Jim Harbaugh Post-Spring Game Q&A

Reporters huddled around Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh on the field at Stanford Stadium for a final time this spring after the conclusion of the Spring Game. He talked about the surprises of the day on offense and defense, conditioning, T.C. Ostrander, injuries, which position switches will stick and more.

Opening comments:

"I feel good that we were able to get some turnovers defensively, get some three-and-outs and put pressure on the quarterback.  I think that's what we did very well today defensively.  Offensively, we didn't throw the ball and catch the ball as well as I would have liked.  I can understand the running game because we didn't really have any running backs today.  Once we got into the second quarter, we were playing with fullbacks at the running back position.  That's a concern right now - the depth at the running back position.  Anthony Kimble got hurt.  Jason Evans tweaked his hamstring two days ago, so he wasn't able to go after the first couple series."

"My overall feeling right now as a football team is that we need to be in much better condition.  We have to have the stamina to play 12 games.  Have the energy and endurance to play two games back-to-back!  That's how we have to be trained, and we're not there right now."

How about the running of Tyrone McGraw today?  He had some breakaways...

"Yeah, that was good, but we need the endurance.  But he's special.  I think that we have something to really build on there.  We have to strengthen our legs as a football team, in our endurance and in our conditioning.  That's going to be a major focus of us the next four months."

How much of your scheme do you feel you got implemented this spring?

"A lot of them.  Not 100 percent.  I hate to put a percentage on it, but enough to test our schemes both offensively and defensively.  I'm pleased with the amount of volume that we got in.  I'm pleased with the 15 days."

"I'm pleased with the guys who made all 15 out of 15 [practices].  That was a real accomplishment for those guys who made every single practice."

T.C. Ostrander was 14 out of 15 last week.  Today not really the same guy out there?

"No, he struggled today.  He struggled I think with mechanics, setting his feet and throwing the ball like he has been all spring.  I didn't feel that he was doing that today.  That's something to learn from."

The offensive guys said that today wasn't really representative of the work they have done over the course of the spring.  Would you agree with that?

"Yeah, it wasn't their best day offensively."

You were facing today Scott Shafer, basically, with him calling the defensive plays.  Did he call a pretty good game and have answers for what you guys were trying to do on offense?

"Yeah, they really did.  I really really pleased with the way we played defensively.  That is very encouraging.  I was really happy, especially with the blitz and the tempo of our blitz.  I thought our 'cover two' scheme was a really good addition for us defensively.  Just the tempo and timing of our blitz was excellent.  I'm happy about that - believe me!"

You said this wasn't the offense's best day.  Was it the defense's best of camp?

"By far, our best day defensively.  That is something to really build on.  I'm really encouraged by that."

There's a double-edged sword.  You might have a good offense, but the defense needed a boost going into the summer also, right?

"There is no question of that key to us having a good football team.  That's the reason we went one's against one's all spring.  I want our offense to feel like our defense is going to stop people, and I want our defense to feel like they can trust the offense when they're on the field.  That's why we made the competition like we did, all spring long."

Of the guys banged up, is there anybody you anticipate not having ready to go when you start again in August?

"I would anticipate everybody on our roster being able to go for fall camp...  And that's a heckuva thing.  15 days of hitting and one's against one's, and we don't have one serious injury.  That was very encouraging for us.  I'm glad we got out of it clean and healthy.  That's probably the brightest part of the day, really."

You said that conditioning will be a point of emphasis.  Do you feel that these five practices over a short span wore guys out a bit?

"It should.  And apparently it did.  It was obvious to me.  And a football team wins on its legs.  Our overall speed and conditioning has to be better.  We were moving slower than we need.  Let's put it that way."

The offensive line has been a focus for people watching the program the last several years, and there were a number of sacks today.  Did you feel that the line broke down too often?

"Some of them were coverage sacks.  I've been very pleased with the line and very pleased with the job that Chris Dalman has done.  They have protected well all spring.  I can't really point to them.  I felt they had a pretty good day, but I need to go look at the film and see."

"I thought it was more in the throwing and the catching.  We just weren't accurate throwing the football today, more so than the offensive line at fault.  That's my honest assessment."

The three guys you moved to defensive back earlier in the week - do you think they stick there going into the fall?  Of all the position switches you made this off-season, do any of them go back after what you have seen in the spring?

"We'll evaluate that.  The thing is that we wanted to evaluate them for five practices because we felt if one of them had a chance to stick on defense, then we could at least see that in these five practices.  I felt like if we didn't do it in these five practices, then we wouldn't do it when we got to training camp.  We'll make that evaluation before we get to camp, which if any will stick on defense."

How about Marcus Rance sticking on defense?

"Yeah, Marcus Rance would probably be the leading candidate.  Marcus had a very good spring on the offensive side of the ball.  Chris Hobbs wasn't really healthy enough to really get a fair evaluation on defense.  Nate Wilcox-Fogel, we'll see.  I like those guys at receiver, too, but at least we've evaluated on both sides and can make a decision on them."

In the bigger picture looking at these 15 practices, what went as you expected and what didn't go as you maybe expected?

"I expected to find 30 football players this spring - 30 guys who love football, love to compete, could play hard every play, could play hurt and could play to win.  That's what I expected to find, and I think I found that."

The number two quarterback battle between Tavita Pritchard and Alex Loukas - how would you say that's shaping up right now?

"Neither one has the edge.  I'm really pleased the way Tavita threw today.  Alex, not as much.  Not with his decision making and his velocity on the ball.  We have a lot of time to work.  Well, not a lot of time, but some time.  He has to take the inconsistency out of his game to really trust him back there.  That battle will wage on into training camp.  That's probably the best way to say it."

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