Harbaugh, Ostrander Pac-10 Media Day Quotes

Thursday brought the sportswriters from all of the Pac-10 media markets together in Los Angeles to talk with the head coach and a central player for each team in the conference. Stanford had Jim Harbaugh and fifth-year senior quarterback T.C. Ostrander on the podium, answering questions about the Cardinal's changing culture, some key players for this fall and the new leadership Harbaugh brings.

Head coach Jim Harbaugh

Opening statement

"Good morning.  It is a pleasure and a privilege to be here representing Stanford University, along with my quarterback T.C. Ostrander.  We are tremendously excited and enthusiastic to get this season started.  I guess the only issue is that now I have to make good on all those promises I made in the interview process."

"Here's the plan: I plan on doing it with a senior group that is committed to winning football games - that is tired of getting their butts kicked.  Our team right now is going through the process of earning the right to expect to win.  Sitting to my right here is our quarterback, and he will be our quarterback.  There is no controversy there.  T.C. Ostrander is our quarterback.  He is a committed guy.  He has the respect of our entire football team and our entire coaching staff.  And we have a group of those committed seniors at every position.  We have talented guys.  We have guys who have been there before, who are experienced.  We are very excited to get this thing started August 6."

On his impressions of redshirt sophomore Ekom Udofia and fifth-year senior Udeme Udofia:

"Ekom Udofia I think is a premier player in this league at defensive tackle.  We did not have Ekom in the spring.  He had a shoulder surgery and was out for 16 weeks, so we are very excited about his return - I think you will see a lot of improvement with our defensive line this year.  That is one area of our football team where I think there will be substantial improvement, and Ekom will be a reason.  His brother Udeme goes from the linebacker position to 'rush' defensive end, so there will be two Udofias playing in the Stanford starting lineup come September 1 versus UCLA.  We have depth.  We really have four very good quality defensive ends.  Erik Lorig is another one of those defensive ends; he moves from tight end to defensive end.  Along with Pannel Egboh and Emmanuel Awofadeju, so I believe that we have a lot of talent in our defensive line.  I think you'll see a lot of improvement in our defensive line this year.  Ekom is back and ready to start camp."

On the move of redshirt sophomore Erik Lorig from tight end to defensive end:

"In our plan to win - how we're going to win this year at Stanford and into the future is on defense.  That's our number one plan.  We're putting as much talent as we can on the defensive side of the ball.  Erik Lorig is an example; he is a tremendous football player.  We're going to try and load up on defense.  Austin Yancy, who was a very good receiver last year in his true freshman year, we moved to safety and he'll be a starting safety.  That's just an example of our philosophy and trying to strengthen our defense."

On the tangible tactics to change the culture of Stanford Football:

"Three things that we want our players to do.  Number one is to play hard, play hurt and play to win.  Then just from a 'love of the game' standpoint.  The love of the game must be genuine.  Lack of earnestness or half-heartedness will eliminate any man from a football team.  Our philosophy is that we will work like dogs and have fun doing it.  We will enjoy the struggle of playing football.  Football is different than other games.  It tests a man's courage.  I want our guys to have it become a brotherhood; it becomes a love.  They enjoy the struggle of playing football and expect to win.  To expect to win, you have to earn the right by how you work and how you prepare.  That's what we're doing.  It's one day at a time, improving the culture of our football team."

On the influence and impact of Bo Schembechler on his career and coaching now at Stanford:

"There are two people in my life, my dad and Bo Schembechler, where now that I'm 43 years old I feel like the things that come out of my mouth and the ways that I think - I can hear Bo Schembechler talking.  I'll say something and turn around and say, 'That's something Bo would have said.'  Both of those people are individuals with such strong will and tremendous character.  It's not like you take notes on how to be like Bo Schembechler or Jack Harbaugh.  It's almost like they will their DNA on you.  You're like a piece of iron, bent and put into one of those hot stoves, and you come out different.  I've been tremendously blessed.  The people who have trained me, both as a player and as a coach, are some of the legends in the game of college football and pro football.  My dad, Bo Schembechler, Mike Ditka, Lindy Infante, Mike Riley, Al Davis at the Oakland Raiders, Bill Callahan and Bill Walsh, who is less than 30 seconds from my office in Palo Alto.  So I've been really blessed to have a lot of the greats train me."

On the anticipated challenges moving up to Pac-10 play:

"The biggest challenge, and Coach Willingham touched on it, is the strength of the schedule and the strength of the Pac-10 Conference.  I believe that it is the toughest in college football.  Eight bowl eligible teams last year - phenomenal teams.  We open up with UCLA, and they are a great team.  Our out-of-conference schedule - TCU, San Jose State and Notre Dame - were all bowl teams last year.  USC is not only the best team in the country, but maybe the best team in the history of college football.  Those are huge challenges, and it definitely motivates us.  I can tell you that."

On sophomore running back Toby Gerhart:

"He didn't get a lot of work in the spring.  He played baseball and broke his wrist.  He got an inside fastball when he was playing down at Texas.  We will get him back.  He looks good, though.  He doesn't look like a baseball player anymore.  I just saw him a couple days ago.  He has developed himself over the summer back into a football player.  Of all our running backs last year when you look at the film, I believe in Anthony Kimble and Toby Gerhart.  They are our two best running backs.  Toby was the guy who usually finished going north and south.  He is a football player, and we are looking forward to seeing him in pads, practicing with our team August 6.  That will be the first time that I get a look at him in pads, the first day of practice."

On USC this year and any update on the future of Pete Carroll:

"No, that ground has been plowed.  There is no question in my mind that USC is the best football team in the country.  They may be the best team in the history of college football.  They are tremendously well coached.  They have tremendous talent at every position, in my opinion...  I think they're current team is that good."

On the difference recruiting at Stanford versus San Diego:

"We have scholarships at Stanford.  That's the biggest difference."

On balancing his enthusiasm and the intended culture change with being realistic in this endeavor:

"I don't balance or temper the enthusiasm or the excitement that we have for this season.  We are ready to kick this thing off.  As far as having a crystal ball and how many games we're going to win, I don't have one with me.  What we're trying to do is get better every single day, and that started back on January 9.  It was an 8-10 week winter program, and that continued into Spring Ball.  We had a physical, though spring football practice - the toughest I've been around.  We went into our summer, and our strength coach and entire football team stayed in Palo Alto over the summer.  They are training together, and now they are poised and ready to start training camp.  I feel good.  I feel confident.  Like I said at the open, I'm banking on these seniors.  They are committed and true leaders, like the guy sitting next to me.  We will take that team and we will play UCLA on September 1, and we will expect to win.  That being said.  It was a pleasure to be here.  Well spoken guy, is he not?  We look forward to seeing you all down the road.  Thank you very much."

Fifth-year senior quarterback T.C. Ostrander

Opening statement

"I would just like to say that with the arrival of Coach Harbaugh, that has reinvigorated our football team - especially our senior class.  Ever since he got here, we have been committed to changing the culture that has kind of been a losing culture the last couple of years.  The new staff, Coach Harbaugh and everybody he brought on, has a lot to do with that.  There is a lot of positive leadership, and we're looking forward to starting camp and getting underway."

On the atmosphere after last year's win at Washington:

"Obviously the year was going just terribly.  It was a tough environment to play in, but we approached every game as an opportunity to get better and get that win.  Getting that win in Washington was a monkey off our back, but we never doubted ourselves in any games we played before that.  We certainly didn't doubt ourselves after that.  For us last year, for all the problems we had and all the injuries, our focus was just going out, improving each week and playing the best football we could play.  Up at Washington, it all came together for us a little bit, and we were able to go away with the win."

On the pressure to succeed, born in Stanford Hospital, where his dad was a pole vaulter and following Trent Edwards:

"I don't think there is any outside added pressure.  I have always put the most pressure on myself to win, and I have always been the most critical of my play.  It's really been a blessing to be able to play where I've grown up and where my dad went to school and competed in athletics.  I don't look at it as having any added burden.  Playing the quarterback position at this level is hard enough.  I have the highest expectations for myself, so really any expectations outside of that aren't going to add any pressure."

On having a coach with an NFL résumé:

"For me, it's been a blessing.  Ever since I found out that Coach Harbaugh was going to be our coach, I have just wanted to approach his being my coach like a sponge.  I'm soaking up every piece of knowledge he has, whether or not he knows that he's giving it to me.  I look at him as an example of how to approach a game - how to prepare and how to compete.  I followed him when I was a kid, and I always enjoyed watching him play.  I can see some of myself in how he played, so I think he's a good model to try and improve my game."

On the changing culture for players at Stanford:

"We've come together as a senior class and taken on being leaders of the team.  We've tried to put together something that we can put in front of the players, which comes from the players.  A lot of that has to do with personal accountability and personal responsibility.  I think that the most improvement as players that we can make to improve this program is that everybody has to approach the game doing their best to improve as a player and working as hard as they can without someone telling them to what to do, how to do it or when to do it all the time.  We're trying to put together something right now as seniors and as people in leadership positions to get more accountability and more responsibility out of our players.  Raise the expectation of what it means to be a Stanford Football player when the coaches aren't around or when you're off the field, so that you don't do anything to hamper your improvement and that you maximize your efforts toward becoming a better football player."

On what led to the win at Washington last year:

"I think that one of the factors that led to our terrible year last year was that we had a bunch of injuries, and we were playing a bunch of young guys.  I think that game was the first game where everybody on offense really had a feeling like we were all on the same page.  I know that defensively it was a similar feeling.  I think that we had a good gameplan going into that game, and one of the main differences - actually the difference - was that we executed like we knew we could.  Richard Sherman grew a lot as a freshman last year.  He always had the talent, but it was just a matter of playing within our system, executing the plays and everybody being on the same page.  More often than not that game, we were, and that was the difference."

On that giving confidence that Stanford can play with the Pac-10:

"I don't think that anybody on our team doubts that we can play with the Pac-10 teams, and I don't think that was really a factor going into any of our losses last year.  I think confidence was really the thing.  I think we learned more as a team, a lot of young guys, what it takes to win.  It's not always being the better athletes or being the fastest guys.  You have to really have all 11 guys on the same page at the same time.  If you don't, nothing is going to work.  I think that game just gave everybody a little insight into what it really takes to win and what's really important."

On playing eight games at home in the new Stanford Stadium this season:

"I grew up going to games at the old Stanford Stadium.  I actually grew up going to games and was fortunate to finish playing the last game ever played there, so that was a great feeling for me.  I remember walking into the new stadium before they even laid the sod on the field and thinking that I just time warped or traveled into some place that was far, far away.  It just didn't feel like Stanford.  The new stadium is great, and we're just hoping to put some more people in the stands.  I think once we do that, it's going to be a great environment to play in.  You have to give a lot of thanks to John Arrillaga and the amazing job that they did putting that stadium together so quickly.  We just want to honor that by playing our best football in those eight home games."


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