Walt Harris Navy Post-Game

Stanford on Saturday played its worst game of an 0-3 season, which leaves many questions to be asked. The first round came for Walt Harris in the post-game locker room session with the media. He distills Stanford's problems in the 37-9 loss to Navy, while also answering on his wide receiver rotation, commenting on momentum and explaining his decision with 0:06 left before the half.

Opening statement:

"We got outplayed tonight by a football team that is very difficult to play against when you can't get ahead, like we did a year ago.  I think when you get ahead like we were able to, it makes it a little bit easier to defend that offense."

"They obviously made some improvements in the mistakes in the couple games that they have had.  As long as we continue to turn the ball over, we are guaranteeing that we have no chance to be successful.  What we need to do is to take care of the football.  When we do that, that will give it a chance to try and go win the football game."

"I believe the game is about momentum.  A key part of the game we had roughing the punter, which would have given the ball to the offense for the first time with any kind of field position - I believe it would have been around the 50 or so.  The offense was backed up the whole night and had the long field, which is really the kind of game they like to play.  It was a tough night for the Cardinal."

A tough night to open the stadium?

"Obviously we all feel terrible about that.  We have such a great venue for all of us to have the opportunity to play, but we have a lot of work to do.  A lot of improvement to do.  And we believe that the stadium will be an added boost to our recruiting efforts.  We have a long way to go in all those areas."

Do you think it's just inexperience, or is there something more going wrong with this team?

"Some of it is inexperience.  Then we had two fumbled kickoffs, and neither of those guys have been kickoff returners.  We had an interception.  Offensively that first half was one of the most frustrating halves that I've been involved with.  Every time we got started, something happened.  We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot and doing the things that get you beat.  We were really fortunate that it was 10-3 at halftime."

"The way it played out, I didn't want to take a chance at going into halftime with nothing on the board.  I just felt like our needed...  We're pretty young and we haven't had a lot of success, so I felt like we needed something positive to happen.  With the amount of time we had left, I thought that was the best way for us to go.  And it was good.  We got a little momentum.  Then in the second half, they dominated."

What happened with Evan Moore?

"He hurt his foot.  He came back in for one play and didn't run around really well.  We're concerned about it and his future, and we have a lot of games to play."

Richard Sherman did not play much.  Was there a reason?

"I don't know what happened to Richard.  He came in and misread a coverage or two.  We put Kelton Lynn in there, who did an outstanding job.  He kind of did the same kind of job that Richard did last week [laughs], catching the ball and being where he was supposed to be.  So we just stayed with Kelton.  It was great to see Kelton and Austin Yancy, who hadn't hardly played at all and is a true freshman, come in.  And Mike Miller did a couple of other things that were good."

"We got out of the regular game and had to play catch-up.  That's really tough to do."

Do you have an idea why Trent Edwards came out of the shoot not looking like Trent?

"I don't have much opinion on that until I look at the tape."

He didn't look like he was that sharp with his throws.  Was he sharp in warm-ups?

"I think that the first throw of the game, he threw it high, but he had somebody in his face or he was on his way back onto the ground.  Then he hit a guy going down the middle - wide open.  He hit him in the hands, and he dropped it.  When you're fighting for survival, which we're trying to do, you've got to hit 'em.  You've got to hit those plays.  And I don't mean to hit the receiver; he did hit the receiver.  I think Trent played solidly for us."

Defensively how would you assess this game?  You were just down 10-3 at the half.  Was it fatigue in the second half then?

"The opening kickoff, they got the ball on the 41-yardline going in.  You can't cover kicks like that.  We have a good kicker who can kick it out, and we need him to kick it out.  I think he's good.  Then we have to cover.  We have a couple guys new to the kickoff team who got waylaid, and they popped it.  Luckily we stopped them on the 41.  But that is terrible."

"Against this team, you need the long field.  They drove one down from the four-yardline down for a touchdown.  These guys are good, now.  But a year ago, we got ahead of them and kind of took them out of their game a little bit.  We did a better job on the fullback.  And we got out of Dodge."

Why did Mike Silva not start?

"He is not 100 percent healthy."

How concerned are you about your run defense?

"When you play this team, they're going to run the ball.  They're going to the run the ball on USC.  That's their thing.  We stopped the fullback for a lot of the night, and we had some good things done on defense.  We just also had some areas where they are very good at it and we were not able to pursue.  They're a tough team, and that's why they were fourth in the nation in rushing offense when they came into the game.  When you watch them all year, they're going to be a good team."

What was your thought process at the end of the first half in taking the three and not going for seven?

"I didn't want to take a chance with a young football team, who has had very little success, going into halftime with no points.  I felt like that would have been the wrong thing to do.  It would have been nice - we would have loved to have taken a chance with six seconds left and thrown it in the endzone.  Get the clock stopped, and kick the field goal.  But we also have a brand new field goal kicker who has at times struggled.  He just had his big toenail taken off Sunday.  I don't know how many of you guys have been kickers, but that's not the easiest thing to lose your big toenail on your kicking foot and then come back."

"We're thinking of all the things that go through your mind.  We thought that the smartest thing and the most guaranteed thing would be to put him in the middle of the field and call timeout.  That way we go into halftime with something on the board and have some momentum.  Then when they took that 41-yard drive down for a touchdown, that took a little bit of the wind out of our sails."

Did you feel like there was momentum going into the locker room?

"Yeah, I thought that by having a score on the board, which was a better guarantee.  Last year we went into the locker room tied 21-21 because we didn't quite execute that play that we ran like we had hoped.  I felt like this team is a little different team - a lot younger in a lot of areas - so it was better to come up with something.  Fortunately we were able to come up with something."


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