Thoughts of El Paso
"Obviously we're excited to be here and certainly the opportunity to be in El Paso in a bowl game against a storied program like Oklahoma is something that at the beginning we would have been ecstatic about and at the end of the season we're even more ecstatic about it."
What's the situation with your secondary, is everybody healthy?
"Yeah, we're about as healthy as we're going to be and as health as we've been. Quinn Evans is back and Kris Evans is back so they're in a backup role at this point of the week. They've been practicing and practicing, so we're excited about that."
Who will start at corner?
What do you make of Oklahoma's Landry Jones playing well at home and not so well away from home?
"I think that's a part of the maturation process, but I don't think you need to talk to Stanford coaches about a redshirt freshman quarterback being able to do real well because we watched Andrew Luck progress during the course of the season. We know that he is an outstanding player. At the same time we know Landry (Jones) from the standpoint that he'd been recruited by Stanford as well. So obviously, with interest, followed his career and watched him through every game he's played each game this season. His confidence has grown as the season progressed."
There have been many offense line changes for Oklahoma; do you come up with different ideas to test that line?
"One of the scenarios that'll be interesting to watch develop is the fact that the strength of our defense is our front guys. So we'll see how they do. The one thing I do know is when you have good players playing, regardless of what position they play, they're going to figure it out and be pretty darn effective as the game goes on."
How would you compare Oklahoma's wide receivers to teams you've played?
"Very, very favorably. I don't know if we've played anybody as good as 85 (Ryan Broyles). He's really a threat and they use him in a lot of different ways; put him in different positions in the empty formations. I think he's a guy that can score points at any given time."
Oklahoma's wide receivers have seemed to improve as the season went on, have you seen this on tape?
"No question about it and I think that the confidence, as the season has gone on, the confidence in themselves has grown but also the confidence in the play callers has grown. I think they do catch the ball and can run after the catch."
"They're bigger than the Oregon guy, but I do see them having some of that same kind of ability. I think both of those guys can score at any point in time. If you give them the ball they've got a chance to hit a homerun. I think the fact that you can take them out of the backfield and use them as receivers is an also a huge plus. These are guys that will be a real challenge for us to control."
Stanford offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach David Shaw
Have you gotten an indication yet of whether Andrew Luck is going to play this game?
"Very doubtful, very doubtful. He gets the pins taken out and we'll see what happens. Never say never in this business but very doubtful."
Has Luck thrown at all?
"To my knowledge no."
Stanford back in the day was known as a team that threw the ball around in space, how has it been that you've developed this physical style of play.
"It starts with a change of mentality. We looked at the guys we have and I think any good coach on any team looks at your strengths. I think we're very physical up front. I think we've got a phenomenal fullback; we've got a phenomenal blocking tight end and a phenomenal runner. It's only natural; we'd be working against what makes sense for us to do anything else. I think we've adapted that attitude and we've developed it as the years gone on and the guys have taken a hold."
Have you gotten to a point even where even if a team stops you early, you know you can still go back and run the ball?
"Very confident in our scheme; we're very patient. We talk about pounding the rock, we talk about chipping away. We know also when you've got a great player; you give him enough opportunities something good is going to happen."
How does Toby Gerhart play baseball, football, be the runner up for the Heisman trophy and still take 21 hours for an engineering degree?
"It's hard to describe special people because they're special. They do things that other people can't do. A lot of us have been around this business for a long time; it's hard to run across another kid whose got the character, work ethic, the ability and the mentality that he has to do all the things that he does and still be a team-first kid. As a coach, one of the things you always look for is who you're leaders are going to be and how they lead and make sure they lead the same way you want them to lead. Toby (Gerhart) is an example of everything that we think is great about college football."
How has the gameplan changed with Tavita instead of Luck.
"The changes are minimal. Tavita has been in the system for three years now. Smart, very bright and he's won a lot of big games for us. We know him as well as he knows us. We've kind of grown with him over the last three years in this offense. For the most part there will be no wholesale changes."
Would you anticipate Oklahoma loading up the box since Tavita does not have the arm of Luck?
"I'd anticipate they load up the box no matter who is playing quarterback. That's what we've seen all year. We go into games expecting it, sometimes inviting it and we know that it's going to be our strength versus Oklahoma's strength. There's not going to be no secrets. There's no dodging what's going to happen in a few days … their strength against our strength."
When you first saw the tape of Oklahoma's defense, what was your reaction?
"What I saw on defense didn't surprise me one bit. There as well coached a defense as you'll see in college football. They're not out of position, they're athletic, they're tough, they tackle, they don't miss tackles and they're not a lot of blown coverages. It's going to be a great challenge and we're looking forward to it."
How does this line compare to other lines you've faced?
"That's a good question. I think it's as complete a group as we've faced all year. I'd disrespect them by calling them bull players because they're an athletic front. They can get after you in the run and the pass. They're as stout a front seven as we've seen all year."
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