In the Trenches with Isaiah Stanback

Oct. 26, 2004

Garfield High School graduate Isaiah Stanback has been a fan favorite since he first set foot on campus, both with his ability to make plays with his arm and his legs, and his winning smile and flowing locks. After throwing for two touchdowns in three quarters of work against Oregon State two weeks ago, Stanback earned his first-career start last weekend at No. 1 USC. This week, Stanback battles Carl Bonnell, who started two games before going down with an injury earlier this season, for the right to take on the Northwest rival Oregon Ducks on Saturday. reporter Jesse Hulsing met with Stanback Monday to discuss the USC game, and the team's plans for this Saturday. Against Oregon State, you put up some pretty good numbers. What kind of expectations did you have coming out against a powerful USC defense?
Isaiah Stanback: 'I always have high expectations for myself. They were a good team, but I still should have been able to execute. I put that on myself more than anybody.'

GH: What do you need to do to win the job this week against Oregon?
Stanback: 'I just need to come out and work hard this week in practice. I'll look at the tape and try to find the corrections that I need to make. Hopefully, I'll be able to go out and throw the ball well against Oregon.'

GH: Coach Gilbertson said that even though you are having a rough season, everyone has still kept their heads up and are playing hard. How do you stay positive?
Stanback: 'Our team has heart. Even though our record shows that we aren't a good team, we go out and practice hard. Everybody's spirits are still up, even though we are frustrated. We come to practice to make sure we get better, and we'll come out battling every week. It shows that our team has character and we are not going to stop fighting.'

GH: What do you think is the most important thing for the team to work on during practice this week?
Stanback: 'I really can't just point out one thing. We need to go over everything. Every week we find something different that we need to get better at.'

GH: Do you feel you're a better quarterback when you're scrambling?
Stanback: 'I wouldn't say better, but I would say I'm more comfortable outside of the pocket. But that is mostly because of past experience.'

GH: How nice is it to have an offensive line that rarely allows a sack?
Stanback: 'It's good. It makes you a lot more comfortable out there. It's something different than what I had in high school. It's nice to be able to rely on those guys up front to provide some time for you.'

GH: A lot has been made this year about inexperience in the receiving corps. Do you feel that's been an issue this year?
Stanback: 'I can't really say. They have played more games at receiver than I have at quarterback, so as far as I'm concerned they have more experience than I do. We are all learning -- we can't just blame it on inexperience. We just have to keep working.'

GH: Do you think that, as a team, you have the talent and ability to play at a higher level than what you have been?
Stanback: 'It's hard to tell. Coach has said that there has been no consistency, and there hasn't been. One week we'll do something well, and then the next week that same thing will be our biggest problem. But we definitely have potential and we are going to keep fighting until we turn it around. We have four more weeks to figure out what is going on.'

GH: Most people believe that the Washington-Oregon rivalry is one of the strongest in the West. What are your expectations of the atmosphere in Autzen Stadium this week?
Stanback: 'I'm sure we'll have some crowd noise, but I really don't know what to expect because last year I only played in a couple of plays. I'm still learning the rivalry part of it, but I have to treat it as another team. Every Pac-10 team is a good team.'

GH: How much can crowd noise affect a game?
Stanback: 'I think that I'll probably have the biggest challenge. As a quarterback, I've got to be in control, I've got to be able to call the plays in that type of situation. I'm sure we will work on that in practice. We haven't been in too rough of an environment yet, so this should be a challenge.'

GH: Well, Isaiah, good luck in practice this week, and good luck at Oregon!
Stanback: 'Thanks!'