Thoughts of El Paso
"It seems like we got here yesterday. We've enjoyed our time so far. (There's) been fantastic hospitality, great set up (practice site)."
Opening thoughts on Stanford
"It's more the same for our preparations for Stanford; there still a really good team two weeks into our preparation. Great team led by, again, a great presence in Toby Gerhart. (I've) got great respect for him. He's a lot like we are as a team; our mantra of being tough and physical. Their team really feeds off of him; he's a great, great leader. Our guys are extremely excited for the challenge.
They really stretch ya defensively with their ability to run the ball in multiple ways and to create a lot of one-on-one matchups in the secondary. We expect the same offense to show up whether Pritchard or Luck is going to quarterback."
Senior Ryan Reynolds returns, will the linebacker position be expected to stop Gerhart or is it more than that to stop a big running back?
"I think it starts upfront. The strength outside of their back is their ability to open up holes with that offensive front that has a lot of experience. Good size, good athletic ability; very powerful. They've protected the quarterback and gotten into a lot of very manageable third-and-short situations. I think overall as a defense we've got to play more physical, be more sound and that starts upfront. We can't allow them to get into third and short and medium situations. I think they lead the Pac 10 in third-down conversions. They're second in the country in sacks, giving up only two in the last six games. Some of that's the system in which they're in a lot of seven and eight-man protections but that's all set up off their throwing game, set up off their ability to run the football. We played a game and a team in Miami that converted five of their seven conversions on third down, which were 3rd and 2 or less. We really felt like their ability to hold onto the football and work us was big part and big factor in the game particularly at the end of the game when they controlled and converted some key third and short and medium situations. It's a collective deal defensively and again that front four has to play extremely well. They run a lot of gap schemes and a lot of times those guys won't show up, those guys being our defensive line, show up in the stat sheets because of the schemes that we'll see. But their (defense) ability to squeeze and close and condense running lanes will be a huge part. When they're (linebackers, safeties, defensive backs and corners) forced to have to tackle Gerhart, they're forced to tackle him in tight holes as opposed to big, gaping running lanes."
With the snow, how will you approach practice today (Tuesday) indoors or outdoors?
"We have plans to do both. I think closer to practice time we'll make that decision. We usually find out when we get there ourselves. We have a couple of gyms if we need to use those and the proper gear to use inside if we need to."
Have you or the team come against a running back as big and powerful as Gerhart?
"No. He's different. I haven't been coaching that long but he reminds of the types of backs that you saw from the really good, downhill Nebraska teams with coach (Tom) Osborne. Adrian Peterson is a different type of animal but that type of physicality is what Gerhart brings."
Are you anxious a little bit as a coach because you don't face the power running games like you used to in the Big 12?
"I think every team; every game provides a different set of challenges. Obviously you're excited to have an opportunity to play in a bowl game and that type of thing but it is a different type of animal; no doubt. Obviously from Day 1 we've challenged our guys. That's a different type of a challenge as opposed to stopping a fastbreak, no huddle, and play-in-space game. This really challenges all 11 guys every snap. That's what you want to be about as a coach or a player, as a competitor."
How good is Stanford's passing game?
"I wouldn't be surprised to see them come out and try to loosen you up a bit. They've had success doing that. They're very balanced, statistically speaking. Very efficient at what they do."
How can defensive lineman Gerald McCoy affect a team's running game?
"I think, statistically speaking, you probably won't see him show up quite as much as you would maybe anticipate. He's important but there are a lot of other pieces that are extremely important as well."
What type of legacy is McCoy leaving behind with this game?
"His consistency and his leadership that he's provided has been second to none. He's been the same guy every day. Great energy, great attitude and always positive. He leaves a great, great legacy and that's outside of the even stronger qualities that he has as a young man. I believe he has left a lasting impact and legacy not for just the players but for the coaches as well."
Thoughts on Stanford's offense
"Their offense is a part of why their defense is good. They go on four, five, six, eight and 10-minute drives ... it shortens you're game."
Changes to the offensive line, especially with a new center. Thoughts?
"As a coach I'm concerned with the snap exchange more than the player. I'm worried about a wasted-play snap."
Compare Rhett Bhomar and Landry Jones' redshirt freshman years.
"That (Bomar's) team was very youthful, the '05 team. It was a different crew at the time. Neither one of them had as great a supporting cast as Sam (Bradford). So the quarterback really looks well when the supporting cast and everyone is better. I think he's (Landry Jones) done well. I'm not disappointed in him. I'd like to see him do better; I'd like to see us all do better. I don't have an issue or any reasons for our lack of production as pointed that our quarterback did not play well."
Thoughts on ball security and quarterbacks
"The ball is the game. Stanford, I think, is fourth in the nation in turnover ratio. To me the only thing you need to teach the quarterback is how to manage the game. When we say manage the game we're talking about respect the ball and take care of the ball. That's where we could have been so much better."
How has the bowl phase been?
"I think we've gotten some continuity, repetition and some time on task. I see us moving in a very positive direction coming off the last victory. It seemed like we as an offense were having a hard time finding ourselves due to some unfortunate things that we didn't predict was going to happen."
Have you ever had to make this many line changes?
"There are always some glitches. To me one of the issues was not the line as much as the tight end situation ... it complements that line. There's always been some shuffling and that's a part of it and I think the guys have handled it good."