Post-Game Interviews: Washington

TC & Tavita face tough times AP Photo: Paul Sakuma

As painful as the assignment may have been, The Bootleg's Daniel Novinson toughed it out in an uncomfortable post-game locker room environment filled with considerable disappointment and frustration among the Stanford players and staff. Read on for some post-Washington thoughts from Coach Harbaugh and several of Saturday's principal players, including the Cardinal's surprising running backs.

Bootleg Post-Game Interviews: Washington

Quarterback T.C. Ostrander (#13) 

Opening statement....

Ostrander: "This offense is built on putting ourselves in good field position. We just got ourselves into too many second and longs, third and longs. That just happened too much."

On concentration... 

Ostrander: "There were a couple of dropped balls. I thought Corey [Gatewood] did awesome, I thought losing that ball was a tough call, but we punch that in, a couple of things go our way and it's a different ballgame. But you can't have so many mistakes and expect to win." 

On coming off the bench...

Ostrander: "I felt like I got in the flow of the game pretty quickly. They made a couple of good calls defensively and we just never got a rhythm going on offense. I'm not playing that much, so I take it on myself to work harder, work more after practice to stay sharp." 

Head Coach Jim Harbaugh 

Opening Statement... 

Harbaugh: "They just did a phenomenal job. The quarterback, the running back, we felt like they were the greatest tandem in the Pac-10, as good as Oregon's. They just did a great job of running the football, picking up third downs, and making the big play." 

The Bootleg: Could you have put Tavita back in or did you choose to stay with TC? 

Harbaugh: "Chose to stay with TC. We could have put Tavita back in, but just felt watching him throw on the sidelines. He didn't have it, didn't have the same pop on his ball." 

The Bootleg: How do you feel TC played? 

Harbaugh: "I think outside of Tyrone McGraw, I don't feel anybody... I thought Tyrone played pretty well. I think we really have to look at options on offense and see who gives us the best chance to win before we analyze that." 

The Bootleg: Why did you put in Corey Gatewood

Harbaugh: "We got a big play from Corey. We moved him there a couple of weeks ago. I felt comfortable with him, felt he had a handle on the offense and he went in there and made plays. What we've got is another guy back there who can line up and play running back. I think we have to analyze this by position and make sure we're doing a good job of coaching fundamentals and that we're playing who give us the best chance to win. There are a lot of levels to getting this offense back on track." 

The Bootleg: When you talk about analyzing by position, are you talking about changes or are you talking about talking the guys who are playing now?

Harbaugh: "I just think we need to do a good job, a better job of coaching these guys in terms of fundamentals, in terms of playing penalty-free football, and putting them in a position of success, and at the same time getting the guys in there that can do that." 

The Bootleg: What went wrong with the defense? 

Harbaugh: "Way too many rushing yards. Too many big plays. I mean it was pretty thorough, a pretty thorough whooping." 

The Bootleg: How deflating was it when you didn't punch it in when the defense gave you the ball at the two? 

Harbaugh: "It's something we talked about at halftime, there's a lot of football left. We were only down seven points." 

The Bootleg: TV cameras caught Richard Sherman yelling... 

Harbaugh: "I didn't see the TV cameras. Yelling at whom? 

The Bootleg: I don't know. Looked like a coach (Willie Taggart) was trying to hold him back. 

Harbaugh: Well, we lost our cool a couple of times. Three personal fouls, can't do it."

Guard Alex Fletcher (#60) 

(Handed stats sheet.

Fletcher: 8.1 yards and 12.6 yards per carry. [McGraw's and Gatewood's averages, respectively]. Ugh. 

The Bootleg: What's up? I felt you ran the ball really well in the first half. 

Fletcher: "We ran the ball really well, especially on that first drive. Got the running game going for sure. But couldn't capitalize a couple of times. On the one-yard line. The field goal. The PAT. It was good field position a bunch of times, and we just had three-and-outs or mistakes." 

The Bootleg: Do you feel like there was a difference in the second half, or just having to come from behind and pass more? 

Fletcher: "We definitely needed to pass more. I couldn't tell you about coverages or anything like that without looking at the film, but we didn't give up a sack in the first half and started pretty well in the second half." 

The Bootleg: Did things feel different with TC? 

Fletcher: "No, not really. We couldn't hold up a couple of times. Obviously, coming from behind." 

The Bootleg: It's got to be frustrating, putting up just 250 yards, three or four games in a row. What do you think is needed to get over the hurdle? 

Fletcher: "Just stick to something we're good at. We could have run the ball all day on these guys. But we just can't coming from behind. But we had opportunities. We were on the one-yard line. We've got to score, we've got to score, that's on us." 

The Bootleg: Do you feel like the defense wore down a little bit? 

Fletcher: "Yeah. We've got to keep them off the field."

Running Back Tyrone McGraw (#31): 

McGraw: "We're at a point where we've got to take the next three. We've got to run with it; we've got go with it and get ready to play and compete." 

The Bootleg: I thought you looked good today. What really stood out to you today? 

McGraw: "What really stood out to me is that a lot of people tended to say we wouldn't be able to run with our fifth-string running back in there, and I think that gave us, myself in particular... The O-line helped us out a lot, and we came out and showed we could run the ball. The O-line came out and gave me great holes to run through, it was a great experience, just unfortunate we couldn't get the win." 

The Bootleg: You feel the blocking was pretty good? You had good lanes to run through? 

McGraw: "Oh yeah. The line worked pretty hard during this week in practice and I think it definitely paid off. But it's a team effort and we all have got to play our roles." 

The Bootleg: Talk about Corey. Who thought someone would just come out with a run like that? 

McGraw: (Laughs.) "We've got athletes. We've got athletes on our team, and one thing our coaches always emphasize when running backs started going down is that when one guy goes down, another guy has to step up. And that's just been the situation. Corey's done the same thing. He's made an impressive transition from cornerback to running back, he's impressed us all and he's definitely helping out this team." 

The Bootleg: What's it -- you were here last year, you're here this year -- what's the difference running the ball? Is it schematic? What's the big difference? 

McGraw: "You know, I really don't like to compare, but I think Coach Harbaugh, Coach Shaw have really done a great job scheming up great run plays, and Coach Dalman, he's done a great job. We call it window washing, all the different formations and motions we have and all that stuff we can do, and I think that's really helped the run game." 

The Bootleg: We asked Harbaugh about another player and he said, you know, the only guy I can say something good about is Ty McGraw. So then looking forward to next week, do you know how playing time's looking, how Anthony and Toby are looking? 

McGraw: "You know, I don't have a clue. I leave that stuff to the coaches..." 

The Bootleg: Darn it, you're too smart for me. 

McGraw: (Laughs) "Honestly, I never really let that whole idea sink on me, I just came out and did my stuff at practice and let the chips fall where they would. I try to be that way, not look, just play." 

The Bootleg: When do they announce to you - did you have an idea coming into today, oh I'd be getting 15 [sic - 11] carries? 

McGraw: "We definitely have a gameplan each week, and we know to a certain extent how much playing time we're going to get by Thursday, Friday practice. So I knew coming in here that that's what it's looking like, but I just tried to keep a level head and come in here and compete."

Quarterback Tavita Pritchard (#14): 

Pritchard: "We've taken positive steps. We just need to keep working on it. Going back to basics. Throwing the ball, catching the ball, pass blocking. Just the basics." 

The Bootleg: Are you going to get tests tomorrow? 

Pritchard: "I'll probably come in and see the doctor and get some X-rays or something." 

The Bootleg: Hey, how are you feeling? 

Pritchard: "I'm feeling okay, got a little banged up. Sore in the shoulder thing. Got it numbed up. Just didn't go back in." 

The Bootleg: Just walk me through it. What was the play? 

Pritchard: "It was a rollout to the right. They had it pretty well covered so I took off. It was third and about 11. The reason I stayed up is because I wanted to get the first down. I went around somebody and then a guy came up and just hit me. And then I heard a pop." 

The Bootleg: What happened? They took you to the locker room? 

Pritchard: "Yeah, they took me in, tried to numb it up a little bit, give me a shot. Then I got X-rays, and then I came back out and threw a little bit. I was able to throw. It should be okay, I'll be fine." 

The Bootleg: Were you asking Coach to go back in? 

Pritchard: "He asked me if I was ready and I said yes. It's his decision. I'll always elect to go back in. Definitely. I'm a competitor and I want to be out there, but his decision." 

The Bootleg: He said you didn't quite have that same zip on your ball. Is that fair? 

Pritchard: "That's fair. The thing that Coach Harbaugh brings, you know, he's really experienced. I think he sees a little bit of him in me. I always want to go back in. He caught some balls for me to see if I was really and, I don't know, but... (trails off)." 

The Bootleg: You could tell maybe? 

Pritchard: "Yeah, a little bit." 

The Bootleg: And one more, and this is a tough one, I'm sorry. Past couple of weeks, numbers haven't been... 200, 300 total yards, not going to cut it. 

Pritchard: "No, definitely not. We've been putting a lot of pressure on our defense and we just can't do that. We've really got to get back to playing offensive football and putting points up any way we can. And we just need to get back to the basics, not getting ahead of ourselves. Throwing and catching the ball. Blocking. We're just not doing the little things right now and it's hurting us. We're not getting into a rhythm."

Running Back Corey Gatewood (#26): 

Gatewood: "I think I wasn't down at the goal line. I mean the only reason I stretched it across was to get into that end zone, but they called it a fumble, so it's a fumble." 

The Bootleg:  Is that a disappointing play for you offensively? 

Gatewood: "Defense came back and made the stop, and we came back out and put points on the board. So it was definitely a big momentum shift, but we were able to get it back, but just have to play a little better and then maybe it's a different outcome." 

The Bootleg:  Take me through that run in the first quarter.  

Gatewood: "All week in practice, the coaches have been telling me the offensive line is going to do their job, just get the ball and do my job and let my ability take over. I mean, I saw the hole and I hit it, it was jus tall ability after that." 

The Bootleg: What was the play, do you remember? 

Gatewood:  "It was '97 weak', it's a zone play. I just followed my blocks and tried to go." 

The Bootleg:  I wanted to ask about the holes for you as a runner. 

Gatewood: "They did a good job. Tyrone and I were able to read the holes, the holes were there, and have a strong day. Compared to last week, where we didn't have much at all, it was definitely an improvement, and we can only get better next week." 

The Bootleg:  What was the timetable for bringing you over to running back? 

Gatewood: "I just came over last Tuesday and I've been studying the playbook, just trying to get everything down. I feel pretty comfortable now." 

The Bootleg:  Whose idea was that move? 

Gatewood: "I think it was Harbaugh's. Harbaugh's and the whole coaching staff." 

The Bootleg: Were you resistant? 

Gatewood: "Oh no, I mean any way I can help the team, move me over and I'm ready to go." 

The Bootleg: Did you think you were going to get touches last weekend? 

Gatewood:  "I don't know. The coaches probably weren't really comfortable with me yet, they just wanted me to have another week in the system, getting comfortable carrying the ball." 

The Bootleg: Speed's the biggest difference from high school I guess? 

Gatewood:  "Yeah, everyone's faster and so you've got to make your reads, you've got to make your cuts a lot quicker than at the high school level. That's definitely the biggest difference."


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