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December 28, 2012

Sam Schwartzstein


Q.  Can you talk about practice and the state of the team?
SAM SCHWARTZSTEIN:  Coach Shaw had to make a speech at the end.  It was like this wasn't a Stanford type of practice.  We just got our butts whooped.  We need to come out and have the same type of energy that we have when we win and understand our season is on the line.  We can't have this kind of practice.

Q.  What would be something that would happen?  Is it specific incidents or more of a general trouble?
SAM SCHWARTZSTEIN:  Execution wasn't there, and guys in the back that weren't in it at the time.  They weren't as into it.  They weren't as locked in, guys that were playing.  They'd make a mistake, and you couldn't see any remorse.  That's not how we were accustomed to practicing for the last five years.

Q.  I know you guys have the six‑hour rule.  The loss hangover was still there on Monday?
SAM SCHWARTZSTEIN:  One of the things about football is you can have a short‑term memory.  But some of the stuff that you can't explain yourself, there might have been residual effects, because you don't really notice them and you don't think about them.  But losing a game like that, there of course has to be.

Q.  So practice ends, Shaw talks, and then you and Stepfan talk to the offense, right?

Q.  Was that in the locker room?

Q.  Did you and Stepfan get together and say we need to talk?
SAM SCHWARTZSTEIN:  It was Stepfan that brought them up.  Stepfan brought them up and brought everyone together and said our defense outscored us again on the road.  We've got to be able to play to our capabilities in order to make this team go where it wants to go, which is the Rose Bowl.

Q.  What did you discuss?
SAM SCHWARTZSTEIN:  The next day when we brought everybody up, I told everybody that we have to approach this so every game we can be where we want to be in the Pac‑12 Championship game.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?
SAM SCHWARTZSTEIN:  Yeah, exactly.  So what happens was one of the guys, our strength coach, Coach Turley, he brought me and Chase and Stepfan to his office during the lifts, and he told us this is your team.  This is your senior year.  Understand that if we have to have our head coach talk to us about how we need to recover from a loss then we've got some serious issues, and you need to address this team and get the sense of entitlement that just because we show up and we're the new Stanford, it's not going to work.
So we went in there and talked about controlling our own destiny, and understanding that we have to be able to approach this like a championship‑type Wednesday, playing in a championship game this practice, so we can understand each game is a playoff game.

Q.  So you went into his office on Wednesday morning?

Q.  So he had picked up on what happened Tuesday as well?

Q.  I got you.  And did you notice was Wednesday's practice any better?
SAM SCHWARTZSTEIN:  It was one of our best practices of the year.

Q.  Was it?
SAM SCHWARTZSTEIN:  Energy all over the place.  Guys locked in.  It really got back to the feeling of the team that we had over the past couple of years.

Q.  So then it was after Wednesday's practice where you made your contribution to the playoffs?
SAM SCHWARTZSTEIN:  That was before.

Q.  Has it been straight shutouts after that?
SAM SCHWARTZSTEIN:  Yeah, we had a letdown against Washington State where we were able to tough out a win.  We didn't play the way we wanted.  But starting with Colorado where we could get our legs underneath us over the toughest opponents of the year, the last three or four games, it was a straight shot up from there.  The Oregon State week was unbelievable from the game plan to all the way to getting ready to play the best team we played so far.  Then Oregon, probably the best preparation week I've had since I've been at Stanford.  Then UCLA, one and two, were both also great weeks.

Q.  So could you make a case that Notre Dame has been beaten (Indiscernible)?
SAM SCHWARTZSTEIN:  It's hard to say.  Last couple years we hadn't lost until we played Oregon, and we haven't had as many fights.  I think we have the record for most wins by 25 points or more in a row dating back from 2010 to 2011.
So this team learned how to fight from the start of the season.  That's kind of where Oregon, that was kind of our mentality.  Like, guys, if we keep this close, we've got it.  They've been winning by 40 points or more.  So if we're able to keep this thing close, they're playing on our territory, our turf.

Q.  Because obviously you guys if you had won that game you might not be playing for the national championship.  But you also don't know what impact that would have on your state of mind going into Cal and those others.  So it's easy to get bad habits.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?
SAM SCHWARTZSTEIN:  I have not.  But I've heard amazing things.

Q.  What are some of the stories?
SAM SCHWARTZSTEIN:  He can shoot from anywhere, and he plays boards really well.

Q.  Does the offense feel like it did when Andrew was running it?
SAM SCHWARTZSTEIN:  Andrew's first year, I didn't play.  I was on the sideline.  But just talking with Andrew and watching the games on Sundays, it looks a lot like Andrew's first season.  We have (Indiscernible), an amazing running back.  Stepfan makes us do a lot of things that other team's can't do.  He has that security blanket, Kevin does to get those big legs, those play actions.  When it breaks down, he knows what to do with his feet.  Similar to what Andrew is doing his freshman year.  We're not going to ask him to throw it 40 times a games.

Q.  (Indiscernible) he's got to make all the reads and all the calls.
SAM SCHWARTZSTEIN:  It's an extremely difficult job.  I remember watching Andrew do it where Monday's was a hundred percent football.  He would be there from sun up to sundown, trying to understand his game plan.  Kevin is kind of approaching it the same way.  Kevin had an entire notebook just from yesterday filled out of the notes from the Monday meeting, and he was able to give us some verbatim back to us when Coach asked him to.  So watching Kevin's approach to the game and love of the game is pretty impressive.

Q.  As far as in the huddle, the fourth quarter drives (Indiscernible) does it remind you of Andrew at all?
SAM SCHWARTZSTEIN:  It reminds me a lot.  I know Andrew was more of a physical presence.  Just like we kind of knew we had the best player in the country on our team look at him in the eyes, because we did the huddle where we're all looking at the quarterback.  But when you see Kevin's eyes and you see the fire in Kevin's eyes, that's kind of what gets you going.  We understand that we're definitely going to win this game the way this kid looks right now.

Q.  This is off the beaten path.  But who had to eat the most?
SAM SCHWARTZSTEIN:  I think Cam or Josh.  I was egging Josh on to see how much he could eat.  He's kind of a garbage disposal.  He didn't really feel it after five of those things.

Q.  How much did he wind up eating?
SAM SCHWARTZSTEIN:  I don't know.  I lost track.

Q.  I heard Garnett had about seven?
SAM SCHWARTZSTEIN:  Seven sounds right to me.  I remember the walls were coming in at 3:00 for me.  And I think he was at about 5.

Q.  I know it's not a competition, but how many?
SAM SCHWARTZSTEIN:  I don't know.  Those guys, I don't know.

Q.  Talk about the offensive line a little bit.  You're sort of the veterans now whereas last year you were the new guys.  How has that adjustment been for the three of you?  Kevin also is a veteran.  He wasn't a starter last year, but he's been around just as some of these younger offensive linemen come in, how have you seen your role change and get them acclimated to the way you do things?
SAM SCHWARTZSTEIN:  I've had to see some great leadership since I've been here.  Starting with Alex Fletcher, then Chris Marinelli and Andy Phillips and Chase Beeler, two of my mentors.  Those guys are some of my best friends and mentors.  Getting to see them and their approach to the game.  How it was different from John and Dave last year.  We knew we had the two best offensive linemen in the country on our team.  You know, they kind of approached it with like a physical presence, and understanding that you have to play up to their level, and they're not going to go down to yours.
I was able to combine those with the motivational factors that Andy and Chase brought to where we are able to have a mixture of the two.  David Yankey and Cameron Fleming stepped up unbelievably.  From the first practice without the two big dogs, Yankey was in there barking at everybody.  Making sure that everyone was in the right spot.  Cam‑‑ you let Cam get off the bus first the way he's been able to transform his body.  So those guys, their ability to help lead has been a really awesome journey this year.  I think we've all grown from it.

Q.  Yeah, I think Jonathan might not have been able to (Indiscernible)? What is the key against that package to make sure the communication is right to everybody knows who they need to find?
SAM SCHWARTZSTEIN:  So it starts with the reps.  They do some funky stuff.  Starting in practice, they get multiple reps at it.  It's not foreign to you when you see it.  You see what could they possibly do.  Because you know they're going to have something new for us.  From then on it starts with a loud communication to where everyone understands it's 3rd and 6 before the play.  It's 3rd and 9, whatever it might be.  We have to understand this is a possibility, so you compartmentalize it there.
So once you get the different fronts, you understand, here's the communication for this specific front.  Now be ready for X, Y, and Z.  So it's a step‑by‑step process that we have to go through every time.  If someone's not in the right‑‑ if someone doesn't realize it's maybe second down or third down, it's all going to be screwed up.  So everyone's got to be on page, pre‑snap communication, middle of the plate communication, and then to finally be able to do the job physically.

Q.  (Indiscernible) first of all, the one delay of game (Indiscernible)?
SAM SCHWARTZSTEIN:  It depends on Coach's concept.  Sometimes you can do that, but sometimes you lose guys out in routes that you want to be on the routes.  So then they have a mismatch in coverage.  What you want to do is if they're going to bring five, you want to protect the five.
So it's one of those things.  Our coaching staff gets prepared by using reps and reps and reps.  So that's kind of how we're approaching it to what are the best protections in certain situations and how do we react to what they bring us.

Q.  (Indiscernible)?
SAM SCHWARTZSTEIN:  You know, I remember a team that fought.  Growing up in my family, we've always fought through whatever trials and tribulations we've been through.  Sometimes we don't always win.  But if you don't recover from losses, they're going to hurt.
If we didn't make it to the Rose Bowl, it would hurt a lot more.  We could have said, look at them.  They are the national champions.  Let the chips fall where they may.  Look at our record versus Wisconsin's record.  They're a couple, maybe the wind had blown a certain way away from being in‑‑ they're in the Rose Bowl, but from being 10‑2.
So you look at it and you understand we're able to make it to the Rose Bowl.  We're able to recover.  Now I'm not as mad.  If we were in a different bowl game, I'd be pretty upset.

Q.  I covered that team back when they went to the nationals.  In the Big Ten, saying you don't deserve to be here because you didn't win your division.  I saw something that said five losses (Indiscernible) and (Indiscernible).  When you look at them on tape, are they a five loss team or are they better than their record suggests?
SAM SCHWARTZSTEIN:  They're absolutely not a five‑loss team.  This team, their team reminds me a lot of our defense.  With guys that understand the concepts that they're supposed to run, and they play full speed.  You don't see too many guys waiting for another guy to make a play.  Some teams, they don't have the group.  They have a similar record, and they're looking for somebody else to make a play.  Nobody is looking for somebody else to make a play on this defense.  Everybody has the ability to make the play.
So it's pretty‑‑ they're definitely not an 8‑5 team.  I was looking at their scores, and the last three losses were in overtime.  I think it's 19 points.  Five by 19, come on.  That's just, you know, they're able to‑‑ they're a team that deserves to be in the Rose Bowl.  Their record, whatever you may say, might not be that.  But they're definitely a team that deserves to be in the Rose Bowl.

Q.  I was looking, and you guys were 7‑2 this year.  (Indiscernible) the loss this is year, 3, and 3.  When you guys played Oregon State‑‑

Q.  Why have you been able or do you think this team has been able to win games in the fourth quarter?  I know you had UCLA 10‑0 in the championship.
SAM SCHWARTZSTEIN:  You know, it's one of those things where you look at our defense, and when it comes to the fourth quarter nobody scores.  And our offense, sometimes we're way too inconsistent for what a Stanford offense is supposed to be like.  We have guys with the mentality that that fourth quarter is our quarter.
So it's giving a lot to our defense.  Guys like Chase Thomas and Trent Murphy, Ben Gardner, Shayne Skov, those guys.  No one's going to score on those guys.  That's their mentality.  So we have to understand that we've got to get in the end zone once or twice, and then we'll be able to win this game.

Q.  It's funny because I heard (Indiscernible) say we consider our offensive linemen (Indiscernible).  And I'm sure you guys take as much pride as Wisconsin does in theirs.  Does that make their inability to punch it at Notre Dame (Indiscernible).  Does that make it worse?  It's not on the line, but people look at it?
SAM SCHWARTZSTEIN:  Every game I have the same goals, which are 30 yards rushing, 300 yards rushing, that represents how we do, zero sacks, zero stops and short yardage.  I feel if we were able to do that, we've had a fantastic game at the offensive line.  That game, we didn't have t they stopped us at short yardage, and we gave up a sack.  That's not what we needed to win that game.
So if we're able to accomplish those ideas, then I'm pretty happy.  We hang our hat on short yardage.  We don't want a 2nd and 6 inches or 4th and inches.  We'll run the same play.  That's been the mentality.  Since I've been here and since we've had Toby, we know what we're going to run, let's play football.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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