Q&A: San Francisco Chronicle's Michelle Smith

BigPurpleNation.com continues to preview TCU's next opponent Stanford. Yesterday we went one-on-one with San Francisco Chronicle Stanford Beat Writer Michelle Smith. See what a win against TCU would do for the Cardinal program and what Stanford needs to do for a victory. It's all inside BigPurpleNation.com

BPN: Well what happened last week to Stanford?

MS: Stanford started off really well in the game, they had a really nice first drive and they scored to take a quick lead. Then they started to struggle a little bit. Arizona State has a really good offense and Stanford's young secondary took a bit of a beating. Rudy Carpenter threw for a lot of yards and it got away from them at the end of, but they hung in there for a really long time until the fourth quarter.

BPN: What is the atmosphere like about playing TCU on the road this weekend after a 1-1 start?

MS: I think the players and coaches are really enthusiastic, they were disappointed that they didn't play better against ASU. They thought they were definitely better then they showed….Going into the TCU game I think they are hoping for good things. A couple kids have mentioned that this is a chance to go play football in Texas in front of people who know football and in front of recruits.

BPN: It seems like at one point every fan bases favorite guy on the team is the backup quarterback or the red-shirt with lots of talent. Is there any truth to the rumors that Andrew Luck could get some playing time against TCU?

MS: I think it is more of a rumble then a rumor. He traveled to Arizona State and he is going to travel this week. We asked Harbaugh about it today and he again has not ruled out playing Andrew Luck this year. He has not said when or under what circumstances and I don't imagine he would burn this kids red-shirt for some garbage time at the end of a blowout. I would assume that if he is going to play it would be for some relevance towards the season.

BPN: I know the USC win last year was huge for the program, what would a win this weekend on the road against a very good TCU do for the program?

MS: Well they need six wins to get to a bowl game and that is the only thing they care about at this point. You come off a big road game 2-1 with their next opponent being San Jose State and then Washington. They would really have a chance to make some headway to getting back to a bowl game.

BPN: Where do you see this team fall in the Pac-10>

MS: The Pac-10 is pretty tough this year. The Oregon State win was a bit of a surprise to me. I see them in the 7th or 8th spot in the conference realistically. I also could see them being a lot more competitive with the 4-6 group in the Pac-10 then they have been in the past.

TCU has only allowed 10 points all season. Now granted they have probably not played an offense like Stanford's yet. Do you have any predictions for the game?

MS: I think Toby Gerhart needs to run the ball really well if Stanford is going to get an upset here. He had 147 yards in the opener. He didn't play as well against ASU because they weren't passing well so the defense was stacking the line. Gerhart is the key to winning for Stanford. The passing game is going to bust out and do what they do, but on the ground they need Gerhart to play well to have a shot.

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