Notebook: Oregon State
DESPITE THE 1-3 start, senior offensive left tackle Walter Rouse is optimistic the Cardinal can turn the season around, perhaps beginning Saturday night against Oregon State at Stanford Stadium.
"With the guys we have, I trust them," said Rouse, a biomechanical engineering major from Silver Spring, Maryland. "I'm honored to play alongside them. I know each guy, in practice and in the film room, is doing the work. I know our best is yet to come."
A source of inspiration for Rouse is his grandfather, Walter Victor Rouse. Vic, an All-American basketball player at Loyola-Chicago, scored the winning basket in the 1963 national championship game as time expired in overtime to beat Cincinnati, 60-58.
The game was significant for its role in the Civil Rights era. It was the first national title game with a majority of Black players on the court. Loyola had four Black starters, and rarely substituted. And, in response to the racist hatred directed toward his squad, coach George Ireland loved to run up the score against Southern schools.
Before 19,000 in the championship game at Louisville's Freedom Hall, the score was tied 58-58 and time was running out when the 6-foot-6 Rouse leaped as a teammate's shot hit the rim and caromed off the glass to the right side of the basket.
"I didn't tip the ball," Vic Rouse said in a 1987 Sports Illustrated story. "I caught it and very carefully took aim … I felt suspended in air – you could almost say it was an out-of-body experience – and I was totally focused. I shot the ball, and it went in. It was like a blessing."
Rouse was drafted by the NBA's Cincinnati Royals, but never played pro basketball. Instead, he earned three master's degrees and a Ph.D. He owned his own educational consulting firm and taught courses at the University of Maryland. He passed away in 1999 at age 56.
"I was never able to meet my grandfather, whom I'm named after," Walter Rouse said. "But I credit my dad for helping me meet him without actually meeting him – through press clippings, videos that we could find, documentaries, and just telling me stories.
"The one I never get tired of is the national championship game, him making the winning shot. The first time I heard it, I was like, 'My goodness, he did what? That's amazing.'
"When I step on the football field, he's someone I always think about. His spirit lives through me. I hope I'm making him proud every single day."
Chicago Tribune: March 24, 1963.
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WHAT IS THE mindset of the Cardinal team? Fifth-year linebacker Ricky Miezan provided his thoughts:
"Talking with everyone, some of the things that have come up is that a lot of things you do are defined by how you respond to adversity," he said. "Right now, we're in that moment. This is a high-stress situation. And, at the end of the day, you have to respond to that. That's how you're going to be defined.
"We're in an industry of results, so we have to start getting results. What we've been doing so far has not worked. We're trying to find ways to change what we've been doing during the week in order to get the results we want.
"Right now, we need to find a way to build momentum. Football's such a game of momentum. On both sides of the ball, we're not building that momentum, we're not playing complementary football to each other. The offense will go down and have a great drive and then we'll give something up. Or, we'll have a great stop and the offense will go three and out. We need to find a way to start building momentum together as a team."
Ricky Miezan. Photo by Bob Drebin/ISIphotos.com.
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THE OREGON STATE game marks Stanford's third consecutive 8 p.m. start. Shaw has said no game should start later than 7 p.m. because of the toll late starts take on the players, and the sacrifices they have to make academically because of the extra rest they need on Sunday.
Shaw said he looked at his watch as his team reached campus upon returning from Eugene, Oregon. It was 3:47 a.m. on Sunday.
Rouse said he didn't get to bed until 5:30 a.m.
"Student-athletes are trying to be students, and coaches are trying to be human beings," Shaw said. "It's really tough. Yes, it's great that we'll be home this week, but (Oregon State coach) Jonathan Smith and his staff and team are probably going to get back at 4 o'clock on Sunday morning. That's a rough thing to do. The conversations need to happen about these start times."
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Jack Leyrer. Photo by Karen Hickey/ISIphotos.com.
WHEN BARRETT MILLER went down with an injury on the third play of the 45-27 loss at Oregon last week, sophomore Jack Leyrer came off the bench to play right tackle while making his collegiate debut.
David Shaw, Stanford's Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football, was conscious of not putting too much on Leyrer at first, lining the tight end on that side to help, for instance. But as the game progressed, Leyrer more than held his own.
"I'm proud of Jack," Shaw said. "I thought he played well. He fought hard, knew what to do. We tried to protect him as much as we could -- on the road, in a loud environment against a good football team. But what we asked him to do, he did well, and he's only going to get better. I think we all are resting a bit easier knowing that we called upon Jack to go out there and he played well for us."
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ON THE INJURY front, cornerback Kyu Blu Kelly is out for Saturday's game. And, as of early in the week, Miller and right tackle Myles Hinton were questionable.
Kelly, a senior communication major, has 29 starts for Stanford. Salim Turner-Muhammad or Nicolas Toomer, both seniors, will start opposite Ethan Bonner at corner.
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Casey Filkins. Photo by Karen Hickey/ISIphotos.com.
IN HIS FIRST two collegiate starts, Casey Filkins followed up his 100-yard rushing performance against Washington with 150 all-purpose yards against Oregon. Filkins rushed for 80 yards on 19 carries, caught three passes for 59 and returned a punt for 11.
He also scored on a 42-yard catch-and-run for Stanford's first touchdown, a play that Shaw called "phenomenal."
"We need to get that momentum, maintain it, and feed off it," Shaw said. "That's where we really need to improve, because we've made plays in every game."
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IT'S TIME TO see the hard work pay off, Shaw said.
"We came into the season with high aspirations," Shaw said. "But, right now, we're just trying to go 1-0 this week. Trying to create some in-game momentum that could lead to some season momentum."
Said Rouse, "We are 1-3, you can't deny that. We own that and take accountability for it. But within the Stanford program, we know we're much better than this and the 1-3 is not going to define us.
"We still have eight more games to go. We can turn this around. We have time to do so. We're going to go out and put out 100 percent every single time. We're going to play until the clock hits zero. We're not going to let anything stop us."