Notes and Quotes: Stanford 42, SJSU 17

Moments after the completion of Stanford's 42-17 destruction of San Jose State, several Cardinal players and Coach Jim Harbaugh took some time to meet with members of the media. Read on for comments from Toby Gerhart, Chris Owusu, Andrew Luck, Tom Keiser, and Coach Harbaugh.

Andrew Luck on his second quarter interception:

"I made some mistakes that I wish I could have back. The interception was another immature play by me. I was under a little pressure and my first two reads weren't there. Instead of just throwing the ball over the guy's head and out of bounds and having another down to play, I tried to force it in there over the middle and I wish I could have that one back. That being said, we got the win and that's the bottom line."

Toby Gerhart on the return of Stanford's power running game:

"I feel like we got away from that a little bit last weekend in the second half and you know we wanted to come back out and reestablish an identity for ourselves. That was a big emphasis this week in practice, pounding the rock and going right back at them and getting mean and getting nasty, back to that identity that we had last year. Especially coming back for the first home game, we wanted to re-establish ourselves and let everyone see this is how it's going to be."

Luck on dynamic return man and wide receiver Chris Owusu's special talents:

"It's hard not to just stop and watch him play when you're on the field. He's really fast, a great guy and just does all the right things. It's a pleasure to play with Chris."

Luck on what a kickoff return for a touchdown to begin the ballgame meant to the Stanford team:

"It's awesome. When a guy can take the ball to the house like that and the whole crowd just stops and watches, it's amazing. It takes so much pressure off the offense to score first and the defense to get the first stop that it's wonderful."

Gerhart on Stanford's versatility in putting points on the board:

"It's nice as a running back when we throw for touchdowns. It spreads it out and you don't have everybody in the box. Then, when we start running the ball, you bring everyone in the box and it opens up the passing game. We take pride in our special teams. That was huge today. We had a kickoff return for a touchdown, a punt return for a touchdown, and any time that happens it takes a lot of stress off the offense and it takes a lot of stress off the defense. The defense stays on the field a little bit longer than we do, but points on the board go a long way. It clicked today. It was a little sloppy at times but it's coming along."

Tom Keiser on the defensive rebounding from missed tackles and a lack of aggression in the second half against Wake Forest:

"We were disappointed in our performance last week. We really worked at our overall defense and aggression throughout practice this entire week, and I think we went out there with a different mentality, more take it to them and be the first to strike attitude."

Keiser on his three sacks and consistent pressure of the Spartan quarterbacks:

"It was just great. I had some opportunities to make plays and I tried to take advantage of them. I just went out there and knew that I had ten other guys on the field with me that were going to be doing their job, and I knew I would have some opportunities to do something."

Keiser on how the Spartans' troubles running the ball led to Stanford's defense being more aggressive:

"We seemed to notice that they started to abandon it a little bit and we started reading little keys and knowing that it was going to be the pass, so we were able to capitalize on that."

Luck on the importance of this win going forward:

"It's very important. Especially coming out into the second half, we had a 14-point lead just like we did last week. That we were able to come out and score points and get a win is very big, especially at home in front of all these people."

Gerhart on his third-quarter fumble:

"I just fumbled the ball. I mean his helmet went right through the ball, but I wish I could have that one back. I take pride in ball security, all the running backs take pride in ball security and we got away from that a little bit tonight. But we'll get back to it. I'll hold on tighter and cover up with two hands in traffic a little better."

Gerhart on next week's battle with No. 24 Washington:

"It's going to be an exciting game. We watched Washington the first night on the way back from the WSU game, when they were playing LSU. They're a different team than they were last year. They're confident, they're playing hard, and they're playing well. Just watching that very first game, you knew they were going to be a team to contend with this year. Coming off that USC win, confidence is going to be sky high. We were at that same point last year, where were kind of struggling with a 1-11 year and then coming back and beating USC and beating Cal. We know how it is to ride that emotional high and they're playing with confidence and it's going to be a battle."

Chris Owusu on his second kickoff return for a touchdown of the year:

"On the kick return, it was a great scout look by our coach D.J. Durkin. He did a great job scouting the kickoff by SJSU. I just caught the ball and there was a big seam there and I just wanted to make sure I hit it. I had a great lead block by Jeremy Stewart, my off returner. I just hit the hole as fast as I could. It was a good opportunity for us to establish ourselves at the beginning of our home opener, and I'm really glad we got a win."

Gerhart on the return of lineman Allen Smith:

"Yeah, it's big. It's big for him and it's big for us. He's been battling injuries for two years now, I think. He was a stud offensive lineman when I came in as a freshman. He was an everyday starter at left tackle, a first-round NFL kind of guy and he had an unfortunate injury and battled back, but then hurt it again. And just getting back out there and getting his feet wet helped him gain confidence. As the week went on, he got more and more reps and he finished his weight-lifting routine he had to complete to get cleared. He was excited and couldn't wait to get out there. He was like, ‘I'll be blocking for you and we're going to be pounding the rock,' before the game started. To get a nice little warm welcome from the fans when they announced that he was playing at tackle boosts his confidence that he's going to help contribute to the offensive line and help establish our offense as the season goes on."

Coach Jim Harbaugh's opening statement:

"It was a good win, a good win for our team. We needed that win. I was really pleased with our special teams. I mean, it's very obvious the way they played gave a huge lift to our football team. Not only did they set us up with great field position but also the kickoff coverage and the punting game. The return game was outstanding. So I'm really pleased with that and really pleased with the defense. I really felt like they were running to the ball, getting bodies to the ball and putting more pressure on the quarterback. I feel like the identity of our defense, what we want to be about, was there tonight. We got the stinger back a little bit in our defense.

"Then, offensively, quite a few really good things. Obviously, we have things to coach. We can't have three [sic: four] turnovers and we can't have the penalties and expect to compete in this league. But we'll go to work and attack that, but I was pleased with a lot of the play. I mean especially Chris Owusu. I talked to Chris before the game and told Chris, ‘We need three explosive plays out of you tonight. You choose them and you choose how you get them, but we need three,' and he got three. He had the kickoff return, he had the touchdown pass and another long gain on a short pass catch and run. So a lot of good things."

Harbaugh on his team's fumbling issues:

"We have to go to work. We have to coach it and correct that area, like I said. It's a glaring thing turning the ball over and penalties. Both of those things were the things that stopped our drives, stopped our momentum. Where every team in the Pac-10 is vulnerable and anybody can beat anybody, you can't do that and expect to compete in this league. So we have to go to work and get that corrected."

Harbaugh on the improved play of linebacker Will Powers:

"He flashed a bunch of times. Its knowing what to do but it's also making plays and Will made some plays tonight. He had a huge sack and he flashed and made plays tonight and that was very encouraging, as it was with many of our defensive players. I was pleased with the way we were tackling individually, but we need less solo tackles and more gang tackles where more bodies are getting to the ball and I thought we had that tonight."

Harbaugh on the play of redshirt freshman quarterback Andrew Luck:

"It was very good. We wanted to establish the run. Andrew had some really nice throws but he had one bad decision in the red zone where he forced a ball into double coverage. Lots of things are learning experiences for him right now, but when you can lead your team to a big win like this when it needs it, that's very encouraging as well."

Harbaugh on the crowd:

"Let me just say the student section is really good. Most of them were freshmen that were in there tonight, as I understand it. They were there early and they were loud. The crowd was good; I think it's something that we're building here at Stanford, so I wasn't disappointed. They're knowledgeable fans, they know the game and they're behind the team and it's something that I think will get better and better as we go. It's something that I think is really starting to build."

Harbaugh on the defense's frequent blitzing:

"I think that's somewhat the identity of our football team. We want to put pressure on, we want to get sacks, and we want to get turnovers. We want to play sound defense and cover people and all those things but it was more Stanford Cardinal defense tonight and that's the identity we want for our football team."

Harbaugh on his team scoring touchdowns in five different ways:

"Richard Sherman tonight, another big return. We just had outstanding special teams play you just can't say enough about the job our guys did tonight. You tip your hat to Coach Durkin and the special teams, who did a phenomenal job in every single way possible. Punt return, kickoff return, kickoff coverage was outstanding. Then going against San Jose's excellent field goal block team, and the protection was good in that area. Just every phase of special teams I was very pleased with tonight, and our guys do have an identity there and they love it. They love playing on special teams and tonight it was a team win.

"We talked a lot this week about things we needed to attack and get better at as a football team, and as it concerns special teams we were getting good field position but it's their job to get even better field position and they did that tonight. We didn't have any turnovers on special teams last week, we didn't have any big plays last week in that ball game and they got them tonight. Also it's a good learning experience for our football team. We came out in the second half with the exact same 14-point difference we had when we were at Wake Forest and I liked the way our guys went about taking care of business in the second half. A lot of things with our team are good learning experiences and that was a big win for us."

Harbaugh on preparing for Washington:

"Getting prepared for the ball game, I mean it's every week. The opponent is kind of a faceless opponent, but you have to prepare every week to get your players ready for that ball game. We went about what their assignments are, what they need to do, and what they need not to do and then putting them in a position to make plays. That will be the focus this week, next week, every week as we prepare our football team to go out and win on Saturday. Like I said, this is a great conference. Every team is capable, every team is vulnerable and week after week, you have to get ready to play."

Harbaugh on his team's frame of mind going into the Washington game:

"We're kind of in the mindset this week, next week, every week of working to make our football team better and working to improve the areas that we can. Fixing things that need to be fixed and coaching and playing. That's where our football team is and it's that way this week, next week and every week."

Harbaugh on Terrence Stephens burning his redshirt:

"I mean, Terrence is playing. With the depth that we have, we need more guys there and I don't know. … I hear everybody use the burnt shirt thing, I don't know what that's about. Freshmen are eligible to play, Terrence has been called up on to play and it's a great opportunity for him to get better as a football player. Football players get better by playing football. Practicing, playing in games. The burn the shirt talk, what is that? You have an opportunity to play, you play."


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