Wake Forest Post-Game Press Conference

If last week's 35-0 victory over UCLA thrust the Stanford defense in the spotlight, Saturday's 68-24 shellacking of Wake Forest put the focus back on Stanford's high powered offense. Read on for post game quotes from coach Jim Harbaugh, quarterback Andrew Luck, and receiver Chris Owusu following yet another dominant Cardinal win.

Post Wake Forest media session with Andrew Luck and Chris Owusu

Can you describe your touchdown run and what was going through your head on that play?
Andrew Luck: At five different points I was like, ‘Should I slide here? Or should I slide here? Should I slide here?' Guys were working their tails off blocking down the field. I started cutting back and fortunately wasn't hit. I got pretty excited and I was in the endzone, I guess. Guys really did a great job blocking down field, though. That's one of the things that definitely needs to be stated.

Was it a designed play?
Luck: No. It might have been a four wide out set or a three wide out and one tight end. We had five guys running routes and they bracketed to both sides and when that happens there's no one accounting for the quarterback. I got a little lucky and just started running.

What did having Chris Owusu back mean?
Luck: It's always great to have Chris back. He makes plays. He did a hell of a job tonight. He's been coming back strong in practice and it's nice to be able to throw the ball up in the air and know that he's going to make a play. And the other wide receivers, they'll make plays as well. It's a good, solid receiving core and Chris reaped the benefits tonight.

Were you surprised to see your team put so many points on the board?
Luck:I think it surprised me a little. We were very, very, very, very motivated, especially after last year .We knew Wake Forest was a great team that could put up a lot of points and we knew we maybe had to light the scoreboard up if we wanted to beat them. That being said, our defense did a great job of holding their offense, which scored I don't know how many points the past two games, and I think we got lucky sometimes. Our coaches put us in great positions, the offensive line blocked their butts off. I think it was just a good team effort and the chips fell our way tonight.

Chris, how close are you to 100%?
Chris Owusu: Close. The training staff has done a great job with me so far and I was going to have a little role in this game.

On the diving catch you made for about a 20 yard gain early in the game, it didn't look like your knee was bothering you?
Owusu: No, I mean as I said before our training staff did a great job with me. They didn't pressure me to come back too soon and they knew what my role was going to be in this game. They did a good job taking care of me and our coaches knew what they wanted of me. They put me in position not to get hurt again.

Did you feel you needed to step up into a larger role than normal as a result of Ryan's injury?
Owusu: Absolutely. Because Ryan Whalen is one of our leaders on offense and definitely the leader of our receiving group. To lose him, guys are going to have to step up and Doug Baldwin, Griff Whalen, they did a great job stepping up today. I'm not sure what his injury is but we're going to miss him for how long it takes, but he'll be back soon.

Chris, what did you think of Andrew's run?
Owusu: I was on the sideline watching and everyone was telling him to get down because that's our quarterback, that's our leader out there, but he did a great job of using his vision to cut back when he needed to, so it was an awesome run.

You guys have a tough stretch coming up. It terms of where you are…is it as good as it looks from the outside?
Luck: I don't know. We're 3-0, which is great. That's how a team wants to start. We know we just have to take it game by game now. Tough road games, tough home games…I think we're coming along nicely but I don't think anybody is satisfied. This program hasn't been on a high too long, I don't think. And guys have been around here when it wasn't on a high, me included. So we know that tides can changes like that. We'll enjoy this one tonight and when we wake up tomorrow we'll feel pretty good, but it's down to business Sunday night getting onto Notre Dame and preparing for a tough battle with a really well-coached team in South Bend.

Post-game media session with Jim Harbaugh

Opening statement
I just want to start out by congratulating our players and our coaching staff. I thought they both did an amazing job tonight. A lot of players played and to understand what Wake Forest was doing in really only five days, I give our coaching staff a lot of credit for that and our players for understanding and going out and executing. It was a heck of a game.

Jim, why the black uniforms?
We've had them for a while and driving into work on Wednesday and said let's wear the black ones this week.

Just on a whim? Any particular reason
I'd rather talk about the play of the guys. Let's start with Andrew Luck. He played a flawless game. I think he had one incompletion, the one to Baldwin that was very catcheable. Flawless game by Andrew and great to have Chris Owusu back. I thought our running backs, Usua Amanam had a heck of a game, so did Stepfan Taylor. Gaffney really played well. We did a good job up front. I thought we kept the pressure off Andrew. It was a nice performance by our guys.

Is this as good an offensive show as you've had at Stanford? Aside from the points, I'm wondering about the execution.
The execution was right on the money. To really understand why I congratulated our coaches so much is because Wake Forest is a team that does a lot defensively. They're stemming the line constantly, multiple coverages and fronts. They're trying to get a guy free. If you're really not on the screws you're going to get hit in the backfield. For our players to understand the plan on really only five days is a really good job by both coaches and the players. Same defensively. The triple option, we haven't seen it all year. We had about five, six days to really understand it and defend it. And Wake Forest is expert at running it. That coaching staff has been together 10 years. They do a great job of teaching and executing it and I thought our guys did a great job of tackling in space, knocking people back and being in the right gaps, getting turnovers again. This is a defense that's really coming together with an identity. I'm proud of them.

How did you see Andrew's long touchdown run? Did you want him to keep going or get down?
Well, it was a normal scramble and he got the first down and I saw what he saw, a big space inside. With his instincts he went for it. The speed was surprising thing. I didn't think he would get all the way to the goal line but he got there with room to spare. He was really running fast.

What about the play of Owusu? He really looked good out there…
Yeah, he looked really confident in pre-game. He was making sharp cuts and told me it felt great. Once he got in there and caught a few you knew he was back.

Do you know how serious Ryan Whalen's injury is?
No, not yet.

Can you talk about Skov coming back tonight, both how he played and what his return meant for the defense as a whole?
Yeah, it looked like he was playing at a very high level. He was doing a good job of knocking people back and running through gaps and really looked like Shayne Skov. Playmaker, that's what he gives our defense. And there's others, too. There were really good plays by guys tackling in space, Owen tackling in space, Delano, Mike Thomas, Bademosi, Chase, Keiser, all those guys. And Fua and them were really knocking people back up front which is big because this team likes to pull. They'll pull the center, they'll pull either guard, they'll pull either tackle and we were knocking them back into the backfield and slowing plays down and stopping them before they got a chance to get started. And they're going to make plays. Wake Forest just does too much, at some point they're going to make a play but I thought we did a great job limiting them.

Your down three seem to be playing well...
Yeah, no question. Fua, Bulcke, Masfilo…And it was good to see some of the reserves get a lot of action tonight because that's an area we can improve and get better in.

Are you in the mind frame at this point that you're just going to have a tailback rotation through the rest of the year or do you still think there's a chance one guy will step forward?
Anything is possible. Like we talked about earlier, Toby Gerhart was here well into his third year before he was the sole tailback and even when he was at top form last year there were two other guys that were getting carries each game. Right now we're really pleased, talked about it coming out of training camp that we weren't going to lose games because of our tailbacks. Those guys are playing up to it. Gaffney, Usua, Taylor, Jeremy Stewart when he gets back. We have good backs. And now Anthony Wilkerson in the mix. I thought he played extremely well. He took a shot to his leg late in the game and kept running. He's going to be a powerful back and force for us.

Any hesitancy to challenge that call late in the game?
No. I didn't see a replay on it but I talked to the guys up in the box and they thought it was a challengeable call.

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