Tuesday's Press Conference Quotes

Oct. 28, 2003

Opening Comments
'Obviously, (it was) a disappointing weekend (at Oregon). We went up to Oregon with high expectations. We faced a good team, and they played much the way they did against Michigan. They did well on offense and defense and did a good job on special teams. We had a tough job getting them off the field in the first half. Offensively, I thought we pass protected better and made some big plays, which was a goal of ours. The biggest frustration was not putting points on the board. Obviously, that's the bottom line. When you see a score of 35-0, nothing sounds good. But from an offensive standpoint, we put ourselves in a position to put points up on the board, and we came up short. We'll take a look schematically to see what we can do better, execute cleanly and put the ball in the end zone. Defensively, I thought we played better in the second half, were more productive and more efficient. As for special teams, when we get the ball in the field goal area, we'd like to convert. For our punting situation, Eric (Johnson) has been fairly consistent during the course of the year. We'll continue to emphasize cover teams and so forth.

Where does that leave us? We're happy to come back home. UCLA's a very talented team, and they play real solid football. I've been impressed by their running back, and their defense has been very solid and productive for them. They're probably similar to us in many regards. Offensively, they've been producing points, and defensively they've stopped a variety of different offenses. The attitude of our players is very solid and strong. We're obviously frustrated because we are playing hard as a team, and we expect that to continue. Being off the road will be a plus. Coming back and seeing the home crowd will be great.'

On Stanford's Quarterback Position
'Chris Lewis will be our starting quarterback. He did some very positive things on Saturday. He connected with Mark Bradford, and I thought Mark had an outstanding day. He's a very talented receiver, and the more snaps he gets as a young guy, the more productive he'll become. (His) decision making was positive; obviously, there's always a few plays a quarterback would like to have back, but he did some very positive things. Trent (Edwards) is still a little bit sore right now. He'll be assessed today by the physicians, and we'll find out where he is.'

On Stanford's Offense
'Numbers are deceiving on occasion, but we had 150 yards on the ground, and when you subtract sacks and so forth, that's some productivity. The protection was a little bit better. We had 225 yards throwing the football, a little bit more productivity. We just need to continue to improve in those areas. We'll get yards any way we can but having some degree of balance on the offensive front simplifies a little bit what the defensive secondaries will do to you.

We had felt the need to make bigger plays. We let the quarterback hold the ball a little longer and push the ball downfield. The pass protection, especially in the first half, was very good. We had a couple breakdowns in the second half that need to be corrected. One of the things we really push on the QBs is getting the ball out of his hands quickly so that it doesn't stress the offensive line. But Chris made some good decisions, pulled the ball down, and ran productively to pick up a couple first downs.'

On The Goal Line Failure In The Second Half At Oregon
'We weren't able to put the ball in the end zone. The focus will come down to the offensive line. We had seven opportunities, and we didn't score. We'll assess the situation of how, what, why, and see what happened. But when it comes to situations like that, you have to get points. I'm confident we'll do that in the future, but we didn't do that on Saturday for a variety of reasons, all of which are correctable. We haven't demonstrated that we are a big scorer ... 17, 21 points ... that's where we've been. The frustration comes when you don't put it in when you have that opportunity.'

On Saturday's Game At Oregon As An Aberration
'I view it more as an aberration than a step back. The attitude of our players, the work, the execution on the field, have all been good. The most glaring thing was not getting the ball in the end zone. When you look up and you see a goose egg on the board, that's tough. But we didn't have a lot of three and outs, we kept their offense on the sidelines. There was productivity across the board. The offensive line has taken a definite step forward. And Oregon is a very good football team. I realize they were on a three-game skid as well, but they will be someone to contend with. We helped them when we didn't capitalize on our opportunities. They were a team looking for an identity as well. They found it and we didn't.'

On LukePowell
'People focus on the San Jose State game where Luke caught a dozen balls. Now defenses try to remove him, double him up and try a variety of things. The prudent thing to do is to look elsewhere and look elsewhere. Fortunately, Greg Camarillo has made a number of catches and Mark Bradford continues to emerge, so you have other options, which should open Luke up in the future.'

On The Emotion At Oregon
'We talked to the team about the huge rush (from Oregon's fans), and if we could stymie that rush, it would be removed from the ballgame. Unfortunately, we didn't. They've got a great crowd up there and allowing the crowd to become a factor certainly made an impact. Then the emotional end from pushing and not coming up with points makes you forget how you got there and you focus solely on your frustration at not scoring. If you get the touchdown, the field goal, and you don't turn the ball over, then people begin to feel better about themselves. The thing that I admire in our players is the leadership we continue to see. People take responsibility and hold themselves accountable. They continue to play hard, and I keep telling you we'll have that breakthrough opportunity. It hasn't arrived yet, but I'm very confident that it will arrive quickly.'

On Michael Sgroi's Kicking
'He's a very solid kicker mechanically with a tremendously powerful leg. He has worked out with a number of guys who went on to play in the NFL. Sometimes a guy gets it in his head that there's a problem, and it's hard to remove that. You just have to push everything that's happened aside, and do what you do best. Matt is very frustrated with himself, and it's something we'll work on at practice. But he's a talented kicker, and I'm sure he'll be back.'

On Coaching During A Losing Streak
'Certainly it's a challenge because you hear and read negative things, and certainly players deal with that on a daily basis. It goes back to the foundation you've laid, and during the off season we stressed leadership and we've seen that surface, especially with our seniors. You just have to continue to push. Sometimes you push too hard, and defensively I think that was what happened. They tried to make every tackle, and you need to play responsibility football. The nice thing is that you can identify the problems; players can sit down and watch it on tape. Our players are human and they want to win, but they understand that they need to just keep pushing, keep pushing. There's an old adage; just pound the rock and at some point it will crack.'

On Moral Victories
'It's a winning and losing world, and that's the bottom line. The focus is to play up to our potential in all facets of the game. The attitude of the players has been tremendous and that has been their most encouraging aspect. Again, I do see development. Nick Frank is out, Scott Scharf is out, Casey Carol is injured. I thought Amon Gordon really stepped up, and Mark Bradford played well. A lot of guys made tremendous strides. So you present those things to the players, and they realize that it doesn't take away the frustration, but there's a resolve to continue and look for that successful opportunity.'

On The Opportunity Of Playing UCLA
'We respect the opponent we play, but we feel we have the opportunity to compete and have success every time we go out on the field. That's the challenge, to go out and execute and play with emotion as a team. The critical component is the team package. We can't concentrate on one side, or the other side, or special teams. We have to play a complete game in all aspects.'

On Being Shutout At Oregon
'Statistics can be misleading. Oregon is a very good football team, and the team that we saw is the one that we saw in the tape against Michigan, not the one we saw the last couple weeks. They'd turned the ball over a bunch, given up field position, and their running game had been shut down. Obviously, the week off was very beneficial for them. The frustration of a shutout is just something you have to deal with. The bottom line is that it is a goose egg, and you don't like to have that.'

'They are a very solid football team and very stout defensively. The Ball brothers (Dave and Mat) at the end positions are very athletic and play with a lot of emotion. The linebackers are an athletic crew and the cover people do a very nice job with a straightforward scheme that they play very well. Offensively, they mix the run, the pass and the play action. (Quarterback Matt) Moore has been very productive and the running backs impress me. The receivers have had a number of big catches. They are very skilled and the offensive linemen have been playing very well. They don't turn the ball over very much, and they play very effectively within their system. The defense has really done a very good job, turning the ball over and making big plays.

Offensively, they have some big play weapons and you need to eliminate those. They throw the ball well so putting pressure on the passer will be important for us. We need to be disciplined with our responsibilities and in our cover lanes. Defensively, they are very solid, so we will just need to be patient. They put pressure on the quarterback, and they are probably as good a defensive outfit as we've seen. We need to establish the running game and have some balance and also put the ball down the field. They play some good coverage, a little bit different, and they present some different problems and concerns.'

On UCLA's Strong Defense
'They play good football. They allow yards very grudgingly. They defend the run very well and pressure the quarterback to put you in tough situations. Then people have to play catch-up football, and they can pressure the quarterback more.'

On Stanford's Tight Ends
'We've used them less because people have taken some of the things we did earlier away, which is only natural. We had a bunch of catches with Alex (Smith) and Brett (Pierce) earlier, so people defend that. We would like to get them involved more because they are gifted and catch the ball well. Anytime you are running the ball, the tight end is huge, and also with play action. Our three tight ends have all played well. They can catch the ball well, and we would like to pass to them more.'

On Oregon's Defensive Scheme
'It's standard fare now to put eight guys in the box and some teams put nine and try to shut you down. You can't block them all, so you block the ones you can and deflect the rest. So, we ran a no-huddle offense and put a lot of responsibility in the hands of the quarterback. If they load it up, we'll throw the football, and if they play coverage, we'll run the football.'

On Stanford's Offense
'Coming up with zero points is the biggest question. Take away the goal line situation. We put ourselves in a situation to have success. We felt we need to make big plays and get chunk yardage where we get 15, 20, 30, 70 yards. We protected well enough to get the ball off, we threw the ball well enough and the receivers made the catches. You tie all that together, so I feel we are progressing. We're more aware of things down the field and these things tie into each other. We aren't doing simple three steps and get the ball out. Now, we're doing more things that are forcing people to defend. We're running the ball, doing play action, short routes. We'd like to involve the tight ends more, get more intermediate passes, and hit receivers further down field. In terms of progression, that's the perspective I take. Yes, I wish we had a bunch of wins, but offensively we're very young. Brian Head, our most experienced center, is out. So we adjust and we continue to move forward, and we're playing more productively. I know that sounds kind of Polly Anna when you lose 35-0, but it's an ongoing process and we understood that going in. We expected to have a couple more wins at this point, but they're coming.'

On Mark Bradford
'He's just an athletic guy. He's a tough guy to press cover and that's almost the norm now, to get up in the receiver's face. He has very good body control while the ball is in flight. He makes plays and has the ability after the catch to make guys miss, so he's really coming along. He's a young guy learning a system, and he's making progress and his confidence is improving.'

Opening Statement
'Hello everyone and welcome to week nine of our season. Obviously four games left and we feel real good with where we are at in terms of being in the upper tier of the conference. Obviously these games ahead are going to be a tough stretch for us. Three of the four games are on the road and we are going to obviously have to start playing at our best. I think that the signs for last week are positive signs that our team is starting to play a little bit better in all phases. Our defense has been playing well all season long. I knew that, but offensively we were able to do some things that were very positive steps forward and hopefully we can build on that going into this last stretch here. Like in all cases though in the game of football, you always have your injuries and like any other team that you play and that is part of the game. But I think that losing Manuel White is going to be a significant blow for us, but we got some other guys that had been playing and playing well when Manuel was absent in the second half of the game and did some good things. Rodney Leisle also left early in the game with a high-ankle sprain. Whether he will be available this week we don't know for certain right now. With a high-ankle sprain it is usually a weeks type of injury so we will have to evaluate as we move on through this given week. But other than that, we are still hanging in there. Our kids are getting better and we're starting to play with some focus and things are starting to come together so hopefully we can continue that trend, in particularly this last stretch of the season. With that being said, I'd like to open things up for questioning please.

Will Maurice Drew be the starting tailback this week?
No. Even though Maurice had a very good game and he had both of his carries in the second half, Tyler is our starting tailback. What we have done with that position is very good anyway. We've done a good thing of packaging people and utilizing them at certain times, periods of not only the game but certain things we do from a personnel standpoint and I think that we are going to continue with that trend and then evaluate as the game goes on. Maurice had a very good game, but the previous two games Tyler's played very well. So we're going to continue the role, but we have one less guy because Manuel is out of that picture now. Akil Harris is in that third position now, but we're probably going to be doing the same philosophy that we have been doing the past four or five weeks.

Do things have to change a little bit with Manuel being out because he was so versatile and could play fullback. Can the other guys do the same things he did?
No, that is why he was very versatile. He was our fullback and tailback. We don't really have anybody else in our backfield that can play both positions so that was his versatility - being able to play both the fullback and tailback position. We will have two fullbacks in Pat Norton and J.D. Groves carrying the load at that position now.

Can Norton catch the ball like Manuel? Could or do you have a fullback who can do that?
I think so. Pat made a key catch for us in the week previous in the CAL game on a third and short situation. So, you know I think those guys will get better now that they're in their positions to getting some playing time and splitting some duty at that position. I feel real confident with those two guys. They've had some playing experience this year and I think that they will do a nice job for us.

Do you expect that Akil will play?
Well, he has now moved up into our third slot. We'll probably still feature the two, but he'll be ready and he'll take some reps in practice. If need be, he'll be ready for action if it comes to that.

Is losing Manuel almost like losing two players?
In a way it is, you know because like Brian said he is a dual role type of player. His versatility gave us you know obviously some versatility in our offense. The thing about our offense is, you know that we will function just fine, we just won't have guys that play both roles.

How do you think Kevin Brown played?
He actually played well for his first time playing in the heat of a battle. I think that at the beginning he struggled with the speed of the game, but as he settled down he ended up playing fairly well. I think that for him to watch the game yesterday with the rest of the lineman and see the issues that he had and the concerns he had going into that game, I think that he will be a lot better this given week. But he played like a young player. As the game got going and he started to settle in, he ended up playing well for us.

Is Jason Harrison any closer to being back?
He's pretty close. From a doctor's determination he is ready to go but he's still wearing a knee brace and he's still not favoring it. But he's not 100 percent like he was before the injury so he's still working his way through that. But he's been practicing and doing everything like helping on our scout teams and trying to get himself back into playing shape. He's getting close.

Any more on (Matt) Ware as far as an estimated return?
High-ankle sprains you have to evaluate day-to-day and for him, he won't be able to do anything or we can't judge or make an assessment on him until he starts running and doing some stuff and he hasn't been able to do that yet. So hopefully he might be able to do some jogging tomorrow but he's been in a boot so its harder to make that determination right now.

Quotes from UCLA head coach Karl Dorrell courtesy of the the UCLA Media Relations office.

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