Post-Game Press Conference: UW

The full transcript of Saturday night's post-game press conference. There were smiles and accolades all around, punctuated by focus, humility, and an awareness that we can get a lot better. Can we please, please have every week be like this one? This team is growing in confidence without losing respect for its weekly opponent.

Post-Game Press Conference: Stanford vs. Washington 9-26-09


Toby Gerhart:

How upset were you about the fumble and did it inspire your 200-yard game?


"I was really upset - I take pride in ball security. That's been two games in a row now where I've put the ball on the ground. I was angry and felt like I let the team down. Going into the game, we emphasized ball security because we felt [turnovers] was the only way they were going to be able to stop us. We were confident in our game plan that we were going to be able to move the ball and we just wanted to protect it. To put it down (on the ground) the first drive of the game was really upsetting. I tried to shake it off, bounce back and keep trucking along."


How does it feel to have a 200-yard game?


"It feels good. I didn't know exactly how many I had. I think someone mentioned it was 200, so yes, it's exciting. You always talk about it, shoot for 200, and to finally get there is a great feeling."


Andrew Luck:

Can you talk about the lateral play?


"It was boneheaded, immature and I wish I could have it back. It was tough and we tried to bounce back from it."


Can you talk about that moment in the game where it was 7-7, after the lateral. What was the feeling on the sideline after that play?


"We were very confident. Our O-line said a couple times that we can't be stopped and we'll block whomever. They decided to take it upon their shoulders. Toby ran so hard like he always does, as did Jeremy [Stewart] and little Stepfan Taylor and Tyler Gaffney. They made up for a lot of mistakes I made tonight because it definitely wasn't a great night on my part. It's great when you can still win when you play horrible games."

What makes Toby such a great running back?


"First of all, he's a great teammate. He doesn't sit here and talk about himself all the time and come into the locker room and expect people to do things for him. He doesn't walk around campus and expect people to get out of his way or let him cut in line. He's humble; he works his butt off every day.  He doesn't say much and is a quiet leader for our team. He's tough – look at him – I wish I had his body."


Toby Gerhart:

Coming into the game, did you think you would have so much success running the ball?


"We were just going to go at ‘em. They are a good defense and we were just going to go downhill. We ran a ton of 'power', like we thought we could do. It's just a mindset and we knew it was going to be tough, watching them on film. Some teams got some yards on them, USC had quite a lot of rushing yards against them, and we felt we could do the same thing and go downhill. And it worked out."


How about the offensive line play?


"Everybody played well – the offensive line, the tight ends. On the long run, you saw [Ryan] Whalen and Delano [Howell] 60 yards downfield blocking for me, that's a touchdown block. That takes a 20-yard gain into a 60-yard gain for a touchdown. All the credit to those guys – the offensive line, every single one of them drove those guys out of there. Jim Dray just moves people and you can never give enough compliments to Owen [Maricic], he just goes out there and smashes people repeatedly. It was just a team effort today and we got after it and it paid off."


Clinton Snyder:

Did you guys feel like this was going to be a letdown game for the Huskies after coming off the win against USC?


"I talked about it earlier in the week. I know that we had done that because we came out the week after USC and lost to TCU. I knew that they were going to come out with that same mentality and we were expecting them to come out strong – like we wanted to after we beat USC. We weren't expecting them to be letting up at all. They came out and really played hard, but we just wanted it more."


How were you able to contain Jake Locker?


"Defensively, all week we were working on '11 guys flying to the ball'. We do that every week of practice and that's how you win games on defense – you have 11 guys flying to the ball. When you have a quarterback like that, who can get out of the pocket and hurt you, you have to have people flying to the ball."


How did it feel getting those interceptions?


Delano Howell:

"It felt good. The coaches were stressing all week just to do our job and good things would happen. I should have had three (interceptions)."


How much did you play on offense and where did you line up?


"In this game, I think I had about four or five plays on offense. I lined up in the slot. It was a good opportunity for me to play offense and defense this week. Coach had me in there to block and it's my pleasure to block for Toby. I just tried to string the block downfield as long as possible and Toby did the rest."


You held Locker to under 200 yards passing, what did you think of him in this game?


"Locker's a great quarterback; he can use his legs as well as his arm. We had a lot to prepare for this week. So in practice we just made sure that we were doing our job. We were able to contain, but I still think he was a force in the game."

Clinton Snyder: 

What was the feeling after Owusu returned the opening kickoff?


"That's the way we expect to start a game. If we can execute the way we know we can on kickoff return that's what we know will happen. We weren't really that surprised to see that happen again. Were you guys? I was surprised that they kicked it to him. But once he gets that ball and is running full speed, it's going to be hard to catch that man."


Head Coach Jim Harbaugh:


Opening Statement


"I was really proud of our team. It was a good team win and I thought our guys played as hard as they could for as long as they could, and left no doubt. I'm proud of our guys. It was a good program win."


Can you talk about Delano Howell's performance tonight?


"I thought it was exceptional – very physical and we got him on the offensive side of the ball and he had some tremendous blocks. He played really well at the free safety position and when he was down in the box he was very physical and a very sure tackler."


Was this Toby's best game ever?


"Toby has had a lot of good games. I thought it was good, especially coming back after the fumble. He ran very physically. I don't know how many times we ran power today, but it was a lot. He picked up key yardage for us. What can you say about Toby? And the way the line blocked, another sensational performance by our offensive line. It was just a good team win. I felt like a lot of people contributed to this and I was very proud of our guys."


Were you expecting to be able to run the ball as well as you did?


"We were the favored team, we were playing at home, we expected to do that and to win. And we wanted to do it decisively. It was great to do it against another Pac-10 program. Washington has incredible coaching, what Steve Sarkisian is doing up there, Nick Holt, very impressed with the job they've done. We've gone against them now three years in a row when they were at USC and now at Washington, and that makes it nice for our guys."


What was the key to containing Locker?


"I think one of the keys was with [Sione] Fua and Ekom [Udofia], the push they were getting up the middle. Bull-rushing from the outside, trying not to give him anywhere to run. Constricting the running lanes and making him throw over the top. We continued to push the pocket and I think our defensive line did a heck of a job in that regard. Our coverage was tighter, and we forced him into some bad decisions. We got some hits, some sacks and some turnovers which were big."


Did you talk to Owusu before the game, how many plays he needed this week?


"I told him we needed four today (laughing), and I thought we were on track after the first one. He did a nice job on the reverse too and that was a big play. Caught the bootleg and got it inside down the 10. Yeah, I thought he had a heck of a game."


What does taking back the opening kickoff do for a team?


"You want to set a tone early and that's the first opportunity to do that, so it really does set a tone. It also helps for field position the rest of the game because they aren't really kicking to Chris anymore after that. They are doing the mortar kicks and we are still getting field position at the 35 or 40 and that really helps."


You mentioned running "power" tonight a lot – what does that exactly mean?


"It's an off-tackle play where we pull the guard. It's kind of the play we hang our hat on, kind of a signature play for us. It's a gap scheme, it's not a zone-blocking scheme. It's pretty much been our signature play here for a while."


Luck had a rough first half; when you were down in the red zone. you ran three straight running plays. Were you trying to take pressure off of him?


"No. He had hit the pass to get us down there. We felt confident that we could run it in there. But I thought Andrew did a heck of a job. He got into a stretch there in the second quarter where he wasn't finishing the throws and really setting and firing. He was kind of taking a little bit off of it. We talked before we went in at half, and I thought he did a good job coming back in the second half and leading his team to victory."


How big of a step was this for your team?


"We kind of know where we're at right now, and we know every week is going to be like this. It's going to be a tough, worthy, Pac-10 opponent and it's going to be like this every week. So just getting our guys to embrace it and realize that's where they're at. Just to get them to enjoy that and embrace, but next week is going to be the same situation."


Do you think you guys deserve to be ranked?


"Yeah, I think we do. I think when I vote tomorrow I will vote Stanford into the Top 25."


Can you talk about Stepfan Taylor's performance coming in for an injured Jeremy Stewart?


"I thought he did an excellent job. We were really pleased with both of those young backs, Gaffney and Taylor. They picked up critical first downs, and Taylor had a critical touchdown. Those guys are ready. Coach Willie Taggart has done a great job coaching those young backs and we trust them now in protection and in our offense. It's a beginning for them and something that I think we can really build on."


What did you think about the lateral pass with everyone standing around watching the play unfold?


"I was too. When he threw it, we felt like it was forward and I think it caught us all by surprise. It was a gift touchdown basically, and we've got to do a better job taking care of the football. But credit our defense, they played Washington and their offense with a really good quarterback, running back and set of good receivers and we held them to only one touchdown. And a heck of a job by our defensive coaches too."


You could have taken a knee at the end, was that to make a statement?


"No, we weren't really trying to make a statement there. I think when you have it on the one-yard line at the end of the game like that it's almost more of a slap in the face to take a knee on the one. If it had been on the 10 or out further we would have taken a knee, but let the boys compete."


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