Sunday, December 24, 2017
Stanford Cardinal Offense Press Conference
Offensive Coordinator Tavita Pritchard
Tight End Dalton Schultz
Fullback Daniel Marx
Quarterback K.J. Costello
Offensive Lineman David Bright
Moderator: Good afternoon. It is my pleasure to introduce Stanford offensive coordinator Tavita Pritchard. Please introduce your players, coach, and give an opening statement.
TAVITA PRITCHARD: Immediately to my left, Daniel Marx, Dalton Schultz, K.J. Costello, and David Bright.
It’s been a great week so far. I think between the events we’ve had, just the city of San Antonio, the hospitality has been amazing. We’ve really enjoyed the different venues that have accepted us in. The hotel has been awesome.
In terms of the last couple days of preparation, our guys are getting after it the right way. They have a good time when they have their off time, then when they’re hitting it, we’re getting ready for this really good football team we’re going to face with TCU.
Moderator: Questions, please.
Coach, Talk about their defense. What have you seen on tape?
TAVITA PRITCHARD: I think what you see from this TCU defense is they play extremely hard. They’re a defense that knows their identity. Obviously Coach Patterson has been there for a long time. He’s done a tremendous job, not only with that program, but with that defense specifically.
They don’t just play hard. They’re a bunch of smart players on that side of the ball. A lot of former quarterbacks. They really know how their pieces fit together. When you couple that with the extreme effort they play with, they just present a lot of issues.
David, in your career you’ve played multiple different positions on the offensive line. What enables you to be so durable and versatile on the offensive line?
DAVID BRIGHT: I think it’s a mindset to embrace the longer I’ve gone on in my career. To be honest, just being selfless. I’ll do anything for this team, whether that’s playing left guard, left tackle, right tackle. They’re two different positions. Looking from the outside, people might not realize that.
It’s been a lot of fun. Like I said, I’ll do anything for these guys, any position I need to play.
David, when Bryce invited to you the awards show in Atlanta, how did that go down? What was your reaction?
DAVID BRIGHT: I mean, it was a great experience. Also Jesse Burkett, our center. To see Bryce get that award, he’s such a deserving guy. He put in so much work this year for us.
It’s so much fun watching him progress throughout the season. Getting the award was just a nice cap-off, I would say. Being in Atlanta was so much fun, as well.
Dalton, with Bryce, do people forget sometimes you throw the ball, too?
DALTON SCHULTZ: Yeah. I was looking up a stat the other day, one of the highest deep-ball percentages in college right now. Kind of having that confidence in our quarterback and building that throughout these last six games, I think, has been huge.
I do think people forget that we can kind of sling the rock. Kind of having that dual threat in K.J.’s arm and in Bryce’s legs it great.
K.J., the TCU defense, what jumps out at you most about them? Up front? The back? The middle?
K.J. COSTELLO: Starting off up front, I think they play very aggressive. Coach described them very well. We’ve been studying them for about two, three weeks now.
Getting into the back end where I focus a little bit more, they primarily stay in one to two defensive looks, but play a lot of different variations out of that.
Like coach said, they got a lot of quarterbacks back there, quarterback-minded safeties. I think they got a corner on the fourth year starting. They have a lot of experience in the back end. They like changing up the looks, potentially fooling the offense.
At the end of the day, they have a lot of trust in the back end. It’s going to come down to us making plays over them.
K.J., your teammates have said they like your attitude in the huddle. What do you say during the game that makes them feel comfortable?
K.J. COSTELLO: At the end of the day, coach has really instilled in me, we call it driving the ship. I like to tell Jesse that he drives the ship up front, I kind of steer it from the back end.
At the end of the day, I got to instill a sense of confidence when it’s third and four, third and six, when I feel like it’s time to make a big play. I got to remind the guys situationally.
At the end of the day, that’s my job. They got a lot of things to worry about, a lot of one-on-one matchups up front. I got to remind them when it’s time to make a play, let them feel what I’m feeling, kind of see through the same lens that I’m seeing through.
Daniel, you got invited to go to the Heisman. How did Bryce invite you? What was that experience like for you?
DANIEL MARX: That was phenomenal. It was Monday. We were looking for them to release the Heisman names. We realized Bryce was getting there. A few hours later he shot me a text, Do you want to go to New York with me? That was phenomenal. I read it, was almost in disbelief.
Such a tremendous guy. That goes back and reflects well on him. He feels like he wants to take the guys that he feels deserve it best. That’s what he conveyed to me.
Unbelievable opportunity. Great experience to be with him, go through all the things that he was doing. It was an unbelievable time.
Daniel, During the interview at the Heisman, his parents said he needs to call home more, eat less candy. Do you have something he should improve on?
DANIEL MARX: Gosh, he’s very dedicated to everything he’s doing. The second he realizes he needs to do something, he’s right on it.
I’m sure he’s called home a few times more and eaten a little bit less candy each day.
Dalton, what are your expectations about playing your final game on Thursday night?
DALTON SCHULTZ: Honestly, I can’t remember who described it, I think Coach Shaw, when we were playing our final home game: Don’t underestimate the emotion that comes on with playing in that final game.
That’s kind of my mindset going into it. I know it’s going to be emotional, especially for all these seniors who might be their last game, might not. I’ve prepared myself for that. There’s going to be a lot of big plays I think in this game. There is a lot of emotion. That’s kind of what happens.
The Alamo Bowl, the history, a lot of points scored. We have to kind of ride the storm. This offense has never been up and down. We try to stay as levelheaded as possible. I think that’s going to be the focus going into it.
Daniel, you last game as a senior.
DANIEL MARX: I think Dalton hit it right on the head. You’ll just feel a little bit more emotion, walking out of the locker room, being with your teammates, playing on the field as a team. I think that’s exactly right. It will feel very emotional.
But we’ll be ready to play. It will give us a little bit of an edge, you know.
David, being the northern California team, TCU is a few hours from here in Texas, do you feel like the visiting team, the underdogs, the foreign guys? Do you feel right at home?
DAVID BRIGHT: Yeah, I mean, we talked about it earlier in the week, it’s kind of a home game for TCU, which is fine for us. We’re going to have our support from all our families. Whatever Stanford fans travel down, we’ll embrace that, to be honest, go out there, play our style of game.
David, what do you think of the weather here?
DAVID BRIGHT: It’s not too bad, honestly, the weather. Maybe a little colder.
Coach, what makes K.J. so successful on throwing the deep ball?
TAVITA PRITCHARD: Hmm. What makes K.J. successful throwing the deep ball? I think you really have to start that with all the components that takes to get the ball there. I think that starts up front with the protection unit. We put a lot on these guys, not just K.J., the guys up front, the runningbacks, tight ends who help in protection.
TCU has a tremendous third down package that they get in and do a lot of different things. We put in a lot of study on these guys against a lot of teams to be able to keep K.J. upright.
When it comes to making the play, K.J. mentioned it, we’re going to have opportunities this game, we’ve had them in past games, to where K.J. has to put the ball up. We talk a lot in the quarterback room about giving those guys outside a chance. We don’t always have to throw the perfect ball, but if we at least put them in a position to make a play, more often than not we feel like our guys will go do that.
I think K.J. has done a good job of facilitating that. Again, I think it’s really about the whole unit.
Coach, TCU does shut down people in second halfs a lot. Does that approach how you start the game with your scheme?
TAVITA PRITCHARD: You know what, I think Dalton said it. We try not to change a whole bunch based on who we’re playing. Obviously we want to know our opponent, know going in kind of how they’re going to try to attack us, things like that. But we always try to start fast. I don’t think anything’s different in this game.
Now, that said, knowing this is a TCU defense, like I mentioned earlier, that knows their system extremely well, I think we know we’re going to have to make some adjustments at halftime to try to combat that. For a team that plays as hard as they do and as smart as they do, we know we’re not just going to be able to keep the same game plan the whole time. We think we’re going to have to throw some different things at them, really play at a high level.
Moderator: Thank you.