T.C. Ostrander Post-Spring Game Q&A

After 14 practices that were the best he has had in a Stanford spring, T.C. Ostrander on Saturday finally had an off day. The fifth-year senior quarterback talked with us one-on-one afterward and did not shy away from discussing his poor performance, including his reaction and contributing factors. Ostrander also commented on the defense, running back availability and pass protection.

You were 14-of-15 in last week's scrimmage.  Can you put your finger, before you see the film, on what was different for you out there today?

"I didn't have a good day today.  I'll be the first one to admit that.  But to give credit to the defense, they threw a lot of different looks at us, with blitzes and how they played the coverage behind them.  It was stuff we hadn't seen a lot before, and we didn't adapt to what they were doing well, obviously.  It was a lot of basic things - making the throws, going through the reads.  For some reason or other, I just didn't feel very comfortable doing that today.  I'm not really worried about it.  I think it's just one of those things where the defense came out and played well today, and the offense didn't."

You've had a sensational spring.  What is your personality in how you react to today?  To you carry the bulk of this spring's work with you into the off-season as confidence, or are you the kind of guy where this day will stick in your craw for the next few months?

"I'm the kind of guy where if I complete 14 out of 15 passes, that 15th one I didn't complete is going to keep me up at night.  I'm going to come back and look at this film today.  I'm not going to beat myself up over it, and I know I had a good spring.  I'm not going to say, 'Look at this.  I'm terrible.'  I know I've made a lot of strides this spring, but if there is anything good about this, it'll light that fire a little more.  There are a lot of things I'm going to work on, for me and everybody else.  It gives us a little motivation going into the off-season."

The flip side of this is that the defense has been beleaguered the last two scrimmages.  Did they really turn it up that much today and play quite this much better and different?

"We've been getting after them pretty good, and they've wanted to make a statement.  They were bringing a lot of stuff - some stuff we've seen, some we haven't seen before.  But it's stuff that we can handle.  If we sit down and look at it, we'll realize, 'Hey, this isn't that mindblowing.'  We'll be able to take advantage of it the next time they do it."

You beat the secondary on a lot of the throws in the first two scrimmages.  Today from your vantage, did they make it that much more difficult for you to find guys open?

"Yeah, they were tough.  It was strange because the the defensive coordinator, Coach [Scott] Shafer, did a good job of guessing what we were doing.  When we did throw the ball down the field, they did have tight coverage.  You have to give credit to the DBs.  I think they did a much better job.  On a lot of the short stuff, they were mixing up coverages.  Sometimes they were sitting on us, and sometimes they were backing off.  It was tough to get a handle on it.  But that's good.  We want them to give us a hard look.  Those are some of the looks we will get next year, and this helps get us ready for the season."

There were a lot more sacks today than we have seen in the other scrimmages.  How much of those were coverage sacks, and how many were protection breakdowns?

"I think it's a mixed bag between those two.  Sometimes we just didn't like what we were seeing downfield and held onto the ball too long.  Other times, there were just some miscues up front communications-wise and letting guys through.  I think it's a combination of those two."

Is it tough getting the passing game going when the running game struggles?  You guys had zero tailbacks after the first quarter and change...

"That's tough.  At the end, [Sam] Weinberger, you have to give him a lot of credit because I know he was struggling out there.  He had to carry a big load today.  So did Emeka [Nnoli] and those guys.  We had nobody to run the ball.  I'm sure that didn't hurt the defense.  They figured they were going to be throwing the ball a lot.  They had a lot of coverage, were dropping guys out and bringing some stuff after us, where if we had been able to run the ball, it would have helped."

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