More Notes and Quotes: UCLA @ Stanford

The Bootleg's Scott Cooley was present for Tuesday's weekly press lunch and provides us with more comments from coaches and players as the respect-seeking Cardinal team gets ready to provide a major blemish to UCLA's currently pristine 2009 record and get a little pigskin payback for last season's painful 23-20 loss

Notes and Quotes: UCLA @ Stanford

 


Heisman Leaderboad

 

The Heisman watch got another Bay Area wrinkle on Saturday. Cardinal running back Toby Gerhart already had to be a long-shot candidate coming into the season, but he is now officially on the wagering board.

 

TheGreek.com has him labeled as a 10,000-to-1 shot at winning the Heisman. Now I am not a betting man, but I would throw 10 bucks down to root for Toby and have a chance to win $1,000.*

 

Florida QB Tim Tebow is listed as the current favorite at +185. Texas gunslinger Colt McCoy is the second horse in the race at +300 and then the "other" Bay Area back Jahvid Best comes in third at +650 for your money.

 

The Bootleg Returns!

 

Speaking of Heisman hopefuls, Stanford QB Andrew Luck technically outperformed Cal's Jahvid Best last Saturday. Best only ran for 55 yards with no TDs in a humiliating 42-3 loss to Oregon, while Luck registered 58 yards and touchdown against Washington.

 

Luck showed some mobility while scrambling for a first down as well as a nine-yard touchdown "bootleg" run in the fourth quarter. Harbaugh was asked how mobile of a quarterback Luck could be, and how mobile the coach wants him to be.

 

"He's very athletic and he's deceptively fast for a guy that's 235-240 pounds. I don't want to handcuff him, I want him to play the game and he's smart enough to know when to get down. You don't want to take things away from him and he's always had really good instincts – when to pull it down, when to run, when to get down, when to hang in there and make the tough throw."

 

Top 25

 

One week after witnessing the No. 4, 5, 6 and 9 ranked teams in the country go down in convincing fashion, it only proves that this early in the season (and maybe the entire season), the pollsters know absolutely nothing. Ole Miss had no reason to be positioned in the Top 5 and every analyst and their mother was calling for the Penn State upset. And come on Cal…if you want to be an elite team, you have to have more than just the "Best" running back in the country.

 

Every week this season a Top-5 team has fallen and that trend could continue the rest of the year…so much parity befalls the NCAA ranks.

 

Coach Harbaugh told the media after the game on Saturday that he would be voting for Stanford to be in the Top 25 rankings. Well, he and 19 other coaches put in votes for Stanford, but it wasn't enough to find a spot on the board. Only two Associated Press writers cast a vote for Stanford, but what the heck do they know…they're just writers! J

 

Ay Ziggy Zoomba

 

The media waits in the press conference room postgame and after a win celebratory chants can be heard through the walls. At the luncheon on Tuesday afternoon Coach Harbaugh was questioned about one of those chants.

 

"My dad went to Bowling Green University and from the time I was really little he would sing this song, Ay Ziggy Zoomba. It's one of those things I haven't been able to get out of my head for 40 years and one day during training camp I taught the team the song. So I said, 'Let's sing this after wins'."

 

The Cardinal bellowed it after the victory at Washington State. Coach Harbaugh's father, Jim, was present at the next two home wins and led the team in the song both times. "It charged him up," the younger Harbaugh said.

 

And then surprisingly, at the request of the media, the stern coach busted into the melodious tune. (And with a decent voice I might add.)

 

"Ay ziggy zoomba, zoomba, zoomba
Ay ziggy zoomba, zoomba, ze
Ay ziggy zoomba, zoomba, zoomba
Ay ziggy zoomba, zoomba, ze
Roll along, you Stanford Warriors
Roll along, and fight for L-S-J-U!"

 

Three-Sport Athlete?

 

Toby Gerhart does it all. He's one of the best running backs in college football and is a pretty salty outfielder on the baseball diamond. But now, he's trying his hand at synchronized swimming?

 

"I was probably there for about 15 minutes," Gerhart said. "They were just trying to teach me a few things, and I almost drowned in the pool trying to stay afloat. I was dying, every time we took a break, I swam to the wall to hold on."

 

Apparently this team of women lifted the 6-1, 235-pound running back out of the water.

 

"That was crazy. The way they did it is that they would all go down together and then one girl would lay perfectly flat and they would use her as a board. So I stood on her thighs and stomach in a crouch, and then when they lifted her up I stood up once we broke the surface."

 

Okay so he really isn't going to be a synchronized swimmer. It was a pretty funny media relations department promo and apparently the link to the video has been posted here on the BootBoard Plus.

 

Gerhart a Bruin?

 

It appears Stanford was one school away from playing against Toby Gerhart this weekend.

 

"When I was getting recruited my final two were Stanford and UCLA. It's funny because the running back coach that was recruiting me here was Wayne Moses and now he's the running back coach at UCLA."

 

Fair to say the Cardinal dodged a HUGE bullet in that recruiting battle.

 

Tunnel Workers Union

 

The Cardinal offensive line has been spectacular this season. It has only allowed two sacks in four games, opened up gaping holes for the tailbacks and has been dubbed the "Tunnel Workers Union".

 

Chris Marinelli's father used to dig tunnels for a living and this is where the group name originated. The shortened version is known as "The Union" and is characterized by regular, hard-working guys that open holes.

 

While speaking about the play of the offensive line, Toby Gerhart was also asked who the craziest offensive lineman was. After long thought he responded:

 

"Marinelli is extremely intense; he is one of the vocal leaders. David DeCastro is quiet, he's a young guy. [Chase] Beeler doesn't say anything, he's just an intellect. [Andrew] Phillips is a little crazy and "Moose" is like a mystery. Jonathan (Moose) Martin doesn't say much, but then there are times before the game when he and Allen Smith are just banging their heads together 10-15 times in a row and I don't know why. That flashes a little sense of craziness in my eyes. They are all a little bit edgy."

 

Suspect Secondary?

 

The Bruins pass efficiency defense ranks No. 4 in the country after giving up an average of 82.2 yards through the air in three games. The unit has a couple of future NFLers back there in free safety Rahim Moore and cornerback Alterraun Verner. Moore has already compiled five interceptions on the young season and the voracious Verner led the nation in passes defended last year.

 

On the other side of the field, Aaron Hester was supposed to be another lock-down corner. He suffered a fractured fibula earlier this year and will miss at least a three more weeks. Courtney Viney replaced him, but was suspended from the game last week for violating team rules and his status for Saturday remains unknown.

 

Third-stringer and true freshman Sheldon Price started against Kansas State and the Cardinal could see the inexperienced corner again. Sophomore strong safety Tony Dye has only made four starts in his collegiate career. This could be an area either Ryan Whalen or Chris Owusu can exploit.

 

Making all the Preparations

 

True freshman quarterback Richard Brehaut is supposed to be "the next Troy Aikman" at UCLA, and Bruin Head Coach "Slick Rick" Neuheisel hinted that he might see some action in the contest versus Stanford. Harbaugh believes that Brehaut could be in the gameplan.

 

"Possibly we will see him because they haven't started Kevin [Craft] in the earlier games. You've got to prepare and anticipate seeing him."

 

Again Harbaugh emphasized that he believes Craft is the team's best option at quarterback, and doesn't see why there would be any question over who the starter might be.

 

Chris O-WOW-Su

 

Stanford returner/wide receiver Chris Owusu is flabbergasting opposing kickoff coverages in 2009. The sensational sophomore is leading the nation in kickoff return average with a 59.2 ypr mark. Owusu's three kickoff returns for touchdowns tied a Pac-10 record held by USC's Anthony Davis (1974) and UCLA's Matt Slater (2007). Tulsa's Ashlan Davis holds the NCAA record with five kickoff returns for scores in a single season.

 

"To have a guy like that back there is exciting and fun," said special teams coach D.J. Durkin. "Not only athletically, and we've all seen his speed, but the best thing about Chris is that he is very humble in what he is able to do. He's a competitor that hits it. He's not a fast guy that is afraid to hit it, he's a competitor."

 

And He's Okay!

 

Backup tailback Jeremy Stewart injured his right knee during the first quarter of the Washington game. After the contest, Coach Harbaugh said the medical staff didn't think it would be season-ending injury. The outlook is very bright three days removed and Stewart could possibly suit up for the UCLA affair.

 

"All the tests have come back negative," Harbaugh said. "So there is no knee injury, ankle injury or soreness. He should be good to go, but we'll see how his tolerance is."


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