Valero Alamo Bowl: Stanford Team Arrival Interviews with Head Coach David Shaw, Running Back Bryce Love, and Defensive Tackle Harrison Phillips
Head Coach David Shaw
How does it feel being in San Antonio?
“Great to be here. Great to be here. Guys are excited, some of the guys got in early, walking the river walk, taking advantage of the sights. And the rest of us just got here and there’s a lot of excitement and guys cant get enough of it so far. So cant wait.”
What’s practice been like for you guys leading up to this week?
“It’s been good. We had finals. So we had to get through finals and we had three really good practices. And I challenged the guys to say, we need to develop some muscle memory. We got to get used to TCU before we get on a plane. Give a lot of credit to our players for taking it very seriously and working really hard. We had a couple physical practices before we took a little bit of a break… Took about three or four days off and then showed up here. So we’ll see how much retention our guys have. But I trust this group, that they’ve prepared, and we’re ready to go.”
What do you know about TCU and watching them on film? What are some of the situations that they’re going to present to you guys come game day?
“Well I’ve known Gary Patterson for a while now. I have all the respect in the world for him, both as a football coach and as a man. He prepares his team. They play hard. They play physical. When we turn the film on, you see it. Guys are running to the ball on defense, and they hustle. They go full speed. Offensively, they’re always going to have a dynamic quarterback. They’re always going to have a good runner. They’re always going to have different ways to attack you. (Not only) the screens, but also down the field. As well as being a physical running team. So they present a lot of issues for us.“
What kind of crowd are you guys expecting out here on Thursday.
“You know, I’ve heard about the games here, and how passionate people are. So I know it’s going to be loud, I know it’s going to be exciting. It’s not lost on me that we’re playing TCU in Texas, not too far away from TCU. So TCU will have a lot of their fans here, which will be great, so I think it’s going to be a great environment.“
Bryce Love, Jr., running back
What do you think of the city [of San Antonio] so far, have you been here before?
“I think I came here for the Army All-American Combine a few years back, so I didn’t really get to explore it back then, but I did get to walk around a bit today. Nothing too crazy yet, but it looks like a beautiful place so far.”
What do you know about TCU’s defense and some of the challenges they may present?
“Beyond anything else that stands out about them is their run game and defense. They’re just so fast and physical with the point of attack. They do what they’re taught and they execute really well. You can really see why they’ve been so successful.”
What have made you [and Stanford] so successful this year?
“I have to give credit to everyone around me: the other ten people on the field who are executing their assignments and doing their part to make the play work out. I’m just out there, taking what I see and using what the defense gives me. The offensive line…they’re out their making their blocks, the QB is out going through his fakes…the receivers are out there blocking down field and running off the corners. So I’m putting it on everyone else except me, honestly.”
What expectations do you have for yourself on Thursday?
“I mean I always go out with the same chip on my shoulder more so than anything else. I want to go out and give my best for the team and just play to the best of my ability.”
Do you think this game could be a good showcase for you to play in the NFL?
“I mean you have to put good things on tape, but that’s down the line and I just try to play the best that I can right now.”
Harrison Phillips, Sr., Defensive Tackle
Talk about preparation coming into San Antonio. What’s it been like?
“We’ve been really fortunate to have some time off. Obviously prior to this, everybody can rest up, get our bodies back really healthy. But we know we have a really tough opponent. Very fast offense and a very good defense for our offense to face. We’ve just been really locked in and feeling really good about what we can do with this time off and I’m just excited to strap on the pads with everybody again. “
What do you know about San Antonio? Have you been here before?
“I came here my sophomore year of high school for the Army All-American combine. But I really didn’t get to go out and see things. I was just here in the hotel, and worked out, stuff like that. But I’m really excited to see what it’s like and so far, the hospitality’s been fantastic and being the 25th annual bowl is going to be a really good time. “
What do you know about their offense?
“They’re a very dynamic offense, and I think it’s going to be a really good test for us. Fortunately, we’ve played a lot of hurry up speed tempos. Washington St seems like a very similar type of offense, with a RB at QB almost. TCU, they’re very athletic, they can stretch you out wide, and can tuck it and he run it at any point. So sacks are going to be a premium if we can win on first down and create a long field position, it should be a very fun night for us. “
What do you need to do defensively to make sure they don’t get their motor rolling?
“I think number 1, we need to tackle. The way our defense is set up, there’s going to be one on one opportunities for us and them, and we have to be the person to get them down and rally and play third down defense, and red zone defense. And if we do get beat, let’s rally, get them down, and go play goal line defense. So they’re going to throw punches but we’re going to wear them down like we have all season and ultimately win when we need to win.”
As a senior, do you seniors look at this almost as a showcase for you guys playing on Sundays?
“Definitely wouldn’t be the first showcase of what we can do. Because this process starts so young, if you’re an NFL guy, they’re going to have seen you since your freshman year. But this is an opportunity where you can jump tremendously. You’re on people’s radars now. And you look at Solomon Thomas from last year; it looked like maybe he was a second round guy, maybe late first. But he had a fantastic bowl game and he jumps up in the top ten conversations. So we’re going to be one of the only games on, it’s going to be a very good game vs. TCU and us, it’s going to have a lot of eyes watching and I’m sure all 32 teams of the NFL are going to have some type of scout watching or there. It’s just another place to platform. To the seniors, the most important thing that we’re thinking about is that this is the last time you get to strap up with your friends, your brothers and your teammates. That’s about the only thing that should be on your mind right now. Live in the moment, smell the roses, and go out one last time with your team with a win.
Is that easier said than done?
“I don’t think so. Not for me on a personal level. I’m just ecstatic and so happy to be here. A lot of decisions to be made obviously following the bowl game. But right now I’m just focused on getting all my guys backs, finding out what they got for Christmas, seeing all the cool bowl stuff we get and go practice hard and win a game.”