Players React: Mark Bradford

This was to be his senior season, but injury took that away. Wide receiver Mark Bradford still had an opinion on Walt Harris, which is more complicated than some think. The fourth-year talent talked yesterday one-on-one with The Bootleg about the good and bad with Harris shortly after he was fired. The big question of course is if this change could bring Bradford back to Stanford in 2007.

Do you feel that now was the right time for this program to find new direction?

"I don't see any difference between now and later.  I don't see why not.  The relationship between the players in the program and Coach [Walt] Harris was not a very positive one, right at the moment.  I respect Mr. [Bob] Bowlsby's decision to move in another direction."

This is something I asked Evan Moore, but he pointed out that he didn't play last year.  I know that he was a hard coach, but there weren't these incidents and talk of difficult relationships with him during the season last year.  What do you think changed?  Did Walt Harris change his demeanor at all, or is he just a difficult coach to work with when you are not having success?

"Yeah, I would definitely believe that he's a difficult coach to work with when you're not having success, but at the same time, that could be said for any coach when you're not winning.  When you're losing, it's hard to be positive and not let a lot of negative stuff come out because negativity comes with losing."

Did you feel pretty good about where you all were heading before the Oregon game, or were there already some seeds of discontent?  Did you already have some concerns or some difficulty?

"For me, I didn't really have as much of a negative feel for myself.  I saw a lot of negativity from other players and from the coaching staff toward players around me.  It wasn't a personal thing.  It was more of what I saw and the vibe I got from other players."

With this happening just today, I know that you aren't ready to give any declarations on your future, but does this change the odds at all?  Or are you making a decision that is independent of this next Stanford coach?

"Right now, this is kind of putting me in limbo because I don't know what's going to go on with the program after this.  I will have to wait and see and make my decision based off what direction we're heading."

Is there a selection Bob Bowlsby can make, and I don't mean a specific name, who could inspire confidence for you to come back?  Or if you are healthy enough, is it time for you to take a crack at the NFL Draft?

"I think I'm going to have to see who he hires and see how I feel when I hear his name.  I couldn't say that there is or isn't anybody out there right now in my head.  It would have to be more of a feeling thing.  We'll have to see."

When we talked to you before, it was difficult for you to answer because he was your head coach.  But honestly with Walt Harris coming back next year, would that have made it close to a zero percent chance of your coming back?  Again, if you're healthy enough to do your workouts...

"If I was healthy enough to do my workouts, I wouldn't say that there would be a zero percent chance, but I would say that it would have been pretty low."

Is this a hopeful day for you?

"I don't gain any hope from Coach Harris being fired.  I think it's more uncertainty if anything."

Is there something that you liked in Walt Harris, where if he had made a couple different decisions with his personality and the way he handled people, this could have still been a very successful offensive program?  Or was this just not the right fit for Stanford?

"I definitely think there was the potential for success with him.  I personally didn't have as many gripes or negative feelings toward him.  I definitely appreciated him.  I felt like he helped my career more than anything else.  I definitely could have seen success and positive things coming from him in his era."

Are you a better football prospect now than when Walt Harris came here?

"Definitely.  It's not even close.  That's one of the things that gives me mixed emotions.  I see a lot of negativity and things like that.  On the other hand, I'm feeling a lot better because he's helping me out.  I'm getting the ball, and I'm happier.  He's making me a better player.  So there are a lot of mixed emotions as far as that goes."

Was this the wrong fit from the start?

"I think it was more of a gradual thing, and it kind of climaxed with a negative season.  We had a lot of losses this year.  Everyone is always a little more positive in the beginning, so I don't think it was a bad fit from the start...  I don't think it was a negative reaction at first.  I think that people wanted to work hard and try to buy in as much as possible to his philosophies.  I don't think it was a negative fit from the beginning.  I just think it gradually became worse and worse as time went on and we didn't have much success."

Were you surprised at all by Bob Bowlsby's announcement?

"I definitely was shocked."

What are the characteristics that you would like to see in Stanford's next football head coach and that could inspire you put the uniform on for another year?

"For me personally, I just want to be happy.  I just want to be somewhere I can be happy, get the ball and have success.  Basically that's it."

Where are you academically right now in terms of graduation progress?

"I'll be done in the winter."

When will you be making this decision whether or not to move ahead and get an agent?

"I want to make it as soon as possible, so we're going to look at the decision Bowlsby makes, how that makes me feel and where that puts me.  Then we have to look at my injury, how far along I am with that and where that puts my prospects for going to the NFL.  I'll just make my decision based on that."

Bob Bowlsby told us that he gathered feedback from players, and I know that you were a part of that.  Would you care to share some of what you had to offer him?

"No."

T.C. Ostrander is going to be coming back for his fifth-year and has a lot of hope.  You came in with him.  Without a head coach right now, is he the biggest recruiter for you to come back?

"He has been talking to me a little bit, but I don't want that to be an emotional decision based on a guy I came in with.  I'm going to make sure I sit back and separate myself from that emotional decision and more take an objective outlook on what is best for me."


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