Tuesday's Press Conference Quotes

Oct. 21, 2003


Opening Statement
'It was a frustrating loss on Saturday (to Washington State). Our players played hard in all facets of the game. Big plays affected the outcome; they made them and we did not. The attitude of the team is very solid. They realize how close we are and they're excited to get back to work.

On Stanford's Quarterback Situation
'We had an injury to Trent (Edwards) on Saturday night. Chris Lewis spoke with (Trent) and the team on Sunday, and Chris will be our starter on Saturday afternoon. Trent's situation will be day-to-day. We did not work Sunday or Monday, so I'm not sure what his practice status is. He'll see some of our people this afternoon, and we'll find out on the field. But, I thought Chris did a very nice job stepping into the ballgame (last Saturday). He's been steady and consistent in practice. His attitude has been tremendous, and he's stayed focused. We talked to him about being prepared, and I believe that he is. We're excited for him, and I've said many times, we have three guys we feel can do the job thoroughly. We also spoke with Kyle Matter about being prepared. Could you see two quarterbacks? Yes, you could. Could you see three quarterbacks? Yes, you could. But right now Chris will be our starter on Saturday. He's excited, and we're excited for him.

Any time you work with the QB's, you assess the whole package. Chris did a good job in that game, and we took a look at the tapes and assessed. I was pleased with what he did. I was not displeased with what Trent did, but I also had to factor in that his shoulder was injured, and made a decision based on all the information I had.'

On Trent Edwards' Status
'Trent was injured (in Saturday's game versus Washington State), but it does not appear significant, and it's just a matter of how quickly he rebounds. I expect to see him dressed today, but what can he do? An injury to a throwing arm of a quarterback will obviously be different than an offensive lineman or a defensive back. What can he do and what does he feel comfortable doing? But right now, Chris is the guy, and let's move forward.'

(Later in conference) 'Trent took a couple shots and was a bit woozy at one point, but nothing that would keep him out for any significant period.'

On Chris Lewis' Performance At Oregon Two Seasons Ago
'I haven't looked back [at that game on October 20, 2001] because I wasn't here. We're really just looking at the present. We really appreciated and admired his attitude. He had the opportunity to step in (last Saturday versus Washington State), and he did a nice job with it. He moved the team and threw the football well. He took some hits and bounced right back up. We need that productivity at the quarterback spot.

On Chris Lewis' Experience
'The play is pretty consistent across the board. We do put a great deal of responsibility on the quarterbacks, getting in and out of plays and dictating our approach based on personnel. I feel that all of them can do a great job with it. (Quarterbacks coach) Bill Cubit has done a great job with the QB's in that regard, so we have challenged Trent (Edwards) since he does not have the experience Chris (Lewis) has had, and that certainly is apparent, as we've watched Chris on the field. But, we will not drastically alter anything, and we will play to the strengths of each individual. We have high expectations of great performers.'

On Goals For The Offense
'We need to run the football. Kenny Tolon, J.R. Lemon, and David Marrero have had opportunities, and we'll continue to give them the football. We need to demonstrate balance. We do have a younger offensive line and they continue to grow. With the injury to (starting center) Brian Head, Drew Caylor is coming in and is really no further along than any of the redshirt freshmen because he has never played the offensive line spot. We're looking for guys to emerge and in each game we see strides and progress. Their attitude and work ethic has been very solid. We need to protect the passer. As for throwing the football, we like to push the ball down the field on occasion, but again keep the mindset that we need to take what people will give us. We need to be opportunistic. We've only seen snapshots and segments of that during the course of the ballgame, and we need to put it all together on a more regular basis. Field position is very important and of course special teams come into play, but that does affect the offense as well. Playing on a long field, we want to move the ball and create field position opportunities. Whether through turnover or field position swing, we need to put the ball in the end zone.'

On Recent Pac-10 Surprises
'There is so much balance and parity across the board. If the QB gets a hot hand or somebody gets injured or somebody steps up, things change quickly. This is true in college football now more so than in any point in college football history, you see upsets and these guys are just doing it with regularity. You've got to come to play every Saturday. It comes down to the team that makes great plays in critical situations that has success. There is the opportunity for anybody to go in playing hard, competing, and making great plays to have success.'

On The 36-Yard Pass To Gerren Crochet Versus Washington State
'We were concerned with getting the ball down the field. Mark Bradford continues to emerge. Evan Moore continues to emerge. Gerren Crochet had a couple of opportunities. Luke Powell was down the field on a couple occasions, we didn't have the opportunity to get the ball to him, but that's important. The ability to pick a 25, 40, 60 yarder certainly makes a difference in field position and productivity.'

On Stanford's Young Offensive Line
'I look at progression. Our schedule has escalated each week, and we are playing some very talented defensive football teams across the board. There is a lot of pressure and a lot of things our guys have not experienced before. So, when you have five games to draw from, that's not an appreciable amount for an offensive lineman. What I see is progress each week. Somebody does something a little bit better, somebody progresses, somebody sees the blitz, and somebody passes off a zone combination a little better. It's certainly hard to measure that progress, but when you look at Kirk Chambers, he's our only lineman with experience. He has mentored our young players very effectively, but again they have to draw on the experience they gain each Saturday. To see David Beall, Ismail Simpson, Drew Caylor, Jeff Edwards, Jon Cochran, Mike Sullivan, who was out for a bit and is a fifth year senior who hasn't seen a lot of time, I'm encouraged with the attitude of the offensive line. They have been more confident and little more physical. They have the expectation to run the football more productively, the ability to pass protect more effectively, and that obviously has ramifications at every other position.

On Drew Caylor Moving To The Center Position
'I give him tremendous credit. The young man has been on the defensive line for pretty much the extent of his entire career. We switched him into the tight end spot a little bit last year and didn't really follow through with it. Then to have him come over to the offensive side as a tackle. That's a huge transition, physically and psychologically, and now he's our starting center. It's a great tribute to his athleticism that he can snap and step at the same time. Everything is directed around the center. He directs protections and identifies people. (Offensive line coach) Steve Morton has done a great job in a short period of time developing him at that spot. Drew's confidence continues to come. On Saturday, he played a total of about 115 plays including special teams. For a guy that had previously had 20 or 25 snaps, he has had to quadruple it. That's a big step. He is handling it well. He's a new face in there. It's a first time opportunity. When he had played, it was a little bit at center and a little bit at tackle. Now, it's all at the center position. He will grow through it. There will be some growing pains, but he has to rely on Ismail Simpson and Jeff Edwards, two guys who don't have a lot of experience, to help him inside. That core is very important. He is moving forward, and we believe he will do the job we need inside.'

On Eric Johnson's Punt Inside The 20 Versus Washington State
'Special teams coach Tom Quinn has done a great job with that. Eric has worked very hard on that as well. Field position is so important for our team. To manage to drop it down inside the 10 or the 5-yard line, to pin people down and force them to play on the long field is very important. This was the first time we did that this year. Eric felt real good about it, and we were all pretty excited about it. It put Washington State in a disadvantageous position.'

On Stanford's Running Game
'We have three guys that have seen time. Kenny Tolon has been the most productive up to date. He's a tough guy to get a big hit on. He can carry the ball physiologically a little bit more than the other guys. J.R. Lemon ran hard on limited opportunities last Saturday. David Marrero is a different style of runner, but he has the ability to slash more productively and successfully. We need to incorporate all three of those guys into the plan, and we need to run the football productively. In the recent weeks, people have identified that we (opposing team) will pressure these guys. We feel comfortable with our cover people. We will send six, seven people on a regular basis. So this is designed to shut down the run and pressure the pass, and has had some success. The response to that is to put the ball outside on some single route or combinations. We have had some success doing that. Some of the three-step game have been successful in the latter quarters, especially the latter halves of the USC and Washington State games, which basically were responses to people crowding the box and negating your run by the numbers and the pressure. So we decided to go outside and throw the ball. The balance is a critical point. You can't be one dimensional, especially in this league, and expect to have success. We need to have that run game continue to grow and emerge. With the development of the offensive line, this will happen. We will need to keep people spread out enough to keep people down the field. I would like to, with the pass game, put people a little farther down the field. In the step game, it certainly gets the ball out of the QB's hand off the ball more quickly, but the yardage gain is somewhat limited. The chance to put it down a little further would certainly be more helpful. It's a combination of pressure you face, what they do, the numbers you've got, you block six and they've got seven coming, you better get out of your hand quickly. Some of this is strategic, tactical and the other stuff is developmental with the interior line.'

On Facing Four Rushers
'At USC, they did a god job. From what I have seen, they probably have the best four down rushers in college football. They're four gifted (future) NFL players, edge to edge. They mix it up, they're athletic, and they have good speed. Last week, the pressure was from bigger guys and penetration was really key. They had real good ends. They ran well and probably came off as good as or better than the ends we faced at USC in terms of speed and athleticism. So, we have been okay with four guys, but USC is the exception. Outside USC, we face more five, six, seven men pressures that tie up all of your people and try to stretch your offensive front, requiring you to keep a back and tight end in as well.'

On Facing A Team (Oregon) You Know You Will Have To Pass Against
'There are two schools of thought and one is to keep them off balance. Pressure has been a great plus for us this year. Last Saturday, we were effective getting linebackers to force the QB to reset his feet. The safeties we sent in did well ... sacks, pressures, forced movement with the QB, which affects the timing of the passing game. You want to be able to present that, but you want the ability to play coverage. The combination is the most problematic for the opponent. We try to keep them guessing. If you go one dimensional, they scheme up to protect. They try to attack you one-on-one. If you play too much drop and defend the pass, you open up seams inside in the running game. Our approach against these guys, and they have some talented QB's (Kellen Clemens and Jason Fife) are good receivers along with (Demetrius) Williams and (Samie) Parker, is to try to keep them somewhat off balance and try to mix and match as best we can.'

On Having No Sacks Versus Washington State
'Obviously, any time you can get the quarterback on the ground, is good. The key is forcing guys to hold the football. It's real difficult to generate pass pressure on a guy who is 1,2,3 and the ball's off. We see that ourselves. There's not a lot of sacks in a three-step game. You get into more difficulties than in a five or seven-step game. As for getting to him, I thought Amon Gordon played very well last Saturday. I think we need more pressure and push inside. The edge pressure is something we would like to continue to work with, whether it's a linebacker or a defensive end working with the interior people. The more sacks, the better. By coverage, we're forcing him to hold onto the football. We're getting home when we send in a fifth, sixth, or seventh defender. He did a nice job and hit a couple big passes. That's chunk yardage, as I look to it as, Matt Kegal hit four, five, six passes that accumulated yardage. We knocked one of those down; it's an errant pass, its looks a little bit different. He's a talented quarterback. He's rated highly for a reason; he puts the ball on the money. He's also got some guys who go up and get it.'

On Michael Craven
'He continues to emerge. His athleticism and his grasp defensively is locked into what we're doing. We'll continue to see him. He can be a very productive player. Having said that, Kevin Schimmelmann continues to perform very well. He moved from the safety position to the outside backers' spot. He is a very cerebral player and a very physical player. That adds up because when you can play six different linebackers, that helps us in terms of freshness and the duration to which we can continue to compete. That was one of the marks we hit on Saturday. I thought our players played hard on both sides of the ball. In special teams right through the entire sixty minutes. It was a long ballgame. About one hundred snaps offensively and more than a hundred defensively when you take away the penalties, that's a lot of football played.'

On The Defensive End's Role Guarding The Receiver
'It's putting yourself in position to make the play. They were one-on-one and going up, we got a couple. Leigh Torrence got one up in the end zone pass on a long pass and broke it up. He eyed the ball, knocked it down, and stripped the receiver. The technique is very similar with all those guys. The critical point is making a play. We did it on occasion. We'd like to do a little more of it. On an offensive reciprocal, when we send a guy down the field we need to make that catch. It's the encouraging thing to see guys that are in position to make plays. The more often they're there, the more we'll come down with plays on our side. We're playing some very good people. Washington State's receivers, USC's receivers, Washington's receivers are talented guys. We're playing one-on-one with any of those guys on any spot of the field. We need to play with confidence that we have the ability to make those plays.'

On Oregon
'They're a very solid football team. They have the ability to have great success any time they go out there. They are explosive offensively. They have the ability to throw the football. They have good wide receivers and running backs, solid on the offensive line, do a good job protecting the passer, and are a little more mobile on their launch point. They'll move the QB, and they're not afraid to get him on the perimeter. It's difficult to pin down where he'll be. That puts more pressure on your defensive front, linebackers and secondary players. They are very thorough on offense. They have chances to makes some very big plays, but not everything was there. At Michigan, they put everything together and that's the team that we expect to see on Saturday. Defensively, they are a very physical team. Igor Olshansky is as good a defensive end as you can find ... physical, aggressive, fast, and makes plays. He's a tough guy. Junior Siavii is another big guy that's a great force. He penetrates and has great feet for his size. The linebacker and quarterback are very solid and aggressive. The back end players do a great job. They have some experience back there. Keith Lewis and Steven Moore have done some nice things that we have seen. People have thrown the ball on them on occasion, but that's more an exception to the rule.'

On Playing At Oregon
'Our guys are excited to play away. It's been just the layout of the schedule. We've been on the road a fair amount. They do a nice job at Oregon. For our guys to be in that type of environment is the picture we've painted for our players. It's a great college venue to play football. They've had great success in recent years. We need to go up and play well as we expect them to. We feel that we run fairly well. From a defensive standpoint, it's a plus for us. We have some receivers that have the ability to go a little bit a well. We need to come out and play to the fullest of our abilities, which I expect us to. People ask what have you done and so forth. Our attitude as a team carried through the players is that it is that close and this one could be the one. That's the expectation we have each week. We are prepared for someone like Oregon. We have seen how talented they are in all facets of their game. We need to bring our best. With the week off, they want to have the best presentation on Saturday as well.'

On Short Yardage Situations
'Any time you get in short yardage situations, you have to assess what your team does well, what the other team does well and anticipate how they look to defend that. You can come up with a variety of options to draw from. You need to get in the end zone when you're in that area.'

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