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October 6, 2018

K.J. Costello

Stanford, California

Utah - 40, Stanford - 21

Q. How crucial were those two interceptions, especially in the first half? Seemed to switch the momentum?
K.J. COSTELLO: Yeah, very crucial. I mean we pride ourselves in protecting the football as a whole as an offense and most importantly in the red zone. We want points, period, field goals, just as good as a touchdown.

Coach talks a lot about touchdown and check down. You know, so it was unfortunate. Obviously we didn't start the way we wanted to. It's been a little bit of a recurring theme. We've seen the fight. Us going back to work, it's going to be a way about finding that rhythm to play a full game.

Coach Shaw said it tonight in the locker room and he hit the nail right on the head. We've played games, we've played really good quarters, maybe, one, two, maybe SC, three quarters. We're going to fight like hell to play a complete game and I'm not going to stop pushing myself and my teammates until we can do that.

Q. The inability to run the football, Coach said it was execution. What do you think it is?
K.J. COSTELLO: You know, Coach Shaw knows best in that world, and Coach Carberry. It definitely is execution. As a whole offense, right, like the thing about an offense is 11 guys have to do their job in order for the player to be efficient. On defense maybe one guy can slack off and they still get a stop. When the play doesn't work, the bottom line is it's execution.

We talk about doing our 1/11th, one guy out of the 11 doing their job, for the run game to go and the pass game to go, that has to be the mindset. We're going to get back to the drawing board and we will figure that out real soon here.

Q. What was the difference for you in the third quarter? You got off to a slow start but then in the third went five for eight in a touchdown. What do you think the difference was for you?
K.J. COSTELLO: You know, thinking back on that game, I had a choice to make thereafter two interceptions, both in the red zone. One, trying to save, from my perspective, trying to save the offense dirt and I end up throwing an interception. That can't happen. That's on me.

So I had a choice to make there: To sulk off two interceptions in the red zone or keep fighting for my teammates. But I learned a lot about myself tonight and that has to be the find set for all of us going forward. We've seen fight continuously when we're down as an entire team and as a team and organization, the idea is to come out with that energy and to play ahead of the game the entire time.

You know, we have a bunch of guys determined to figure out how we can do that, and I'm going to be real excited when we can figure that out.

Q. What's keeping you from coming out like that in the beginning?
K.J. COSTELLO: That's a tough question. We've been going back after it week-in and week-out trying to figure it out.

You know, we won a lot of coin tosses and we've got the ball to start the game a lot of times. That's a wonderful opportunity to impose your will and set the tone and the momentum for the entire game. I cannot pinpoint exactly what it is.

But I do feel a recurring theme out there in terms of when we get our first, first down, maybe the second first down, we're an entirely different -- the defense is operating totally differently. The running game is four at a minimum, at least from my eyes. I feel the efficiency kind of turn over as soon as we get that first or second first down.

So finding that rhythm is what I'm after and what we're after as an offense.

Q. Do you think you may be pressing a little bit too much to make things happen as a result of your team's inability to run the ball?
K.J. COSTELLO: You know, that's a good question. Tapping into my mindset, it's always about protecting the football and putting my team and myself and the offense in the best position to succeed, and I want to be in an advantageous situation all the time. Obviously it's not advantageous in third and 11; one, when you have to protect up, you have pressure primarily or they are dropping off and playing max protection.

It comes down to execution and playing ahead of the game. I continuously as a whole, you know, Coach Pritchard has talked about it so much and he's spot on. As a whole we have to find a way to do it.

Q. You don't think you're taking extra chances? Just want to rephrase the question and make sure I understand what you're saying. You don't think you're taking extra chances as a result of the team's inability to run the football?
K.J. COSTELLO: Naturally, if you look at statistics, I am throwing the ball more. Therefore, I am coming across decisions maybe a little bit more often than I would if we were rushing more.

I guess I'm in a situation where I've got to be -- I've got to use discernment maybe a little bit more often than last year but that's what the offense calls for and that's what I'm willing to do.

Q. How does having Bryce not healthy affect you offensively, or is it?
K.J. COSTELLO: It's a really tough question. Like I said, no one guy is going to change this team or change the way we operate. Obviously he has an unbelievable influence, still, in my opinion, best back in the country. I mean, when the guy gets a crease, you know, he's gone. We're trying to see that more, and I really want to see that more and we all want to see that more.

Tonight, I mean, it's hard to say. It's about doing your 1/11th. At the end of the day it's very difficult to discern his presence, not -- without his presence, where we would have been if he was out there.

Q. Can you take us through the Pick-Six?
K.J. COSTELLO: Yeah, for sure. I saw it very clearly. You know, we had been very, very effective and efficient on that play all year, and I was tuned into how they were going to try to stop it. At the end of the day, that corner, he guessed and he guessed right. He was playing all of that. But that play, primarily, that fits right into my ideology of throwing the ball where the defense tells me to go with it.

And they weren't -- at that time, reading his body language, they weren't telling me to go there, and it was something I had not seen all year, and he got the better of me that play.

Q. How much will the line of scrimmage be the focus for you guys? I know it's a big part of your program for a long time to win that battle of -- how much of that will be a focus for you guys as a team to be better up front when you play again?
K.J. COSTELLO: That's our focus every week. That's our focus every off-season. That's our focus every day. That's the standard in the program.

With that being the standard, not a lot is really going to change, you know, in terms of the focus because there's already so much there. We pride ourselves in the run game. And we pride ourselves in being able to play off the run game and do a lot of different things, and we're working our tails off to figure it out. When it hits, it's going to be good for all of us. We've been working real hard.

Q. Is it unusual because it's such a focus that it has not been there consistently this year, the way you want it to be?
K.J. COSTELLO: Yeah, I mean, it feels unusual. You know, yeah, the game's flowing differently, there's no doubt. There's no secret there. You know, there's no secret in terms of statistically speaking, we're not as balanced as we want to be and we're going to work hard to try and figure out those answers.

Q. When you guys do get there, with the way you can attack vertically, how dangerous do you think this offense can be?
K.J. COSTELLO: I believe unstoppable. So until we get there, we'll all find out.

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