Post-TCU Game Interview: Evan Moore
What do you say after a tough home loss in a high-scoring game you could have and probably should have won? The fact that the Cardinal produced a very respectable showing and beat the spread wasn't on the minds of obviously deeplya disappointed Stanford players and coaches. In the locker room, the emotionally-expressive Richard Sherman was visibly upset, do-everything Clint Snyder was staring straight ahead in an exhausted daze, Nick Sanchez was clearly distraught, sitting alone with his head in his hands, obviously replaying the game in his mind. A solid individual game by Evan Moore was not enough to lighten the young man's dark mood, but the fifth-year senior wide receiver was nevertheless kind enough to tough out a brief, but exclusive post-game conversation with TheBootleg.com, one that went well beyond patterns and schemes and touched on the life experience of a Cardinal Football player.
WR Evan Moore (#8):
The Bootleg: "Evan, obviously with any close loss in an high-scoring game, very tough to take, but the offense showed signs of life. Is there more rhythm going on now? What is it that allowed the team to generate this point total (36)?
Moore: "I think our offense has shown a lot of confidence coming off last week's game [USC] even though I don't think we put up great numbers. Going into this week - I just want to say first, I don't think it has anything to do with the quarterback change, just in general, everyone across the board, the personnel, there just a sense of confidence. Coach Harbaugh is doing a good job of instilling that in us. For example, he makes comments in team meetings where he'll say 'We've got some great wideouts - just throw it to them and they'll catch it!' You know, it's comments like that, it just builds confidence for the offense."
The Bootleg: You were looking like your old self out there, having balls thrown your way, getting your trademark touchdown in the corner of the end zone, you are obviously playing with confidence, how do you feel?
Moore: "It's funny you're saying my 'old self', I mean, I'm 22 years old, but you're right, I haven't made a whole lot of plays this year. I'm pushing a little bit. I feel fine. I feel just like I did three years ago, physically. It's just about putting myself in the right position to make plays, they'll come, I've just got to let the game come to me. You're right, today I felt very comfortable, very confident out there."
The Bootleg: I guess I am really talking more about the variety. You ran crossing patterns, you were coming open in the red zone. It just seemed like you were the option on a lot of different kinds of plays. We have gone a lot to you deep down the sideline, but it seemed like you were even more involved in the offense this week...
Moore: "Yeah, I think that just comes from our coaches, they are very good at game-planning, scheming - that's something this staff is just incredible at. This was just one of those days when you find yourself in a position where they decide to go to you on third down, especially in the red zone, so it's just about makin' the plays."
The Bootleg: "It seemed in this game as though the offense just had to keep going out there, to keep producing, obviously with TCU having some success as well. It seemed like there was pressure to put points on the board every single series, right?
Moore: "It kind of makes sense, though. There have been a couple of games this year when we made the defense do that. They keep having to go out there and make stops and they are wearing down as the game goes on. So it kind of came full circle, it was our turn to do some things. We did to a certain extent. Some days, our defense might struggle a little bit. TCU had a good scheme, they had good athletes, so we (the offense) have got to pick up the slack a little bit."
The Bootleg: TCU is considered to be a rather respectable defense and yet you just hung four touchdowns on them...
Moore: "Should have been more, should have been two or three more..."
The Bootleg: So now having had that kind of success after going, before the USC fourth quarter, nine consecutive quarters without an offensive touchdown, clearly there was much better improvement of your rhythm. How much is it a 'confidence' issue, because the personnel hasn't changed much? With T.C. out and Tavita in, you were still struggling mightily on offense in the first three quarters against SC. Does 'confidence' make that much of a difference in executing this offense?
Moore: "The confidence is not only amongst the personnel, but also is passed down from the coaches and the coaches will open things up more. The are not afraid to call certain plays because they know - For example last week proved a lot to them about the playmakers we have on offense. They were able to make plays in key situations. So these coaches today I think were a little less afraid, they said 'Hey, let's go here, let's go there!' A lot more, as you said earlier, variety. And that's big, that's huge, because when they are calling plays that we run in practice and then they call them in crunch time in the game, that means, hey, they thought that I ran that well in practice."
The Bootleg: Without going into direct quotes, what was the attitude afterwards from the coach about having the team bounce back from a disappointment like this?
Moore: "Well, the attitude, and this came from the coaches as well as from the leaders on this team, is that we have got to approach this upcoming week the same way we did this last week. We can't let this loss make things seem like 'Oh, here we go again'-type thing. We had a great attitude going into this week - yeah, it's because we beat SC. We tried to come in and use that and ride that..."
The Bootleg: 'Camera on Stanford! Camera on Stanford!' Don't think we didn't hear that...(referring to the team's midfield celebration after the USC upset at the Coliseum)
Moore: "So as leaders of this team, we can not let ourselves fall back into a funk, just because we lost that game. We have six games left."
The Bootleg: It's kind of hard to argue that you should be in a 'funk', right? - this was not the kind of game you've had to suffer through the past few years. This is a game of which you could be reasonably proud - were you not clearly wanting to make a statement coming off the USC game.
Moore: "No, you're right, you're right."
The Bootleg: If this was just another regular season game, and obviously you always want to win, but this was not a game to be embarrassed about...
Moore: "No, absolutely not. We have a lot of stuff we can build on. We've got talent. Sometimes, like today, the defense struggled a bit. We have to put it together all at once.
The Bootleg: Pretty good student crowd again today, homecoming crowd maybe not as big as expected.. Is it starting to feel like we play in a home environment now?
Moore: "There was one time, I think it was when Tavita got hit, late second quarter right before the half - I turned to Richard...
The Bootleg: Ohhhh, we saw you and Richard out there trying to do a little 'enforcement', huh? You let someone know you didn't appreciate that late hit!
Moore: "I didn't! I told him 'if you do it again, we're going to crucify you!'
The Bootleg: Most were surprised he didn't get tossed...
(Moore nods and smiles, but smartly, his restraint illustrating the wily wisdom of a veteran, decides not to say anything more.)
Moore: "When they got loud at that point, I turned to Richard, it was after we had said something to that guy, I said to him 'How fun is this?' Cause you know, you felt it. You felt the atmosphere, people believing in us. That feeling is something that we have been playing for all four years since we've been here. Awesome... but we want to give them what they want too - and that's a win."
The Bootleg: Now, weren't we awfully close to seeing Richard Sherman restraining you?
Moore: "A little bit, which is weird - that's like the kid restraining the dad. That was kind of what was happening there. Normally I am telling Richard to keep it down, to shut up, get back in the huddle, cause he gets out of control some times. (Laughing) It was almost on the other side that time, it was kind of close, but...."
The Bootleg: Let's say this was a definite "progress game" for the offense, how does that help? You must have been looking down the tunnel at some point here wondering how is this going to finish for me in my college career? Now you have had the "light at the end of the tunnel" game, how does that impact your entire college experience? Football was kind of weighing heavily for a while there. You made the decision to come back, it has obviously been a huge benefit to the team, How about for you? How does this season change your outlook on your overall college experience? When you look back, what will it mean? [Evan is remarkably patient with my ludicrously longwinded question...]
Moore: "Honestly, we are talking four rough years. Like you said, my whole college experience, not limiting it just to sports, but life in general. Now I am starting to get too 'deep' on you, I apologize..."
The Bootleg: No, that's all right! Would you rather sit here and talk about the mistakes we just made in the game?
Moore: (Managing a little laugh) "No, I can talk about this, get all 'intellectual' and all that. It really teaches you that you're not ever going to have great success, not that we've had it yet, but I think we're going to have it, you can't get to great success without overcoming a lot of adversity and it is something I will take through with me the rest of my life. Number one is patience and number two is overcoming adversity. Everything that comes at you, you've just got to just roll with it. You know what I am saying? There's a plan."
The Bootleg: Did you think you were going to get the 'life lessons' experience when you decided to come play football at Stanford?
Moore: "I didn't. A lot of guys go play college football and not a damn thing goes wrong for them. And other guys go play and things happen. I wouldn't trade my experience for anything. Because when this thing is all said and done, I will have learned way more than someone who went to college and won three national championships - don't get me wrong, I would like to have done that, but I'll take what I've been given and I have been given adversity. The rest of my life, you throw anything at me, I don't care - I'll work around it."
The Bootleg: So, you must have a different perspective now, you have six games left, six games left in your college career. How will you look at the second half of this season. We are 2-4 now, you guys have six games - It is still imminently doable and these teams aren't looking that scary the way we've been playing these last couple of weeks. How do you see the team driving it home from here? How are you going to set up that game against the possibly #1-ranked University of California, and would you like them to stay undefeated until we play them? [an intriguing possibility that lasted only a few hours]
Moore: "Absolutely, of course! Why not? Just like we wanted SC to stay undefeated so we could take 'em down. Like I said earlier, this just has to be a focus of the older leaders of this team, to really stress the fact that we still have six games left and we have to have the shortest memory, we have to have the same approach each and every week like we did this week. I loved the way we approached this week, but unfortunately it didn't work out for us, but next week? We're going to be all right. We're gonna be there, I promise that!"
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