Comments From Head Coach Jim Harbaugh's Weekly Press Conference

Sept. 30, 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 Notre Dame this Saturday in South Bend, Ind.

On Toby Gerhart
Toby is progressing well. He suffered a slight concussion on Saturday. He is symptom-free right now. We'll continue him on progressions this week, which included biking on Monday, this morning he lifted and tomorrow (Wednesday) he'll practice. If he remains symptom-free, he'll be able to play on Friday.

On Richard Sherman's Left Knee Injury
Richard will see Dr. Dragoo today. He won't be taking the trip to Notre Dame. There's a possibility he'll be out of practice this week and he could be on crutches. He might have to get an injection but we'll see after he meets with the doctor today.

On the Progress of Ryan Whalen(/b>
It's pretty clear he a go-to guy. He's also physical away from the ball--very aggressive down field on the block deep in the secondary. He makes the tough catch across the middle (against Washington) and takes a pretty good hit. A few plays later, he caught another pass across the middle on a crucial third-and-two play. He's getting better and better.

He wasn't a starter last year so now there is more opportunity for him to improve. Players improve. The biggest year in improvement comes from January in their freshman year to August beginning their sophomore year. Ryan has always been a player who takes advantage of every single workout, of every single weight lifting session and every single practice.

He has a gold standard attitude. He works hard to get better every day. He's improved a lot and he was pretty good to start with. We should have offered him a scholarship right out of high school. But he earned it.

On the Contribution of a Variety of Players in Saturday's Win Over Washington/b>
I was very pleased with a lot of guys--Anthony Kimble, Jeremy Stewart, Coby Fleener, Delano Howell, Jim Dray. All of those guys on offense that had either new roles or expanded roles, I was very pleased with the way they played. A lot of groups went in and out and there weren't many penalties on substitutions. I'm pleased those guys studied their new roles in a week's time and were able to take it to the playing field and execute.

On Delano Howell
I'm very happy with Delano Howell. Delano's a football player. I told him, `Don't change. You are a football player. Don't let anything I tell you in the next two, three, four weeks...don't let me over-coach you into anything than what you are right now.

He's got football instincts, toughness and talent. Whatever he's got, I'm not going to try to over-coach it out of him. Me and Delano have a thing. He's not going to change.

On Depth of Team
It's great for the morale of the team to get as many players involved in a role and to have them execute that role. They know the coaches will play the players who are practicing the best and performing the best on Saturday. Ultimately, that's the kind of team you want. There are no favorites or seniority, scholarship vs. walk-on, it doesn't matter. It's who goes out and plays the best and gives the team the best chance to win.

On Jim Dray
If he's not all the way back, he's pretty close. Unbelievable story that has been well-documented. Personality-wise, he's never changed. Even the week after surgery he was upbeat. He has that quality where he doesn't get too up or two down. He's a steady guy you can count on.

On Playing at Notre Dame
It's an unbelievable setting. I had a chance to play there once as a college senior. It's something you'll remember for awhile. I told our team it's kind of like when you were nine-years old playing in the back yard and visualizing playing in front of a big crowd. Put yourself in that setting. We're not nine-years old anymore but we are in that setting.

It's a great opportunity for our football team to go on the road again to a hostile environment and play a very good football team. Even though we are not nine, we can still capture that spirit and that joy from playing football.

On Notre Dame
They seem to be in gear. They have a lot of young guys playing skilled positions and they are not playing like freshmen. The quarterback (Jimmy Clausen) is starting to come into his own. He's confident back there and his passes are crisp. He likes throwing deep, especially on early downs. We'll be tested in the passing game.

The tough thing for us is they are such a balanced offense. They can run and pass and they have a lot of young guys stepping up real big for them.

On Special Teams Matchup
I think it will be a giant matchup on special teams this week. Notre Dame is much-improved on special team's team from a year ago. You can tell they put a lot of emphasis on it. We take great pride in our special teams, too.

They also do a good job in their blitzes and they are very sound behind the blitz, as well. Their coverages are sound and they have a high-volume of blitzes. They do a great job in getting them all coached. You don't see too many guys running around out of position. I have a lot of respect for what they do.

The quarterback is going to have to be good, the line is going to have to be great with their pickups, the backs are going to have to sort them (blitzes) out and be great in their pickups. We are also going to have to run routes and get open. It puts the pressure on everyone to execute their jobs.

On Tavita Pritchard
I'm really proud of him. I really like how he has handled the nature of the position and the pressure that goes with it. I'm thinking we have someone pretty special here. The more the pressure, the better he plays. Think back to the USC and Cal games last year and coming out of the blocks this season against Oregon State. You got a guy like that, you have a pretty rare find.

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