What happened in the second half to allow Wake back into the game?
RW: We didn't play disciplined, tough, and the way we know how to play. That's how it turned out and they battled that second half and did a good job.
Was the heat a factor?
RW: No sir, I don't believe so. I felt like we were well trained - it wasn't the heat. I don't that's any reason to have an excuse
You got here early enough you to feel okay in terms of body clock and all that?
RW: Yeah, body clock was fine. We got up early all week got up and practiced early. None of those [heat or starting time] were factors. It just came down to us playing and in the second half we didn't execute the way we can
Can you tell a reason why you guys struggled in the second half?
RW: I can't give you a reason. I think that was just the facts, how it was. I just think flat out it was the way in we played and that's on us.
Can you describe that first touchdown pass you caught?
RW: Absolutely. Andrew just threw a great pass. I ran a go route had some inside leverage on the corner and he threw the ball on my outside shoulder. It was a great ball I just had to make the catch.
How about the second one?
RW: I motioned over into the slot and I had one-on-one with the safety that came down and I put a move on him.
Did you notice any defensive adjustments that they made in the second half?
RW: They started switching up their coverage a little bit late in the first half I noticed and continued on into the second half but nothing that wasn't expected.
So it was more execution on your part than the defense?
RW: Absolutely. Our offense didn't finish drives and our defense didn't get stops so it was on us.
If you get a lead like that is it a natural thing to relax a little bit?
RW: We have to get to that point where we put teams away and can be decisive like that. That's part of the process we need to get there soon. No more of this getting a lead and letting teams come back on us. It's unacceptable.
Talk about the work that you and Andrew have done not only during the season but throughout the offseason.
RW: We had plenty of opportunities in the offseason through spring ball and during summer we all stayed caught a ton of balls and ran routes during camp. Now we've gone over these same plays so many times that we know the plays and we make sure we're on the same page. Any time we need to get extra routes or anything we're doing that.
What's the big lesson you think this team takes away from all of this?
RW: We have to finish. We have to continue playing our kind of ball and like coach said we have to get those decisive victories and keep battling until the end. We can't let up like today.
What happened on that 50-yard completion on Wake Forest's game winning drive? Why did that play fool you on defense?
CS: I mean I don't know necessarily what happened on the back end. They'd been getting us with play action pretty much the whole game and then they were running some trick plays in there that we weren't ready for. They had that reverse quarterback pass and stuff like that. They got us. We weren't sound defensively everywhere at all positions so we have a lot of work to do.
When you see the guy catching the ball inside the five-yard line and he's on the way to the end zone would you just rather see him score?
CS: I mean on defense you never want to see someone score. We always believe in keeping them out of the end zone. We were trying to hold them to a field goal there to give our offense a chance but unfortunately couldn't do that.
You've probably never played in a game where the coaches told you to let the other guys score to maximize the time left on the clock. What would your reaction be if that was the directive? Would that be weird?
CS: I mean if that's what the coaches think will give the team the best chance to win you listen to what the coaches tell you, so that's what we would have done if they had told us that.
You hit a 54-yard field goal that grazes the crossbar. Is that your limit?
NW: No, it's not my limit. I hit it against the wind a little bit with the same stroke as all my other field goals. You just have to keep focused and do what you do. You don't put anything extra on it.
What's the longest you've done in practice?
NW: The longest I've ever done in practice is 60, without a holder, just a little field goal key.
You didn't get a chance to kick any field goals at Notre Dame?
NW: I had one chance against Penn State, a 51-yarder. That went wide right.
What about the one that you missed today?
NW: Today I hit the ground, I don't know what happened. I'll have to go back and look at the film. Everything was the same. I just happened to hit the ground, I don't know what it was. It might have been five steps back, who knows.
Can you describe the emotional lift that gives the team? Not only to make a 54-yard field goal as time expired but to hit the crossbar and then go running off the field…
NW: It's fun, especially with just one second left it's a good way to end the half to run off with a walk off field goal. It was pretty nice. It pumps everyone up, that's for sure.
Did you feel you had the momentum going into the second half?
NW: Definitely, we definitely had the momentum going into the second half. I can't say what happened…
Did you think the 54-yarder was good when it left your foot?
NW: Yeah, right when it left my foot I knew it was good, definitely.
What was the longest you made in warm ups today?
NW: 57 with the wind. I didn't go for anything farther.
Did you do any kicking yesterday?
NW: No, just leg swings and warming up getting the leg loose.
*Writers note: Whitaker's 54-yard field goal tied the Wake Forest stadium record for longest field goal ever, a mark that was originally set in 1983. The kick, which bested the his previous long kick by 24 yards, also tied John Hopkins (against San Jose State in 1989) for the 5th longest field goal in Stanford history.
Coach Jim Harbaugh
Do you see any common thread between this game and some of the games your team let slip away last year?
JH: Well we don't have any rear view mirror. Today's game was today's game and there were a lot of areas that made the game too close. It needed to be won decisively.
Did you get a look at the penalty on Chris Marinelli for clipping?
JH: Yeah, I had a good look at it. It was a good block from my perspective. Toby was off and ran about another ten yards and then the flag came out. It looked like a clean block to me…Marinelli appeared to cut him cleanly. There was no chop it was at the line of scrimmage. It looked to me that he got him engaged from the front and then cut him.
David DeCastro had the penalty in I think the series before the Marinelli clipping call. I think it was a procedure or false start that nullified another big play…
JH: That was a common thing. We did a good job converting on third down but they would find something to throw the flag about and it took two touchdowns off the board. [The game] needed to be won decisively.
Having said that why not let them score when it was 1st and goal at the three-yard line with 45 seconds left?
JH: The clock almost ran out. We called the timeout to try to preserve some time but you know we'd rather make them earn it and block a field goal.
How would you describe Andrew's play in this game overall?
JH: I thought he played excellent. He threw for 276 yards, 23 of 34 throwing the ball or something like that. I thought he played very well. He had a touchdown pass taken off the board I thought he did a good job.
What was your view of the game winning touchdown play and what did you think about the call there?
JH: I couldn't see anything. I couldn't tell from my perspective.
With hindsight being 20/20 do you think you guys got away from the power running game that's been your strength the last few years?
JH: No. I mean we were running the ball. We didn't get as many yards as we would have liked running the ball and gave up too many to Wake Forest. We just couldn't generate scoring drives in the second half but no, I don't think we got away from it.
On the pass play that got them down there in position to score at the end big gain on the last drive what happened defensively?
JH: We let them get behind our secondary. Good pressure by Delano but you stay as deep as the deepest and we didn't do that.
Any explanation for the Pac-10's problem in Eastern Time zones the last several years?
JH: No. I have no explanation for it.
Any thoughts on the interception Andrew threw?
JH: It was a bad snap and that threw his timing off.
How did you think the offensive line adjusted to the loss of Matt Kopa?
JH: I thought they did a good job. Pass protection was good I thought they played very well.
What are your thoughts on the clipping call they called against you that negated Gerhart's long run? Coach thought it was a bad call.
CM: I'd have to see it on tape but my feeling is that it was a horrendous call. You come around and square someone up and you cut someone down when they're attacking you that's the way the play was drawn up…it's textbook. I don't know, I'd have to see it on tape but…
Any explanation for why it was so tough on you guys in the second half?
CM: They did a good job adjusting but I think for the most part it was us putting together drives but kicking ourselves when we got there. Penalties, losing five yards is huge against a good team like this. Stalling out in the red zone happened too many times. It's not how we like to play.
Are you fully subscribed to The Bootleg? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our award-winning website. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com (sign-up)!