to be huge for the next few years and you can have enormous expectations of really big time numbers, high productions, tons of points.

I think that's how you have to look at it. Really guys to on build your programs around, so that's why the conference has looked so strong all year. Other guys have emerged to support those guys as well. But there are some quarterbacks playing and doing well that we didn't think we were going to play maybe. Didn't even know.

So I think we've probably changed the dimensions of expectations for young quarterbacks being able to come in and be big factors right off the bat. Luck's got a red shirt year under him. But it's still his first go around, and he's doing everything.

Q. What do you remember about Toby Gerhart coming out of high school? And could you envision him leading the Pac 10 in rushing?

COACH CARROLL: I remember him not just being a great football player, but hitting .700 or something in baseball, too. He was a fantastic baseball player. Didn't know which way he would go at the time. I remember thinking that he was such a dominant baseball player that might be his future. I'm sure he could still do that if he wanted to. I don't know where he is about that.

But you couldn't tell I couldn't tell that he would be such a dynamic football player and really control the whole environment of a team, you know. As you see these guys, his style, his attitude, his toughness and the productivity is really just taking hold of the program there.

That's not to say there's not a lot of really good players there. They're just built their image around him. I think it's a wonderful way to go, and it's been great for them.

Q. A 12:30 start time this week. How are you going to get the players clocks adjusted and what is the process for getting ready early?

COACH CARROLL: It's kind of exciting having a different set up. We play all those 5 o'clock, 6 o'clock games. Because when you play college football during the day, that's the way we grew up watching it. And the game's over, and you've still got daylight or some time in the afternoon or the evenings to be with your families and your friends and all that. It's a different atmosphere.

Our guys are all checking their watches at 12:30 every day this week, remembering that this is the time that we'll be playing. Other than that we can't do a whole lot about it, but just make them aware that it's coming four or five hours faster than it usually does. Just have them I want them to be excited about the fact that we get to get up in the morning and off we go. So we're making a build up about that, just in essence to get their mental thought about that clear and get them ready for it.

Q. Will you be looking at the defensive effort this week?

COACH CARROLL: Of course, we were much improved. Our performance was back on track. We played in the style and the fashion we love...getting after them, hitting the quarterback, turning the football over. It was really a good outing. Played the running game really well and rushed the passer well.

Our guys on the defense were all over guys. So we had a really productive return. Hopefully a reality check and we're back to it, and we can go on from here.

Q. Can you compare Toby Gerhart to any running back that you've seen or coached in your coaching career? Give a comparison to someone else?

COACH CARROLL: He would be like playing the Bus (Jerome Bettis) the old days at Pittsburgh where you just knew you had a big war daddy coming back there at you down after down after down. There is a certain style to his running and all that and certain things you want to do to try to defend against that. I don't think there are many guys that had that kind of presence offhand other than going all the way back to him.

He looks faster than the Bus, and the Bus doesn't want to hear that, but yeah. It's that kind of style draws your focus because of the way of his running and the things that happens when he runs knocking piles forward, and running over guys and all the cool things that he can do.

Q. Why is it that power style really seems to have shifted away from that?

COACH CARROLL: I think it's, you know, it's one thing to find fast guys. But to find fast big guys, you know, there are fewer of them. To find a fast big guy with an attitude and style, I know you've got something special. There are big guys that run okay, but they don't have his kind of mentality.

I mean, this is a real battler. He really fights you. He's going to bring a great effort every time he goes and every run he carries, you know. And every finish to every carry, you know. So there are a lot of really awesome attributes about this guy that makes him who he is.

Q. Will you update on Damian Williams?

COACH CARROLL: Not too much of an update health wise. He won't do anything today. He'll see the doctors tonight and find out. The ankle's not swollen, which is a positive. High ankle sprains don't swell much anyway. It's just going to have to be something we wait and see. We don't know right now. He says he's playing, but he's got the right attitude.

Q. Anthony McCoy?

COACH CARROLL: McCoy's going to run today and do some stuff for the first time. We'll see how far he can go with it. We'll see what it means. I don't know what to tell you on that yet.

Q. After this week there is a bye on the schedule which is kind of different than the SC schedules in the past where you've had byes early in the season. There are only two games left, and speaking about the injuries, is that a good thing this year?

COACH CARROLL: I always say byes are good, because we're going to make it a good thing. In this case with a bunch of guys that are banged up, guys like Malcolm Smith and Jarvis Jones and some guys like that, this will make a big difference for those guys having a full week, for sure, for McCoy and all that.

So, you know, we'll try to max out the opportunity of breaking that next week for the guys that can't come back and all. We'll see if we can get a little stronger, and then we'll turn our attention to the young guys like we always do when the time comes.

Q. Still among the bottom half in the NCAAs on third down conversions, do you have to take a different strategy?

COACH CARROLL: We're working on some thoughts to try to generate some more execution and some particular ways, you know. Going into what we're doing. We have to continue to compete there. We're not living up to the standards that we need to play really well.

It's affecting it affects the whole football team when you have to go punt the football again. So we have to get better there. So there are some things we're doing, yeah. We have to continue to seek stuff, but also, you know, just count on the ability to execute better as we grow together and all that.

So it's been it hasn't been good enough. We have to really make sure that on our focus is on it, because our production has to change there or games are going to continue to be very difficult for us. So we're on it.

Q. When you watch film, have you been able to go back and point to certain keys that this is what we have to concentrate on?

COACH CARROLL: It always comes down, third down always comes to guys in one on one situations. Whether you're the pass pro guy, the guy running the route, the guy throwing the football or the back pass protection or on the other side in coverage. It always comes down to that one guy in that one situation has to come through. So often you can set up your third down package to focus on a couple of guys, and that really hasn't come together for us as well as we'd like.

Joe (McKnight) has always been a big deal to us, because of the route running that he can run and all of that. But we haven't been as productive getting the football to him in those situations. Damian has been a guy that we've tried to get the ball to also in those situations. So it hasn't really mixed as well.

It's taking us more time than we'd like. With Matt's (Barkley) newness and just the familiarity of stuff, that's where we're still behind on that, so we're trying to catch up and as we go here. Hopefully we'll get better.

We've had a couple of good games but not enough consistency, obviously. So we're still working on it.

Q. Will you bring up the visit (by Stanford) to your place (in 2007)?

COACH CARROLL: No, I won't bring up the visit to their place last year either.

Q. How do you prepare for the speed that Chris Owusu can bring on kick returns?

COACH CARROLL: Well, he's got terrific speed. With three touchdowns, he's got our attention already. You know, so we have to make sure it's not just his speed, but their execution of the block team is really good. And we have to really be precise on how we hit our fits on the kickoff.

We have to put the ball where we want to and all that kind of stuff. But, yeah, we're on him. It's obvious. He's also a terrific deep threat for them, too. Just amplifies that you need to know where he is in all situations.

Q. So much attention to Gerhart. What are your thoughts on (fullback Owen) Marecic going both ways?

COACH CARROLL: I think it's extraordinary. I love that the guy gets the chance to do it. That's real football. That's a throwback situation for a guy that obviously just demonstrates, you know, he has to be a really bright football player or they couldn't even begin to approach that. He has to be a physically talented kid, which he obviously is.

I love it. I hope he'll be able to keep doing it. It's a great message to send about how the game used to be played and you used to count on guys to do stuff like that. It's just young kids can't even fathom the thought.

So you think of wide receivers or DB's going over there and catching a few balls like Ted Ginn or something like that, that's understood. But for the guy to get in the trenches and the intricacies of playing the fullback position and going and playing middle linebacker, there is so much there that it's amazing that he'd be able to handle it. But he's he'll get better because he's talented.

Q. D.J. Shoemate was doing that for you playing linebacker and fullback. Is he going to fill in this week for Stanley (Havili)? Is Stanley coming back anytime soon?

COACH CARROLL: Stanley should start this week. We're planning on him going full go. To the other side, D.J.'s focused on offense primarily, and that's where he's stayed.

We're expecting Stanley to play in a full time duties this week. D.J.'s done a nice job of coming in for him, and D.J. will be available as well, of course. But we're anxious to have Stanley back on the field.

Q. Do you think you'll get Everson Griffen back?

COACH CARROLL: Don't know yet. It's day to day with him. He's getting close. It's much better than it was. He ran at practice and took some snaps yesterday. We need to see if he can make it through the week and survive it and all that. But he did practice some, so we'll have to wait to see.

Q. What was a tougher loss for you, I guess, personally, the Stanford one or Oregon?

COACH CARROLL: They're all horrible. You know, they hit and cut deep and they don't go away. So we have fortunately, I have not so many that I can't remember them all. They all are miserable. There's nothing about any of them that have been okay. They're not the same. They've been different. But I don't have a good answer. They're in a big heap of misery, I guess.

Q. When you look at the film of what Stanford did, especially like Toby had 223 yards against a good Oregon defense, did it surprise you at all that scheme?

COACH CARROLL: It surprised me the way they did it. They didn't do it running the football, they did it by throwing the ball. They totally bombed them. They went deep I don't know, ten times in the first half or something and hit about six of them.

They got the big chunks of field taken away in the passing game. Of course they had the running game. That was there as well. So their aggressiveness is what would surprise you when you go back and look at it, and the nature that it came out in the throwing game.

As the game wore on and they had developed this factor that they were going to go after you in the throwing game, the running game became easy for them and he just pounded away.

Late in the game they were trying to run the clock and get the game over with. The game couldn't end fast enough because Oregon came running back. And Oregon missed numerous chances to score faster. They were on fire again with their approach, but they had miscues. They dropped balls and had some penalties and things like that that kept them from really getting going, and they still scored 42.

It was an amazing game. It was a true track meet. It was one of those kinds of games. I think it was 31 7 or something like that at one time in the middle of the second quarter. They had just jumped all over them.

So the mindset of Oregon got shifted. They weren't able to just stay with their running game and their approach. They kind of started mixing it which I think slowed them down a little bit. When they got back to really they finally hit some runs and then the passing game became wide open. It was an amazing game.

Q. You and Coach Harbaugh have had to raise freshman quarterbacks this year. Do you think what he said two or three weeks ago that Andrew Luck was the best quarterback in the country? Do you think that was the right thing to put the pressure on him?

COACH CARROLL: I don't know. It depends on the kid. I don't know why that's putting pressure on him. If he's a heck of a kid and a great solid individual, you can tell them what you feel.

You know, Jim's not a guy to mince words now, you know. He's going to say what he thinks. I'm sure that's what he feels about him. This is a really, really good kid. He's a really good player. I can see why he can get caught up in that.

And look what they've done since then as far as allowing him to throw the things that they're throwing and they open up their opportunities for him. That's a demonstration of their beliefs. So I mean he's telling what he feels.

Q. Two years ago Jim Harbaugh was talking about you going to the NFL. Now you're still here. It's turned around. Can you talk about him going to the NFL? Do you chuckle over that?

COACH CARROLL: I think Jim would do a great job in the league (laughing). Obviously it's in the family. His brother's doing fine. You're either competing or you're not.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Stanford football head coach Jim Harbaugh

On the win over Oregon

'Well it was a heck of an opportunity for our football team to express who it was and we knew that going into the game. I was really proud of our players for how they played and our coaches and how the team prepared for that football game. Going forward, this is put up or shut up time for Stanford football and for us to continue in the Pac-10 race to win the championship and we've got to win this week so we'll attempt to do both. Play the best of our god-given ability and not really talk about it, just try to be about it.'

On Toby Gerhart's ability

'Well he's fun to watch play football. Tough, smart, competitive, really talented, he's a shining star for us. He really lifts our football team at times onto his back and carries them. I think the really neat thing about Toby is that he'll be the first to tell you that it's his offensive line or his fullback Owen Marecic or how the play of Andrew Luck helps the running game. That's great for a coach to have a star player that thinks that way and genuinely thinks that way. It's about the team and not about him. That's what makes him really special.'

On quarterback Andrew Luck and his ability

'He's playing really well and he's exceeded our hopes and our expectations for how he would play this year.'

On status of defense

'Well last week we played good enough to win and Oregon punted the ball five times which is the most they've punted it all year and we were able to get a fumble, a turnover. But we played, I think collectively, individually, the guys had some good games, not their best, not the best of their careers, not the best this season, and a lot of that I think was Oregon's attack. Oregon's offense is really good and they way they're executing, the way their quarterback's playing, the running back, the weapons that they have and the job that Chip Kelly has done and their whole staff has done. You have your hands full playing that team. I think our football team did well considering that.'

On memories of last visit to the Coliseum

'I have good memories. Those will be memories that I'm sure I'll have the rest of my life.'

On things taken from that game

'I think there's no question that everything that's happened to us as a football team, well we're almost going on three years now, the great things, the horrible things, the good, the bad, all the hard work by so many people, that makes us who we are. Certainly that experience factors in, but we're trying to get a win right now. We understand the challenge and that certainly motivates our football team and it's going to need to have a great week of practice and preparation for the ballgame Saturday.'

On thoughts of USC football team

'There's a lot of good things and challenges across the board. No weaknesses and that includes all three phases. Well coached, very talented football team. It's a great challenge for us, we'll be fighting for our lives.'

On the redshirt year of Andrew Luck

'Well it was meant to his development. I think it was good in our case, it was good in Andrew's case. There was a lot of thought to it. We had a senior quarterback Tavita Pritchard that we trusted very much and we thought the best thing for our football team was to play Tavita.'

On playing of Richard Sherman

'Definitely possible and we'd like our opponent to at least have that thought too.'On the team putting aside high-fives after wins (like against Oregon)'We're talking about getting ready for USC here. One thing though, I think it has been true, is that we have been fortunate as a football team to play the team that beat USC the week after they beat them. There was something to that, I can't measure that or quantify that, but that's definitely been a good thing for Stanford football.'

On moving forward with preparations after the program's success

'Well that's something that we want. We want to be in the mix. We've been looking at this right now as compared to the NFL playoffs and I think it's probably the closest thing to what our situation is. It started last week with Oregon. We had to win, stay, and hunt for the Pac-10 championship and the same is true this week. We lose and we're out of that. We win and we're still in it. That's tough, that's like put up or shut up time like I said before. That's kind of our only mode.'

On win over USC a few years ago

'Well it was a great and thrilling victory. It was a great feeling of winning.'

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