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October 4, 2008

Jim Harbaugh

COACH HARBAUGH: Well, we played good. We just didn't play well enough to win the ballgame. Really proud of our guys. They fought. They played hard. Played their hearts out. Got a couple really bad calls go against us. That's what I saw from the field anyway. It's hard to imagine that people don't know football any better than that. That's why I feel bad for our guys 'cause they played their hearts out and they came up short.
The punt, maybe I'll be swayed to think differently after I see a replay, but from what I saw on the field, I still can't get over that. That was a really bad call. Should have been a fumble, our ball, picked up, ran back for a touchdown. Did you guys see it differently? Maybe not. But that's it.
Any questions for me?

Q. What explanation were you given on that fumble then?
COACH HARBAUGH: That he was interfered with. From what I saw, you know, the kid just misjudged it. He misjudged the ball. Saw it the last second coming down in front of him, stuck his hand out, ball goes over his hand. Should have been our ball. That was the only explanation I was given.

Q. What happened at the end of the game out there on the field?
COACH HARBAUGH: Well, you know, I only got one story. I only got one side of the story. I hate to say definitively what happened. Our guy said he got his helmet ripped off. So I'm sure there's two sides to that story, so... Better not comment on that one.

Q. You did a great job of stopping their run and then also Clausen had a big day. Talk about those two things.
COACH HARBAUGH: Yeah, we've got to do a better job defending the pass. We've been hurt through the air. Notre Dame did do a good job with their passing game, a lot of first downs through the air, three touchdowns, 350 some yards. We've been susceptible through the air. Got to see the ball better, got to break on it better, got to get turnovers when they're throwing that much.
Finally got a little bit of pressure in the second half, which we weren't doing in the first half. We were able to get some stops. But before that we just weren't getting enough stops on our defense.

Q. Do you feel like you controlled the line of scrimmage today for the most part?
COACH HARBAUGH: Well, I mean, at times we did offensively. Had some good drives going, you know, some real good drives started. We did shoot ourself in the foot on a few of the illegal procedure penalties early in the game. Weren't able to come away with points in those early drives, which did hurt us.
But I thought our backs ran hard, and guys blocked well up front.

Q. On that drive in the third quarter when you got the ball on the 30, Gerhart didn't have a touch on the series. Talk about the decision not to go with him at all.
COACH HARBAUGH: Well, we tried a couple other plays. Ended up didn't work.

Q. Can you talk about Tavita's playing, three interceptions in the first half, then the comeback, almost put the team in position to tie the game.
COACH HARBAUGH: Yes, you know, one interception, threw the ball high, it got tipped. The next one was a screen pass. He thought the defender was going down, but he wasn't. Tried to plug the ball instead of throwing it up and over, like a free throw in basketball. And the third one, the safety made a nice play, came down underneath the out-cut and made a good play on the ball.
Just talked about seeing lanes, seeing throws, setting his feet, and throwing the ball. That's what he does a good job of.

Q. If you had scored the touchdown at the end to make it 28-27, had you made a decision whether you would tie the game or go for two?
COACH HARBAUGH: Moot point. Not really worth talking about. We were really concentrating on getting score. Probably would have kicked the extra point, to be honest with you.

Q. Can you talk about the pressure they put on with their receivers, Jimmy's ability to throw the ball deep, pressure on your deep secondary. A lot of long balls today.
COACH HARBAUGH: Yeah, Floyd did a nice job. The quarterback did a good job pointing it up, letting him go up and make a play. We knew they would do that, too. Some we defended, some we didn't. They had a lot of big plays down the field.
You know, they hit the intermediate routes, the short routes, the screen routes. I think they pretty much probably felt like they could do what they wanted throwing the ball today.

Q. Notre Dame had been close this year but hadn't got to the opposing quarterback very often. Today they got to him I think five times. Protection breakdowns or one-on-one battles? Why were they able to get in your backfield a few times?
COACH HARBAUGH: I have to really look at the film. I know one, our guard got beat by the three technique. Another one our back couldn't hear the protection call at the line of scrimmage when it was changed. So our guys have been doing a good job in protection. But, yeah, we had some costly sacks today.

Q. Did you see Jimmy when he came over to shake your hand? You ran by Jimmy Clausen. Did you see him or not?
COACH HARBAUGH: No. There was a lot going on. I was right in that big pileup. I was just trying to separate the players at that point, get our guys into the tunnel. That was my objective. A lot of people were right there. He might have been one of them. There was a lot of stuff going on, a lot of taunting, a lot of chatter back and forth. My main objective was getting our players off the field.

Q. How different is he from the guy you saw last year?
COACH HARBAUGH: I've been saying all week, he's been much improved. You know, we've seen it on tape. He's very, very good now getting to his second and third reads, throwing the ball accurately, and impressed with how he's driving the ball, too. You know, he's getting his legs underneath him, getting set to make those throws. He's putting them on the money. He was very impressive today, and he has been all year.

Q. (No microphone.)
COACH HARBAUGH: He was pretty limited. Didn't get a whole lot of work in practice this week. Got an MCL. Hopefully that will tighten up for him and for us, be back next week.

Q. With comments made earlier this week, pushing and shoving going on on the field, do you feel like you got a budding rivalry going with Notre Dame?
COACH HARBAUGH: Well, you know, I know both teams -- I can speak for our team. We definitely wanted to come in here and win. Expected to play well and be able to win this ballgame. I'm sure they felt the same way. Two programs with a lot of pride.
It's a game played and coached by emotional people, you know, passionate people. That's what makes it so great. I mean, it's a collision sport. You know, it's played with your gut and with your passion. Yeah, you got two teams that went out there and played like that today, and that's why it was a good, interesting ballgame.

Q. Is that one thing you're trying to change, certainly the culture, the climate, that Stanford is not laying down to anybody, especially against someone like Notre Dame?
COACH HARBAUGH: Not lay down to anybody. That'll never happen.

End of FastScripts

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