Post-Oregon State: Player Interviews

Andrew Luck, Griff Whalen, and Michael Thomas met with members of the media following Stanford's 38-13 victory over Oregon State. The Bootleg was on-scene to record a full transcript of the press conference, as well as a brief group-interview with Cardinal defensive end Chase Thomas.

Andrew, what was the mood on the team after Chris was hurt?

Andrew Luck: It's scary. It's scary when it happens, especially when it happens to a guy that has had it happen before. As far as the mood, it's a tough thing. When something like that happens in the middle of a game you just have to flush it. You just have to sort of forget about it, as harsh as that may sound. For me, it was a little contemplative. You start thinking a little bit, man, this stinks. Your first thoughts are always, ‘Please be okay Chris, please be okay.' Those were my thoughts and I'm sure it was similar, but it's a tough thing. You have to sort of forget about that in a game, as harsh as that may sound.

He gave a thumbs up as he was going in. Did you guys all take note of that and did that reassure you guys?

AL: I was not aware of the thumbs up, but I saw him look at his eyes when I went over there.

What about heading into the second half, what was the mentality?

AL: Not satisfied by any means. I think we left a lot of plays out there. Credit to Oregon State, they played tough, good football team, tough atmosphere to play in. We were really itching to get back out there and play again because we were a little disappointed in ourselves.

A lot of people call this a trap game, as there any kind of feeling that the focus might not have been totally there, or anything like that?

AL: No. I think we have a mature football team. We understand that it could be a trap game, obviously, sandwiched between two good teams, but I think our football team is mature enough to understand that if we don't win this game then it wouldn't matter, the next game. So we understood that and approached it like that.

Michael, on the defensive side, what was your approach and were you surprised with the way they came out, and did you feel like it was a trap game on your end?

Michael Thomas: No, like Andrew said, we realized that it could have been a trap game, but we were approaching this game like any other opponent. Like Andrew said, if we didn't come out and take care of our business today, what we did last week or the weeks before wouldn't matter, next week wouldn't matter. The defensive players came out with a focus, but left a lot of plays out there, probably didn't play our best game, but we came away with the win.

Andrew, what does Owusu's potential loss for next week do for you and your offensive gameplan, things you can accomplish against the Ducks?

AL: I don't know. I don't want to get to into that. That's more of the coaches' thing, ask Coach Shaw when he gets up here. But obviously he's a great player, grateful to have guys like Griff and Drew Terrell, Jamal-Rashad, Ty Montgomery, a bunch of a guys step up there, and play, but you never want to losee a guy for a game, and hopefully he's alright. He'll be missed, but guys will have to step up. It's the nature of the game.

Griff, what's been clicking with you and Andrew I guess the last four games?

Griff Whalen: I don't think it's anything special, we're just running our base plays, the stuff we know, the stuff we can execute, and that's just the way it's been working out, really.

Griff, you had the long pass that I assume you should have had for the touchdown earlier and then came right back and got a touchdown. What happened on the first one, we couldn't tell whether the defender got a hand on it or not.

GW: Yeah, he made a good play on the ball, reached in and got a hand on it. I still should have been able to hang onto it.

And then what about the touchdown?

GW: It as nice to be able to come back to it and make up for that first one, I guess.

Andrew, was the weather in the beginning at all a factor in that slow start?

AL: It actually rained, very similar weather on Thursday in Palo Alto. A bunch of guys have played in the Northwest. A bunch of guys from the Northwest on this team, I don't think weather is a factor.

What did you see on the interception?

AL: I forced a ball in there, a guy made a good play. That one was all on me.

Is this game coming up the type of game that you came back for?

AL: Sure…I didn't come back solely based on playing big-time college football games, I came back to play football with my buddies. Yeah, it's going to be exciting, of course, I always want to play in these type of games, but this wasn't the end-all of the decision.

Andrew, you guys do very well on third down. Is there something unspoken when you come to the line of scrimmage?

AL: I think first of all third down comes down to offensive line play and then the scheme the coaches are putting us in. Coach Shaw and the offensive coaches did a great job of putting us in a position to succeed on third down and then the o-line steps up and handles the tough blitzes, the stunts, the movement, and the wide receivers make plays. I think everyone's aware in the huddle of when it is third down. Maybe a little antenna goes up in your head and maybe your senses are a little more heightened, but I think it comes down to the o-line playing well and Coach Shaw giving us a good third-down plan and going out there and executing.

Post-Game Interview with Chase Thomas

(Inaudible question)

Chase Thomas: The fans were rude when [Chris] went down. They were yelling things that shouldn't be said when someone has been hurt on the ground like that. It kind of got to us personally and we wanted to make sure that they know what kind of team we were.

Was there any reaction from the other players? Coach Shaw said the guy who laid the hit on him came up and apologized.

CT: I'm sure the offensive guys did who were out on the field. The defensive guys were on the sideline so we didn't really hear too much.

Did that whole aftermath fire you guys up? You had a terrific pass rush as the game went on.

CT: We wanted to prove that we were better than those two bad drives that we let up on defense. We were pretty mad at ourselves for giving up those two touchdowns that happened because of missed assignments that shouldn't have happened. We wanted to prove that we were a better defense than we showed on those two drives.

It seemed like the pass rush got better as the game progressed? Was that you guys just wearing them down?

CT: We did better on first and second down as the game went on so it gave us more opportunities to get after them on longer third downs. As long as we weren't on first or second down that's definitely helping us out in the pass rush.

Do you think you're where you want to be going into the Oregon game?

CT: We need to fix some assignments on defense. I'm glad we got everyone out of the game on defense healthy, and we're going to need everyone to rotate through in that game. We definitely need to fix some things on defense in order to stop a team like Oregon.

Did you think there as a USC hangover?

CT: No.

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