When are you taking that boot off?
"It probably won't come off. I might have to keep it on the rest of the year. There are only five weeks left. Well, seven including the two bye weeks. As long as I continue to play - because with a fractured bone you have to wait six weeks for it to heal, and I started running last week. Obviously it's not going to heal for a while, so I might as well stay in it when I'm not practicing."
How far have you come along in practice this week, compared to last week?
"Tuesday I did pretty much everything I would have done if I were healthy, except maybe one less rep per period. For the most part, it was pretty right on line with what I did before I got hurt."
The big question is how do you feel the day after practicing? Last week your foot was so sore after the Tuesday practice...
"I was walking around on it this morning, so it doesn't feel like it has gotten significantly worse. Obviously you have to wait until you get out there and practice again. Naturally I would think that I should scale back today, if they want me to do more tomorrow. Three days straight leading up to Saturday doesn't make sense to me, and I know it doesn't make much sense to our trainers. Whatever we have to do. I expect I will do a little bit less today than I did yesterday, and then tomorrow go back to what I did yesterday."
And all of this is geared toward being able to play on Saturday?
"Yeah, because that's the most important thing, right? [smiles] I mean, I'm not saying that practice isn't important. I'm huge on practice and preparation, but the game is the most important thing."
But you think that you will be able to play on Saturday?
Do you think you will be able to make an impact when you go out there and move around?
"I feel better this week cutting. I felt pretty good on Saturday, too. I would say that I was close to 90% on Saturday. In warm-ups I felt very good. This week I feel better cutting and everything. Obviously in a game you have a little more adrenaline, so that helps you do a little more. I felt pretty good yesterday, as far as the running and cutting is concerned."
Evan, how does the offense change with T.C. Ostrander in there?
"No slight to Trent at all, but I don't think it changes a whole lot. T.C. has a great arm. He's just been waiting for his chance. He's had his chances the last couple years. He had games like in my sophomore year when he started the last two or three games because of Trent being out. But it's not like we need to compensate for somebody who is not as accurate or does not have as good of an arm, or we need to take some things out of the offense. I guess the only thing that would change would be the rest of the offense adapting to someone who, at times, is learning. Trent took a lot of the rep's and Trent is very smart when he's making the calls at the line of scrimmage. That's not something that you learn just from standing on the sideline. That's something that you pick up as you play. Going through the whole week knowing that you're going to start is, to me, a pretty big deal because he can prepare himself differently. I noticed a difference yesterday in T.C. Just in the way he approached each drill, there was definitely a difference. I know that will sound a little clichéd, but when you know all week that you are going to start, you are better prepared. I would imagine that T.C. has his own pregame routine that gets him ready that he developed in high school, and we will be able to see that this week."
It's more than just knowing he is starting this week or in this spot. He is sort of being handed the keys, knowing that he is the presumed starter these five games and next year as well. Do you think he is going to wear that differently, as well?
"Sure. Trent and I were messing with him yesterday. Well, his nickname on the team is 'The Beast' because he is a beast. We said, 'The Era of The Beast has started at Stanford.' Because it really has. I know there has been competition behind Trent, but T.C. is the guy. There is no doubt in my mind, unless somebody else has something to say about that. Even going into next year, T.C. is our starting quarterback. Assuming Trent is out for the rest of the season, and he doesn't hear anything other than what he has already heard, then T.C. is the starting quarterback and he is the guy in that role."
Can you elaborate on where 'The Beast' came from?
"Well, T.C. is a bigger guy. We used to mess with him when he would get on the scale during the summer. What is he - like 6'2" or 6'3"? He would tip the scale at almost 230. Trent is taking weight-gainers to get up to that point, when he's consistently 225. T.C. just steps on there and tips it at 230. You just look at the guy, and it's his attitude about the game. He can get pretty pissed off sometimes. I just finally one day called him 'The Beast,' and it kind of stuck. Now everyone kind of is calling him that."
Do you think that someone who can get pissed off - no disrespect to Trent Edwards - but do you think that could be the kind of spark and mentality at the center of the offense that this team could really use in the position it is in right now?
"They're definitely different when it comes to that. They're definitely different when it comes to a mistake on the field or something like that, and T.C. gets more animated. I don't think it's a bad thing. As far as what it will do to the offense and the team, I don't know. He does get a little more fired up, and I'm sure he will in the huddle. I don't know. It's not going to hurt us, so you might say it could help us a little."
If The Beast's era has started, though, that means that Trent's era is over. What is your feeling about that? You weren't here yet when he came in, but he came in with so many expectations, and now it's over...
"Yeah, the expectations were definitely high. When I hear people say, even when he was healthy this year, 'Oh Trent isn't the quarterback that he should have been at Stanford' or this and that. Football is not basketball, where a guy can come in and dominate, put up 30 a night and have his team still lose. If Trent is going to succeed, our team is going to have to succeed. Trent doesn't have a successful year unless our team has a successful year, and obviously we're not doing that. For people out there to say that Trent hasn't lived up to his hype, or hasn't performed the way he should have performed, is just ridiculous. It's true, but people are saying it for the wrong reasons."
Right, it's wins and losses and people put that on the quarterback. What happened, then?
"I'm not going to sit here and go through each position of how we have failed, but when I think about this year and how high expectations were, we had some key injuries. Unfortunately, that hurt Trent. We had young guys playing at receiver who were still learning the game, and while Trent is in his fifth year expecting to reach the pinnacle of his college career, he has guys who are just starting and trying to learn the whole system. How are you going to be on the same page when you are at such different levels of your career? I thought our O-line has had a good year so far. They've had a decent year. To me, I've seen the best pass protection since I've been here. Just because Trent is running for his life sometimes does not mean the O-line is blowing their job. I'm not trying to put it all on the receivers, but again you just have a lot of guys [trails]... I felt like when we were all healthy, we had a lot of guys who were older and on the same page. Now we have some younger guys who are just starting to learn a little bit more. Then we have an older guy, and it just didn't mesh right. They needed more time, and unfortunately that's not going to work for Trent."
Can you describe your personal frustration, disappointment or sorrow that Trent is done before his time should be done?
"I think it hit me yesterday when I read some article, and his quote was, 'I am proud to have played quarterback at Stanford.' When I read that, it just killed me. I know people beat this to death, but he has done everything that he possibly could do here. And he has kept his character through the whole thing - it's been just unbelievable. Sometimes I come home, and I'm pissed off saying things that I probably shouldn't say. And I can't get him to say anything because that's just the way he is. He won't fire back and say, 'I know this guy and this guy and this guy...' He just won't say anything. He just continues to just stay positive and stay behind the system and what's going on here. It kept me straight, for the most part. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I feel so bad for him and that it was a big failure. Trent has had a great time here at Stanford, and he has enjoyed himself. I have seen him grow. Since I got here as a freshman, I have seen him grow in crazy amounts - beyond just on the football field - also as a person. Trent will tell you, too, that he is very fortunate to be where he is today. Obviously, we failed in football the last three years. He would tell you, 'Okay, I have struggled and I've failed.' I truly believe there are better days ahead for Trent. I truly do. He has all the talent. You can see him run, see him throw the ball and see how fast he is. Why would he not get a chance to star at the next level?"
You talked about the role of not having his veteran receivers, with you, Mark Bradford and Marcus McCutcheon being injured this year. Has it hit you yet that you have been injured basically this whole year when Trent could play, and not Trent is lost right when you are coming back? You two didn't get to have the year together you worked so hard for. You didn't get to be there for him; he didn't get to be there for you...
"Yeah. Then last year obviously I was out the whole year as well. The timing has been awful. That's just something I choose not to sit there and analyze because that's out of my control. I just tell myself that there is a plan for what's going on. There is a reason for what's going on. Who knows? I could drive myself crazy sitting here wondering why it didn't work out for the two of us together on the field, and why injuries had to take such a toll with so much losing. I could drive myself crazy trying to think about why it has been think like that, but I choose not to."
John Elway didn't get to a bowl game, either. Is that brought up to Trent? Does he respond to things like that?
"It's funny because I've also heard people say that. There is a columnist down in L.A. who wrote after the UCLA game - Steve Bisheff. Yeah, I have a bone to pick with that guy. He had a legitimate point when he said, 'This Cardinal team is for the birds.' That was the title of his article. He said that John Elway and Jim Plunkett should look the other way when this team runs out onto the field and not identify themselves with this team. He didn't address any of the injuries; he just said that there are no skill players and Trent Edwards has had a lackluster season. Well, if he did his homework, he would see that John Elway was 1-10 his junior year, and look at John Elway now. Obviously something happened. Who knows if Trent will be the next John Elway, but to sit there and say that Trent is not the quarterback that he should have been just because the wins haven't been there is ridiculous."
Evan, what is going to go into your decision whether to return next year?
"To be honest, and this is not just the politically correct media answer, but I'm really looking forward to these next five games. I think myself and some of these guys are going to have a lot of fun. Obviously, we're not going to a bowl. But you could say that we could really embarrass somebody. Who is going to lose to a team that hasn't won a game yet? That's our goal. The question you just asked is something that I will really think about in December. A lot of things will go into it. I haven't even thought about it yet, to be honest. I haven't given it the least bit of thought because that will just make things even more frustrating."
What is your own timeline for making that decision?
"Sometime in December. We come back for winter conditioning and everything in January. The reason I have no clue is that - how many games have we played since last September? We played 11 and this year seven. That's 18 games, and I've played in three of them. Who am I to sit here and see that I have great stock and this and that, ready to go? I don't know."
These games that you and T.C. are going to play together, does the success and interaction that you guys have play a part in that December decision?
"Maybe. Obviously, playing really well would help our whole team, and it obviously would help me if I play really well these next five games. More so, it would help the team. A lot of these guys and the seniors deserve to have a few victories. I'm not going to go out there and win a game myself, but I want to be a big part of that. I want to help and make the plays necessary to help us win - move the ball down the field."
Evan, you said that you feel frustration and are trying to keep it in check. Do you have a sense that other guys are keeping it in check? Because this can't be easy for anybody.
"Yeah, you don't see many blow-ups or anything like that. I don't want to say that this team has gotten used to losing, so that each day you come in and say, 'Whatever. Let's move on.' There still is a core group of guys who are angry when we lose because we don't expect to lose. I think guys have done a pretty good job, for the most part, of staying pretty positive. It's kind of an interesting way to look at it: Yeah, we've lost a lot the last three years - and I'm not saying we're used to losing - but guys have gotten better at moving on quickly and looking toward the next game. That's a good thing, in my opinion."
So you guys are staying motivated? Because the hard question is: Are the guys still playing?
"If there are guys who aren't, then that's ridiculous. We only play 12 games a year. Maybe I can appreciate it a little more because I haven't gotten to play as many of them. But there is nothing like going out and playing a football game. I don't care if we're losing or winning - there is nothing like beating the guy who is trying to guard you."
You talked earlier, and you were smiling, about the things you think you can do on the field now. The flip side of that: What can't you do as well as you used to, right now with the foot healing?
"Once I'm out there, I felt really good on Saturday. Like I said, there was a little adrenaline going and what-not. I feel pretty close to normal. Sometimes there is a pain that shoots through that area, but I think once Saturday comes around, I won't have too many limitations."
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