Walt Harris Oregon Post-Game

There were few kind words uttered by a hoarse Walt Harris after his team floundered on offense, defense and special teams in a 48-10 loss at Oregon. He talked about the challenges presented by the Ducks and where Stanford could not match them. Normally quick to talk about offense, the first words out of his mouth spoke to the defense, who did not tackle and make plays.

Opening remarks:

"We ran into a well-oiled football team today.  I thought that their quarterback played tremendously.  Obviously there offensive scheme gave our defense all sorts of problems.  The number of times that their players were in space, they won the game in space.  They obviously ran and caught the ball better than we tackled.  Offensively, there were some bright spots, but we still had trouble running the ball against that front.  I thought that we protected the passer better than we had the other years that we played them.  Of course, I have only been here for the one.  Two years ago we had 10 sacks.  Last year was five.  I don't know if we had two or three today; that was improvement.  But you can't tackle like we did.  You can't turn the ball over on offense and have penalties and have a chance to win on the road against a team that obviously looks like they're very talented.  You can't do that to yourself."

On Oregon as a worst-possible matchup for Stanford's young defense:

"I think anytime you have as many young guys as we have, there probably are some easier offenses to face.  But that's the way it is.  We have to get better.  We will see that offense again, I'm sure, throughout the season in some part - whether it's third down or the whole game against some people.  We just have to tackle better, defeat blocks and get off blocks.  It was three-pronged; I don't think we did a very good job of special teams, which is very disappointing.  We have had a good attitude toward special teams, but we didn't do a good job blocking on kickoff returns.  And we had a field goal blocked for a touchdown, which obviously hurts and makes this look even worse."

On the expectation versus reality of Jonathan Stewart:

"We knew that he was a good back.  I don't know if we gave them a good challenge.  I think that their line obviously did a really good job, and I'm sure when we look back at the tape, we'll have a lot of mistakes, execution busts and a lot of missed tackles.  And they're good, so you have to give them credit.  I think that Gary Crowton has really made a huge difference in Mike Bellotti's football program."

On disappointment toward the offense:

"You know, honestly, they're a good football team.  We didn't have any good - I think it was three balls on the ground in the first half, and we didn't get any of them.  In this kind of game, you have to get some breaks.  They are probably athletically superior, and in depth superior.  Offensively, I was disappointed that we didn't run the ball better.  That was disappointing."

On Oregon's change in coverage after early Stanford passing success:

"Sure, they did.  They're good coaches, too.  They know what to do.  They made it a little harder.  We had to probe in some other areas and didn't get it done."

On the contributing factor of Stanford's poor running game:

"It changes it a lot.  They got out of their run mode and went into their pass defense mode.  That's why they call it pass defense mode.  We had trouble being physical, and I'm sure we had some mistakes.  They had some really physical play by their guys."

On the dimension at quarterback with Dennis Dixon versus Kellen Clemens in 2005:

"I thought Clemens was outstanding.  But this young man played great today, I thought.  He obviously is very difficult to tackle in the open field.  He threw an 'out' route on a big third down and smoked it in there.  You could hear it all over the stadium when it hit the receiver in the chest.  He looks like he is going to be a really dynamite player for them."

On the first coach's challenge of the year, overturning a Stanford fumble recovery on the first play:

"I'm looking forward to looking at that on tape.  I'm interested to see what they ruled versus what we thought we saw."

On the gap between Stanford's passing successes and Stanford scoring:

"We were just inconsistent.  You can't just throw the ball to those guys.  They'll go and double those guys, which happens.  Now somebody else has to step up.  We had some times that other people had a chance to step up, and it didn't happen."

On Toby Gerhart's college debut and help he can provide with the running game:

"Yeah, he made a couple nice runs.  But I don't care if it's Toby or Jim Brown or whoever.  You have to get holes.  That was the most disappointing part, other than the poor tackling - the lack of ability to make things happen on the offensive line."

On open offensive line positions, as indicated by substitutions and moves in the second half:

"I think every position is open.  We obviously played without our starting center, who was our one starter coming back.  Hopefully we will bring more to the table next week."

On the red zone third-down Nick Frank halfback option:

"He was trying to throw a pass to the tight end, who had trouble getting off.  It was unfortunate that he got pressure, so he threw the ball away but didn't get across the line of scrimmage."

On the correlation between that playcall and faith in Stanford's short-yardage running game:

"Yeah.  That's different down there now.  That's 3rd & 3 on the three.  We hadn't physically matched up with them all day, so we had what we thought was a better option."

On scheduling this game to start the season versus its original October date:

"All that stuff is behind us.  We can't worry about the past.  All we can worry about is getting better, and I think this will make it easier for us to coach our players.  I think they'll see where they need to improve, and we'll see where we need to improve - the coaches as well."

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