Harrison, Hooper San Jose State Post-Game

Cornerback Brandon Harrison and safety Trevor Hooper combined for 21 tackles against San Jose State. Add safety David Lofton and his 12 tackles, and the defensive backfield was busy wrapping up Spartans. When San Jose State had 49 carries and just 17 passes, however, that is a bad sign for Stanford. Harrison and Hooper talked afterward about the loss and why the defense allowed 349 yards rushing.

Senior cornerback Brandon Harrison

Brandon, they had such a big day running the ball against you.  Can you explain what happened?

"First, I think it's important to know that Coach [A.J.] Christoff has done a great job these first couple of weeks, really getting us in good positions to make plays.  I think it's on us - and by us I mean myself, Trevor [Hooper] and David [Lofton], who are seniors on the defense - to really get guys going.  I think we are getting ourselves in great positions to make plays, and we're just not making them.  Whether it is tackling or just being in the gap we're supposed to be in.  We're going to have to get a little bit of a renewed focus as a team, and as a defense especially, to make sure we get our job done on every play."

How much are you guys missing Michael Okwo?

"You can't replace a guy like that.  We've got talent on the field, even without Michael out there, but he's a special player.  I think it's pretty much a consensus amongst everybody who knows our team that he is probably our best defensive player.  Anytime you lose a guy like that, he's going to be missed.  He's a special kind of player.  But the fact still remains that on most plays and in most situations, we have guys who are in the right place.  It just boils down to whether we have enough concentration and enough focus to do the fundamentals, do what we're coached to do and make a play."

How much does confidence play a factor?  Is it like a snowball rolling downhill, with some of the young guys particularly?

"You know, I don't think so.  I know from being in the huddle these last couple of weeks, on the defense for the most part, I think it was a positive focus in the huddle both weeks.  Guys weren't getting down.  Guys weren't getting on each other.  I don't think necessarily that confidence was becoming a problem.  I don't think anybody fell by the wayside in that respect.  Again, I just think we're in the right spot, and we just need to be able to tackle better.  We need to get in our gaps better.  But I don't think confidence was really playing a big role."

On one scoring play, they had a guy run left and then right all the way back to the right and score a touchdown.  Can you describe what happened from you guys' perspective?

"It was kind of eerily similar to a play a few years back, where we over-pursued.  They ran a reverse.  We had great pursuit - guys running across the field.  We cut them off in the backfield.  We had a bunch of guys around the ball.  He stopped, picked up a couple blindside blocks and was off to the races."

How much emotion did you feel that they were picking up as they countered and climbed back into the game?  Did you feel that these guys on the other side of the ball were getting higher and higher?

"Yeah, I think there is where your snowball aspect came into play - for them.  You could feel it.  As things went better and better for them, they got more and more excited.  They came out with more fire on defense.  Then if they got a stop, their offense came out really believing that the game wasn't over.  Even down two or three touchdowns, things got better and better for them.  They kept capitalizing and kept using it to build the momentum, to get the fire behind them.  Then they never lost belief.  What we said in the locker room is that we need to take our hats off to them because they came out and they beat us.  That's it."

What is going through your mind when you see the offense take the field with 2:12 left and you're down by one?

"Not a doubt that we're going to win.  I have that much confidence in Trent [Edwards].  I have that much confidence in Evan [Moore], in Anthony Kimble and in the offensive line.  That's not going to change going into the Navy game.  If you put us into the situation down a point to Navy with 1:36 left on the clock, I'm going to be on the sideline expecting us score and not having a doubt that we're going to win the game.  Just like I did today."

What are you thinking when you see them charging the field after the game is over?

"For me personally, I tried to congratulate their players because they deserved it.  They played hard for four quarters, and they proved that they played better football for a total of four quarters than we did.  That's why they won the game.  We couldn't make plays when they were available for us in the second half.  I could see the excitement on their faces.  It just hurts to be on the other side of that obviously."

Can you comment on getting hurt two weeks in a row by a big running back effort?  This week it was Yonus Davis.  What kind of back is he?

"A little bit different back than we saw last week.  Last week was a big, strong guy who was fast, too.  Davis is a little bit of a smaller guy, who has good speed and great quickness - good feet.  Sometimes guys like that are even harder to tackle than the big guys because they have so much shiftiness   His center of gravity is so low.  You really have to wrap up and get a lot of guys around the ball to bring him down.  I think he had a pretty solid game last week, and he came out and played another good game this week.  Unfortunately we were on the other side of it."

Brandon, how is team morale right now?

"10 minutes after a game, it's not too great.  I think, on the whole, in the locker room there is still a very positive attitude about what the rest of the season holds for the team.  Going into the Navy game, I think you'll see a renewed focus and a lot of people still being positive."

Fifth-year senior safety Trevor Hooper

What happened between the first and second halves today?

"It's really tough.  I felt like we came into halftime... Even though we were up, we have been preaching to play the next play.  That's what we were hoping to do in the second half.  We had good energy coming out.  They scored really quickly on us a couple times.  It's really disappointing to have a result like this."

How difficult is this?  There was so much optimism a couple weeks ago.  Now you're 0-2 going into the opening of your new stadium.  Can you describe what the state of the team is at this point?

"Well, there's nowhere to look but up, and there's no reason for us to get down.  That's just going to hurt us even more.  We have to keep our heads up.  We have a great opportunity in front of us and a great season in front of us.  Like it has been said before with this team, we have a really high goals for ourselves.  If we can get the things corrected that have had us suffering the last two weeks, then we are going to turn around our season.  We have to start and focus in practice and keep it going.  We're hoping that next week we play really good football."

You were up 20 by one point, and then they scored at the end of the half and the momentum started swinging back.  Did you have any sense of that?

"Their guys were fired up, and they were definitely ready to play today.  I felt like we were as well.  They scored a touchdown; we weren't getting riled up too much.  We just kept playing.  Momentum obviously can go back and forth, with the fans getting more into the game, but we tried to stay focused.  My hat's off to San Jose State tonight."

Are you fully subscribed to The Bootleg? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our website, as well as our full-length feature articles in our glossy magazine. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com (sign-up) and The Bootleg Magazine (sign-up)!

The Bootleg Top Stories