Post-Arizona Game Quotes - 10/17/09

It is never easy or fun for media, especially highly-biased media, to visit with a caring coach and his all-giving players in the immediate aftermath of a heart-breaking disappointment, but The Bootleg was on hand to bring our readers the reaction of Coach Harbaugh, Andrew Luck and Toby Gerhart first-hand.

Post-Arizona Game Quotes - 10/17/09


Head Coach Jim Harbaugh:


On Andrew Luck...


He competed like he always does. He did that last week, he did that this week. Just wish we could have had a better outcome for him.


On the miscommunication with WR Chris Owusu on the first-quarter "pick-six"...


Chris was doing what he was supposed to do. Andrew felt it was a blitz and he was trying to throw it, get it out early and Chris was doing his assignment. He threw it as Chris was about to break and he tried to shove it in there, pretty much after Chris had already broken.   


On how he intended to pick the team up, whether it would be in the locker room or after getting back to campus...


I don't have that way to lift their spirits right now, this is a very tough loss. We are going to have to live it together right now. We'll find a way to bounce back. No question, it hurts. 


On how much easier Luck's life is when play-action is working well...


How much "easier" is his life? There is nothing "easy" about what he does. We had some good routes run against a very good secondary.

On Arizona's success with quick-hitting passes, whether it was a case of bad tackling...

There were a lot of easy gains, gains of eight, gains of eight, gains of 12, gains of 10. They were playing off and they would come up to make the tackle and then we would play tighter and get beat over the top. It was just an assortment of ways we got beat tonight, but we got beat as a team, both offensively and defensively.
 
On the rd & 18 draw...

They hit another one right up the middle like that...(mulling it over) We have got to evaluate what we are doing defensively right now.

QB Andrew Luck:


On t


Stuff happens. That's football.


On having a lot of yards and showing a ton of poise, but having the team lose....


It's heart-breaking. It's tough. You know, I have played sports a long time and I have lost a lot of games in a lot of different sports, but this one stinks the most and I am not that naive to believe that is all my fault, for losing, because it's a team game, but I am disappointed in myself. 


On what happened on the third-down throw that went high to Ryan Whalen in the end zone...


I forced the ball before the play, the line did a great job all night before the play I knew I was going to have to force the ball somewhere - there aren't that many options when it is rd & 10, what can you do? Put it a little high, a bad ball by me, and Ryan almost made a great play, but...I wish I had that one back.


On the fourth-down fade to the corner? 


I just threw it up. I have faith in Chris (Owusu) 100% to go up and get that ball and if there is another chance like that I am damn sure I am going back to Chris,but...it's tough

On his message for Chris Owusu after the dropped ball on the previous 4th & 1....


Yeah, I said "there are a lot of games left to play this year, keep your head up." He's a heck of a player, an integral part of our team and we need him playing well..and he knows that.


On what happened on the first quarter interception that was run back for a long TD by Arizona...


I hurried myself. I felt the pressure a bit. I could have held on to the ball a lot longer, but I didn't. It was a very immature throw, an immature mistake and I threw it and Chris wasn't expecting it and it was all my fault.

On whether he had expected to have as much success throwing the ball downfield in this game...


I know we have an incredible running game - every game, I feel our play-action works very well - and it's a testament to Toby (Gerhart) and the O-line and Owen (Marecic) and the receiving corps.

On whether he was excited when the play-call came for WR Griff Whalen to throw to him on an option pass...

Yes, I was excited! Griff is my roommate, so we are very close. It was cool to see him be able to throw the ball.

On how he copes with the ups and downs of a game like this....

I was exhausted afterwards. It is definitely a learning experience. I am sitting here thinking about what could have happened and trying to learn from it. But during the game, you have to keep a steady head. Anything can happen. I am sure you all have seen some crazy things happen, as I have. The ball bounces funny ways sometimes and we try to keep an even keel about it.

On the thinking during the pivotal 4th & 1.....

We have a lot of faith in the offensive line and the running game. I know it was a pass, but sort of a pass-run option

On whether Toby having to come off the field influenced the play-call....

No, it was irrelevant.

On Stanford's strategy with regard to play-action coming into this game...

I don't think it was that big of a "strategy". They were loading the box and stopping the run pretty well. As the game went on, play-action started to open up a little more. 

On whether there was any solace to be taken at having driven the length of the field...

We didn't make it into the end zone, so there is no fruition in it.

RB Toby Gerhart:


On what brought him off the field prior to the 4th & 1, whether it was an ankle


Yeah, an ankle. It got tweaked a couple of times today. I couldn't even put any weight on it that moment, so I just had to get off the field. We have faith in Stepfan (Taylor) to get it done, it is just unfortunate that we didn't make the play (to Owusu) happen.


On how the team will bounce back from such an obvious disappointment, after one of the most frustrating losses in recent years...


We have just got to go back and re-evaluate everything, figure out what's going on, watch film, etc. There comes a point where we've just got to stop making some of these mistakes. We'll see where we are at and then just get after it. This is going to be a tough one to watch tomorrow, or Monday. We're going to have to watch it, and learn from it, and more on.


On whether he would make a special effort to keep Andrew Luck from carrying too much weight of responsibility on his shoulders...


Yeah, definitely, he is young. There is a lot of ball left. He's a great player, I don't know how many yards he threw for, 400? He is a special guy and he takes pride in leading this team and it is always hard to lose, he is going to feel bad - I have been there, I have felt bad. I will put my arm around him and talk with him a little bit, let him know it is all right, that there is nothing he can do about it (except move on). He can't take blame for anything. He played a good game. 


On whether he liked the aggressive approach by the Cardinal to go for it on 4th & 1 instead of kicking a field goal...


If we complete the pass, we get it. It's an easy hitch. Or if he hands it off to Stepfan, I think we get it. I take pride in our short-yardage running and I definitely had full confidence that we could get it. If we get a first down, what are we, on the 8-yard-line? Somewhere around there - we've got four plays to score. That was definitely a turning point right there and we have just got to make a play. Our motto tonight was "Make a play!" When we had a chance, we didn't. We've got to start doing that.

 


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