Walt Harris on Scrimmage #1

We sized up Stanford and measured much about the early progress of this fall camp with Wednesday's first full scrimmage. But it is wise to check in for the full report from the ultimate authority afterward: Walt Harris. The Cardinal head coach gave reactions immediately following the scrimmage, and then more Thursday after a review of the film. Here are his quotes from both days.

Wednesday post-scrimmage Q&A

Opening remarks

"I thought offensively there were some good things, but we also looked very sloppy.  The defense shut the offense down because the offense was sloppy in its play - we had penalties.  We led the conference in [fewest] penalties last year.  I didn't recognize us.  We had turnovers.  Then the defense relaxed, and the offense came back.  We have a lot of areas we have to get better at.  We for sure have to take care of the penalties and turnovers.  You can't win football games when you're beating yourself."

On the Trent Edwards to Evan Moore combination for three touchdowns

"Yeah, we haven't really hooked up much in practice.  I'm sure it's been frustrating for both of those guys.  They are great friends and we think really good players, but they haven't really hooked up much in practice.  So it was good to see that they were having some success."

On the ground game in an extended test

"It was okay until we had penalties, and then that put us into down-and-distances that made it hard.  But it was okay.  I thought we obviously still missed some tackles.  That means the offensive guys made some nice moves and all that and ran hard.  But we need to tackle good if we're going to be good on defense."

On the root cause of too many penalties

"I just think that we're not concentrating enough because we're capable.  We led the league in penalties, and this is basically the same group of guys on offense.  So we're not concentrating enough.  We're going to have to turn it up in practice.  We'll have a little bit more motivation on that now."

On the pass protection from the offensive line

"I think we got sacked a couple times that hurt us, but I'm not sure in a game that would have been sacked.  I think some times Trent would have gotten blasted.  A) We gave the defense some sacks that may have not been sacks, but 1A) Trent is healthy for another day [knocks on wood]."

On individuals - offense or defense - that stood out

"It's hard to say, Mike, without seeing a tape.  I'm the worst observer out there.  I've got a bad seat, and I'm not thinking about that stuff.  I'm thinking about trying to call plays.  I don't really analyze all that.  Sorry."

On impressions of the kicking game

"We're not as consistent right now as we were in the spring.  Aaron [Zagory] had a really nice spring for us, but we're not very consistent right now.  So that has been difficult.  We're counting on him to be consistent."

On Nick Frank's outside run for big yardage

"We're excited that Nick is getting better as a runner.  We're trying to play him some at both positions in order to get us a little more depth.  We don't have a lot of depth.  As soon as you think you have depth, you get hurt and you're out of guys.  He played some tailback today, just so that we have more guys.  Not that we're planning on playing him there.  We're just trying to get experience in case we have injuries, so that we can have guys go into the right place."

On Brandon Harrison at cornerback/safety

"We're trying to find our best four football players in the secondary, so he has played both corner and safety.  He has played more corner than safety because that is a new position for him."

On Trent Edwards' fall camp progress to date

"Pretty good.  Yeah, he's had a good camp.  He made a really nice play on a rollout pass, and Evan did a great job not going out of the endzone, which was really nice.  It looked like he was going to run, and then he threw it.  It was a really impressive play.  Yeah, he's playing well.  I think the great thing is that he's really smart and really dedicated, so that he knows what we're doing.  He has another year involved.  I think that will have a positive effect, especially if we can be good at wide receiver and stay healthy with our guys."

On Edwards' room for improvement

"Be more high percentage.  He has a lot of confidence in his arm.  I think if I had that kind of talent, I'd be confident in my arm, too.  But we need to throw completions and control the ball...  He looks healthy, and he's a lot bigger than last year.  That's one of our top goals that our coaching staff - get it so that he can play 13 games.  We're doing a lot of things.  We have done a lot to try to improve our protections and his plays.  Yeah, we've worked hard on it."

On the competition for the number three wide receiver position

"Up until today, and of course I'd have to ask Coach [Tucker] Waugh, but I'd have to say #86.  Kelton Lynn.  But Mike Miller is right behind him.  Kelton has done a nice job.  And Marcus McCutcheon.  I'd say that they all three are in a pack.  Kelton was a little better going into today's scrimmage.  He has made some nice plays in camp."

On Richard Sherman trailing that pack

"Yeah, he's got class and summer school that he has to go to, and he misses practice.  He has a lot to learn."

On the expected return timeframe for T.C. Ostrander

"I don't know.  Yeah, I will [be happy to have him back].  He's a good football player.  He has grown up a lot, too.  I'm excited about T.C.  I think the has figured it out, has really good skills and is a really good football player.  I expect him to be a fine player for us."

Thursday comments after film review

On the physical toll of the extended scrimmage

"Yeah, we're a little banged up.  We don't know yet all about everybody.  We're pretty banged up."

On insights after reviewing the film

"I thought that we ran the ball at times well.  We stopped the run at times well.  We made some good open-field cuts.  We had some poor tackling at times.  Offensively we had some penalties that were devastating.  We had some sacks that were very devastating; we had sacks in the red zone.  So we've got a lot of things we need to clean up.  We had a couple good plays made by a couple players, and to me, those are to be expected.  But overall it was a competitive scrimmage.  I thought that the defensive guys were flying around, maybe at a higher level than I remember us playing that way."

On the focus looking ahead to Saturday's second scrimmage

"Execution - same thing.  Execution.  We will have practiced a few more days, and hopefully we learned from the scrimmage.  Hopefully our execution will be even better."

On the format of the second scrimmage

"There will be a few more situations.  We just move the ball for situations.  We'll have the ball backed up on the one-yardline, and see if we can make a first down.  We'll have some two-minute.  We'll have some different situations."

On turning around the kicking game inconsistency

"It's concentration.  I think that we have enough talent; it's just that they need to become dependable.  I think that we have to practice harder.  Not necessarily more, but practice harder."

On entertaining the idea of punter Jay Ottovegio added to the placekicking mix

"If we are struggling with our field goals, of course.  We'll do whatever we have to do."

On any young players particularly proving themselves in the scrimmage

"No.  I think that we're getting more competitive.  I tell you the two guys - I haven't talked to A.J. [Christoff] about certain guys that they thought improved; I've talked with him just generally about it - but Jon Cochran did some good things as a guard, and Bobby Dockter had his best scrimmage here.  I'm sure there are some defensive guys, but I don't have that information yet."

On the scrimmage experience for promising freshman Nick Macaluso

"I think Nick ran into Division I-A football yesterday.  He was put in there and learned a lot about breaking down and tackling and how much harder it is when the bullets are flying."

On freshman Sione Fua playing a lot

"He's learning what we're trying to get done.  We think that he's a good potential football player.  Unfortunately as a true freshman he's running with the 'one's.  That's good for Sione but probably not good for Stanford."


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