Walt Harris, Trent Edwards on Final Scrimmage

Wednesday marked the beginning of the end for Stanford's fall camp, with the Cardinal conducting their third and final full scrimmage. It was the most even of the three scrimmages, with playmaking by both the offense and defense. A point of pride for the "O" was a solid running game, while an area of disappointment was a quarterback injury. See all of what Walt Harris and Trent Edwards had to say.

Head coach Walt Harris

First impressions:

"He had too many guys hurt.  There was some good play on both sides.  Offensively, they ran the ball better.  But we still had a turnover for a touchdown.  We did a good job not having penalties.  Defensively, they did a great job in the two-minute drill.  They shut everybody down.  I think we obviously have some areas to work on.  We took some of our better players out because we're worried obviously about getting hurt.  We already have enough."

On the running game:

"We ran the ball better."

On an improved focus from offensive players:

"I hope that they brought more focus to the scrimmage.  They had a chance to do some extra 'down-ups" because they didn't have it the other day.  I am hoping there was some good execution.  I think that we read how to run the play better up front, which is where I think it all starts.  And we read it well in the backfield."

On the running game measuring up to expectation:

"It had been kind of non-existent for a while, and now it's come back.  I can write the stories that you guys right; we know how important it is to run the ball.  But what is most important is that we do what we have to do to win the game."

On the concern with T.C. Ostrander's aggravated hamstring injury:

"Of course it is.  It's huge.  He's a good football player.  We don't want to go into the opener without him.  That was unfortunate.  I don't know how bad he hurt it today.  You know, he scrimmaged the other day and was able to control it, but today I guess he might have twinged it a little bit."

On orders for Ostrander not to run:

"Yeah, he wasn't supposed to.  That's real disappointing.  In hindsight, I shouldn't have played him because that might have put him back.  He scrimmaged the other day, had the yellow shirt on and harnessed it.  Today, he didn't.  Ultimately, I'm responsible for it, so it wasn't a good choice."

On the difficulty for a player to hold back:

"Well, when it's your hamstring, and you're going through what he's been going through - sitting out, missing practice and watching other guys play..."

On the difficulty for the offense with injuries, no depth and difficult rotations on the offensive line:

"Yeah, I can't wait until the day until we are just so physically fit, strong and physical that we don't have these kinds of situations.  I don't know whether it's luck, whether we've worked them too hard, whether we're just not strong enough or whatever.  Quite honestly, you're always going to have bumps and bruises through camp, but I think we probably got more than we bargained for."

On the status of Tim Mattran:

"He's out.  He's getting some conditioning - that's what I do know.  But he's out."

On what is settled on the offensive line:

"I don't know.  We'll just have to wait and see.  Sometimes a guy goes home and comes back tomorrow with something that hurts he didn't know about today when the adrenaline was flowing.  We'll just wait and see and try to continue to practice intelligently.  I think that we have had a hard camp.  We have been out in pads all the time.  We've run all the time.  Now we need to bring our guys back - bring those fresh legs back and be excited.  But we were a lot more competitive today.  It wasn't so one-sided."

On satisfaction with the tone of this as the final scrimmage:

"In some ways I did; in some ways we didn't.  I thought that the offense ran the ball well, although of course we were going one's against the two's and two's against one's.  I wish we maybe we would have had a better run defense with our one's on defense.  But I can't remember it all, too.  It's sometimes a blur.  We are going to have to deal with it.  I really like how we are playing on defense.  I think Coach A.J.'s system is really going to help us if we continue to build and recruit toward it.  Get healthier and get all of our guys back.  Learn it and get some of our younger guys older.  I'm excited about how it could make us more competitive on defense."

On establishing the starters:

"We will try where we can.  We try not to disappoint you guys, but we will do the best we can."

On the quality of Xxavier Carter's scrimmages:

"Yeah, but he can't fumble, though.  Is it good running, hard running?  Is it poor tackling?  But the bottom line is that we can't turn the ball over.  That is not us.  We're not going to allow that to happen, and we have to take care of the ball."

On sorting out the defensive backfield:

"We're trying to find the best four.  Brandon [Harrison] gives us a little flexibility.  I think David Lofton has had a much-improved camp.  I give him a lot of credit.  He really has done some good things.  He has responded to some of the challenges that he has been given, and it looks like he is a lot better player than he was in the spring.  He has a chance to be in that top four."

Fifth-year senior quarterback Trent Edwards

Opening comments:

"It went pretty well.  We had some guys dinged up, but I thought offensively we had a little bit better execution.  We didn't make as many mistakes as we had made in the previous couple scrimmages.  To be honest, I thought that our running backs hit the holes a lot harder than they had in previous scrimmages.  I thought Anthony [Kimble] had a lot more energy.  He, Jason [Evans] and Nick Frank all hit the holes pretty hard."

"I thought we had a pretty good scheme going up against our defense.  We hadn't been gameplanning our defense all camp, and we just put something together before today's scrimmage to sort of handle Coach [A.J.] Christoff's defense.  That really helped out.  We weren't allowed to really check any of the runs in previous scrimmages, and we were allowed to do that today to try and get away from the pressure.  They were bringing a lot of strong safety and free safety blitzes.  I think there were like 44 last scrimmage.  We need to be able to go away from that pressure, so we were able to do that today."

On the emphasis establishing the run:

"I think so.  I think Coach Harris has tried to do that all three scrimmages.  I think that's been a main area of focus for our offensive goals - that we need to be able to improve our run game.  That all starts in practice.  We all need to have that mindset that we can get some solid yardage early on, first and second down, so we're not faced with long third downs.  We have Anthony, hopefully we can get Toby Gerhart back, and we've got Jason healthy.  When those guys are running hard, things will be clicking for us."

On his day passing compared to Saturday's scrimmage:

"I felt a little more comfortable today than I did in the second scrimmage.  Again, it all starts with the run game.  I feel more comfortable when guys have a little more energy in the huddle and a little more pep in their step.  When we're hitting the ball, running the ball hard, it's easier for my job to throw the ball down the field.  The defense is a little bit softer.  The D-line is not coming quite as hard when you do have a running game, and that makes my job a lot easier.  So I felt a lot more relaxed with that."

On his accuracy:

"There are still areas of accuracy that I need to improve upon.  A lot of that might be due to 19 straight practices here that I've been throwing the ball - a lot of balls.  That might be just due to that.  But I take a lot pride in my accuracy and I need to be able to improve upon that."

On his feelings watching T.C. Ostrander pull up with a hamstring injury:

"That's really hard to see.  T.C. is a competitor, and that's pretty much what he showed today.  He's going to play hard, whether the coaches let him go or not.  I know there was some gray area whether or not he should be practicing today, and he was told right before he started suiting up that he was going to play today.  He's not going to say, 'No, I'm not going to play because I'm not 100 percent.'  He's one of those guys who is going to compete on every down, and unfortunately his hamstring is still kind of bothering him.  But I love watching him play out there."

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