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STANFORD UNIVERSITY MEDIA CONFERENCE


November 15, 2014


David Shaw


UTAH ¬Ė 20
STANFORD - 17

COACH SHAW:¬† Very disappointed in our overall performance today.¬† You can see defense played really hard and kept us in the game.¬† But, gosh, we still gave them way too much and too many opportunities.¬† Special teams‑wise, we battled there, but they won the battles of field position as well.
We couldn't get a return.  We couldn't get our guys back to where we needed to be.  And thankfully we got a penalty on their long return, which would have been almost catastrophic for us.
Offensively, just as sloppy a game as we've had this year.  And we've missed some throws.  We dropped passes.  We missed protections.  Christian McCaffrey and Kelsey Young ran extremely hard.  Both played so well.  Hats off to those guys.
Ty Montgomery did all he could.  He got banged up, made some unbelievable plays.  But we got down late in the game for a game winning drive.  And then penalties start killing us.  We've gotta go back this week and we're going to practice this week like it's the beginning of the season.
There's no tailing off.  There's no backing off.  We just came off a bye.  Yes, it was a tough, physical game.  But I gotta find a way to make us play better.  That's the bottom line.
And today was not good enough.  And we can do so much better.  But as we said repeatedly this year, it's not about what you can do, it's about what you do.  And today was not good enough.

Q.  104 yards passing for Kevin Hogan.  17 for 27.  Was their coverage that good or what was happening?  Was it the pass rush?
COACH SHAW:  I think there was three things.  First, the pass rush was tough.  They got after us a couple of times.  Got sacked.  Got in his face a couple times.
And he missed a few throws.  And we had Ty Montgomery twice behind their defense and he underthrew the ball.  That's been his strength his entire career, two strengths, running with the ball and the deep ball.  And we missed two of them.  And then the third one is that doggone dropped passes.  Dropped passes.  That kills you.  Third and long, drop pass.
At the end of the game, with a chance to go ahead, we dropped the ball.

Q.  What was the coverage on their winning touchdown pass?
COACH SHAW:  It was a man coverage.  Man coverage.

Q.  Obviously it wasn't played well enough to stop the play, but was the strategy okay on that call?
COACH SHAW:  The strategy is never okay if it doesn't work.  We don't know that.  It's the end of it.  It's the end of the game.  If it doesn't work, it's a bad play.  If it works, then it's a good play.

Q.  It looked like you really opened up the offense this week some really, I thought, interesting, creative plays that worked extremely well.  Are you changing your philosophy a little bit about how you want to run the offense?
COACH SHAW:  I think it's been like that the last three weeks, the last three weeks, actually including this game, the last four games we've been able to mix it up.  Getting Christian McCaffrey involved and Ty Montgomery involved.  Moving the quarterback.  A variety of plays, gun run plays, screen passes as well as our big personnel running game.  We've been able to incorporate all that.  We moved the ball better.  But then today, penalties, sacks, missed throws and dropped passes.  Can't survive against a top 25 team like that.

Q.  It was a really great play on fourth and inches.  Was that Kevin's call, or was that your call to do the option on that play?
COACH SHAW:  That was a play call.  That was a play call.  We worked on it.  We knew that they were going to get tight in there.  Kevin has the option to change the play if it wasn't the perfect look, but it was the perfect look.

Q.  Late in the game you had a third and 11 and I think it was a pitch to Montgomery, got a few yards and you punted.  A, why not a pass on third and 11?  And B, Jordan, about the same distance Jordan made in the OT on the field goal that you punted.
COACH SHAW:  Are you talking about at the end of regulation.

Q.  Third and 11, pitch to Montgomery.
COACH SHAW:¬† It's about the easiest decision today.¬† It's not even close.¬† Not even close.¬† With about two minutes left, attempt a 51‑yard field goal.¬† If you miss it, they have 20 yards before they try their own attempt.¬† It's an easy decision.¬† If we had gotten more yards, then absolutely we take that shot.
But honestly, it ended up working out the way we wanted to.  We pinned them deep.  Took our two timeouts.  Got the ball with some time left with an opportunity to try to make something happen.
And it was an easy decision and it was orchestrated fairly well.  Because the flip side is awful.  The flip side is we could possibly make the field goal for 51 yards, but if you miss it the downside is too great.

Q.  It was a very damaging personal foul called on Wright after he got a first down.  How disappointing was that particular play?
COACH SHAW:  You know, I'm surprised at the penalty.  I understand the penalty.  But I'm kind of surprised by it.  If there's a pile and guys are pushing and shoving, to single out one guy, I think that's harsh.
I've seen it happen multiple times.  That's a double penalty.  The play's been over and they're on the guy pushing and shoving the guy trying to rip the ball out of his hands.  There's a lot going on.  They're not getting it, unpiling.  Once again, I understand the call.  I was just surprised by it.

Q.  I don't know who that was, but is that what you want to hear?  Do you feel like the team needs a spark emotionally at this point?
COACH SHAW:¬† You know what, if I knew exactly what the team needed, I'd give it to them right now.¬† We need‑‑ it's not like we don't play with emotion.¬† It's not like we don't play with energy.¬† It's not like we don't work.
Our guys work hard.  Work as hard as anybody.  It's about being smart and making plays.  Can't lose leverage in coverage.  You can't drop passes and can't miss throws.  And on a third down, when we have guys open, we can't get beat in pass protection.
And then not to mention we're just about in scoring range and we get a ball ripped out of our hands.  We turn the ball over.  It's all of the things you can't do to beat a good team, particularly on the offensive side we did, and we didn't get enough plays in special teams or on defense to counteract what we did on offense.

Q.¬† End of the first half you guys had a stop on Utah and the clock was running, I think it was like under two minutes to go.¬† And there was no timeout.¬† Had you decided at that point to just try to get into the locker room at 7‑7, or was there any thought once you guys got the ball and Kevin ran for a first down to maybe try to push it up the field?
COACH SHAW:  We did.  But we just didn't get enough yards so we let it run out.

Q.  Nobody at the beginning of the season anticipated this, that you would be going into the big game not even Bowl eligible.  How would you describe the mentality of your team, the team's psychological attitude at this point?
COACH SHAW:¬† That's probably the most maddening thing.¬† As I've said before, you guys don't get to watch practice.¬† Practices are great.¬† The attention to detail in the media room, the guys‑‑ we've got great leadership on this team.¬† The guys that bust their tails and give everything they have and work extremely hard.¬† The attitude and the approach, I couldn't ask for anything better.
The character of our team, the caliber of the young men on this team, I'd put them against anybody.  But once again, like I said to the team, like I said to you guys earlier, that's a given with this team.  That's great.  That's been phenomenal.
Ours has just been execution.  Ours has been game day.  And not lack of effort on game day.  And never has been lack of effort.  It's a lack of execution.
We have opportunities to make plays, to take the lead, to stop them, to get a turnover.  Once again, it's funny that the ball hasn't bounced our way.  Gosh, we get two balls on the ground and the ball bounces right back to Utah.
Now, sometimes it's lucky, sometimes you've got to make your own luck.  We need to be able to create turnovers, and we haven't gotten enough this year.  With a defense that's played extremely well, it's the one thing we haven't gotten very much of.

Q.  What I meant is their attitude right now in the wake of this very bitter defeat, are they demoralized?
COACH SHAW:  Gosh, never.  Never.  Never.  As smart as these guys are, I don't think they know what that word means because we're workers and fighters.  We'll come back this week and have a heck of a week of practice and give it all we have for the big game.

Q.  I was watching Henry Anderson.  He played one whale of a game.  Talk about him playing his last home game the way he played today?
COACH SHAW:  So many guys playing their last home game today played so hard and played so well.  Henry being at the top of that.  Just a relentless high effort, energy.  Beat double teams.  Second effort and third effort to get tackles for loss.
Jordan Williamson, career‑long, 51‑yarder, last game at home.¬† James Vaughters making extra effort plays to run the quarterback down from the backside and stop the positive play from happening.
Lee Ward, I believe it was his first touchdown as a Stanford Cardinal, played one heck of a game.  I'll have to see that holding call that was called on him.
I'm sad for those guys but also proud of them.  This senior class has accomplished so much.  And there will be so many people out there that want to make this a downer at the end of their career.
But the career's been phenomenal.  The career has been as good or better than anybody that's ever played Stanford football.
These guys these last four, five years have been as good if not better than anybody that's played Stanford football.  And honestly the last four, five years has been better than just about anybody in our conference, outside of Oregon.
We battled for the most wins in our conference over the last four or five years.  And these guys deserve a pat on the back.  And I know they're not going to get that this week because of all the slings and arrows.
That's fine.  Have the slings and arrows come towards me, not toward these young men.  These young men fight and they're high character young men, as I've said.  We're going to come back and fight again next week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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