September 22, 2008

Harbaugh Talks Showdown with Washington

Jim Harbaugh's opening statement

"Right now we are two-and-two and getting ready to play Washington. We are excited to get back into Pac-10 play and we know we will be facing a heck of a Washington team that played the hardest schedule in the country and there is no question about it. We are looking forward to a good week of practice and we are looking forward to playing that night game up there on Saturday."

Stanford has learned from their coach and has taken on his tough as nails attitude. Harbaugh talks about the transition his team is making.

"It is a transition to be a competitive team. That was the first step we wanted to make was to be competitive in games. The second step was to win games and we have been able to do that. The next step would be to win consistently. Our attitude has been very good led by our players. We have a group of seniors who want to win and they have put in a lot of work to put themselves into a position to do that. We will continue fight and that is the only way we can be competitive. We just need to compete and that is what our guys do."

Harbaugh talks about the the quarterback situation - a position thought to still be up for grabs.

"Tavita Pritchard is our starting quarterback. He played very well our last ballgame. He was productive, consistent and led our team to a victory. He has been through a lot of competition going through training camp and even the season but I am very committed to Tavita. He's a senior and started the majority of the games since I have been here as a coach. I told him after the last ballgame that he handed the pressure and the nature of the position very well. He just goes out and competes and plays as well as he can and he will be the guy. I haven't seen anything change with his demeanour and the way he approaches the game and I am pleased with that."

What is the area Harbaugh feels best about his team's progress?

"I would start with special teams. They have done a good job and have created some big plays and momentum for us. We still need to improve our kick-off coverage - but our guys are playing extremely hard and doing a heck of a job. Defensively I think we really gained some confidence in what we are trying to get done schematically this last week especially the second half of the San Jose State game. Offensively I was happy with the way our team played the second half of the San Jose State game and especially the way we ran the ball effectivel in the first few games. Toby Gerhart has been a big part of that.

More on running back Toby Gerhart who has 72 rushes for 407 yards and five touchdowns through the first four games.

"He is a very tough and physical runner who has made a big play in each of our games. He is just a quality back and his approach to the game has been phenomenal. He does extra film work and he does what he can to make sure he is prepared to play in these games and he's been a big lift for us."

Last season Washington rushed for 380 yards against the Cardinal. What does Harbaugh attribute that to?

"They played really good against us up front last year. The back had a great game and Jake Locker was his usual consistent and productive self. It was impressive what they were able to do - keeping us off balance with the throws and they kept us off balance."

The Pac-10 looks to be down this season and all but the top spot appears up for grabs. What are Harbaugh's thoughts on this?

"We just really take it one game at a time and that is enough on our plate. We struggled as a conference in out of conference play and at Stanford we have been a part of that. We are just trying to approach each game as they come and this is a big one for us. That is the only way we can approach it.

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