Oct. 1, 2002
Q. I wonder if you could describe the emotions mixed in going into this week playing against a lot of players who you recruited and if this is anymore difficult for you going into Michigan State was?
COACH WILLINGHAM: I don’t think I can say it is more difficult. I can say that it is more involved simply because you look at the most recent or a recent stretch of almost ten years of my life spent at Stanford, and that includes the last search as the head coach and involves probably the vast majority of that football team. So it is a little more involved than it was with the Michigan State game a few weeks ago but at the same time when 1:30 rolls around it will be football.
Q. Latest on Carlyle?
COACH WILLINGHAM: There has been no change in Carlyle’s status right now. It is still, as we said, week to week. We may even look at it day to day. Of course this is the first opportunity that we have had to look at him again since our weekend off and I will be as eager to see what he looks like.
Q. Will he practice?
COACH WILLINGHAM: We don’t know.
Q. Kevin White in saying no to a 13 game that we’ve talked about last week, he used the term we don’t want Notre Dame does not want to exploit its players. I wondered if you felt the same way and if that was if you felt like adding one game would, quote unquote, exploit Notre Dame or any player?
COACH WILLINGHAM: Well, I think the first thing is in talking about that situation is that we felt like our game qualified it a little bit different. It was No. 1. And that therefore there was really no need to add a 13th game, I think that’s where he started out the week. But I will agree with Kevin that we don’t think it’s necessary for us to play a 13th regular season game in terms of the welfare of our players.
Q. One of the things Stanford/Notre Dame are very similar in the whole identity of the universities; one thing that’s different is the amount of attention paid to each football program. For instance out there right now it’s in the Bay Area baseball time, Playoffs, there’s the NFL season. How much of that, wanting to be part of somewhere where the biggest show in town played into your decision or in your thought process, in leaving Stanford for Notre Dame?
COACH WILLINGHAM: I don’t think the biggest show in town had a lot to do with it. I think that probably just means like more of an ego issue than anything else when described that way. But there is a great deal of passion about both programs. Stanford’s is displayed a little bit different probably by a few less people but still at the same time great passion. Notre Dame is displayed by a lot of people and has tremendous past. So I think that’s probably the difference.
Q. When you prepare for a team obviously you look at them offensively, defensively the things they do, but in this situation playing Stanford do you, in preparation, account for the motivation that the Stanford players may have in playing against the school where their coach left them for?
COACH WILLINGHAM: I don’t know if I can account for it. But I can attest that it will be there, okay. This will be I think a very emotional game because that group of young men and I think whether their coach highlighted it or not I think the young men have highlighted it as one that they have on their schedule, their calendar to be successful. So, no, it will be a very important thing but it will be important to both teams.
Q. As a coach do you do anything to counter that?
COACH WILLINGHAM: No.
Q. You talked last week about your philosophy of ones versus ones in practice. Is that your philosophy or did you pick that up or was there a head coach that you played for that introduced that philosophy to you?
COACH WILLINGHAM: No. It is something that I became a part of at Stanford with Denny Green. It is the professional influence because of the select number of players that you have that you don’t of scout teams to be able to go service the offense and the defense so you have to work together as a team. And there’s always that question, anything that we do of quantity versus quality and usually quality wins out almost every time. So we want to stress quality in our system. Now does that mean we’re totally ones on ones? No. That’s not the case. But do we spend the vast majority of our time working quality? Yes.
Q. In your last game you scored on an opening drive, you get the ball for the second time on first down, Carlyle makes I think throws short; on the next two downs each of your tackles jump offsides. You lose the momentum or at least you did at that point. Why are your offensive linemen jumping offsides? Is it always forgetting the snap count in the huddle or is there a change made at the line of scrimmage that would account for that? Why do offensive linemen jump offsides?
COACH WILLINGHAM: How long would you like me to think about that one? (Laughs).
Q. Are there more factors than just forgetting the snap count?
COACH WILLINGHAM: Well, first of all, who said they forgot the snap count?
Q. I don’t know; that’s why I am pleading ignorance in the question.
COACH WILLINGHAM: Well, I think I will plead ignorance on the answer (laughter).
Q. How much of an advantage this week that you know of their personnel, know their strengths and weaknesses, is that going to help you a lot even though they are in a different system now?
COACH WILLINGHAM: Well, I probably will say that it may be more attention paid to that than what is due. They are in a different system. They are asked to do things different so the demands on them are a lot different than when we had them. I think Coach has made that very clear, that their system is a lot different from the system employed a year ago. But there are things that hopefully will help us understand maybe the person and that new responsibility as we start to look at and evaluate them that we wouldn’t have an advantage to if we didn’t have the close relationship with that football team from before.
Q. When you come here do you change a lot of things? Are your defense has been going in your offense for a couple of years, a lot of them, will they recognize things faster, and if the quarterback is calling a play on the line, will they know it when they hear it?
COACH WILLINGHAM: No, hopefully they won’t. Some of them might. But you know, you have that problem simply just in terms of changing staff. When we open with Maryland the beginning of the season the offensive line coach was our offensive line coach at Stanford, so you are always adjusting things and kind of having a couple of things in your system that can confuse the opponent. And that will be the case in this game also.
Q. Same thing with the sideline signals, I know against Michigan (inaudible) against Michigan your the quarterback was standing in front of the signaler so Michigan couldn’t see the signal. Is there worry that they will know the signal is?
COACH WILLINGHAM: You are always trying to guard against somebody picking up your signals and that’s every week, so know there will be subtle things that we’ll do different. It may depend on the signal caller, who he is, where he is positioned at so there are all kinds of things that we can do.
Q. Pat had a full week last week. How had he developed?
COACH WILLINGHAM: No, Pat did not have in a sense a full week, okay, because really our focus is there, as we said, going into that week was (1) to get our football team healthy (2) maintain our rhythm and (3) develop our younger players so hopefully we took very positive steps in all those three areas but that’s not really a full week compliment of work because we did abbreviate things in order to work toward our health issue.
Q. You said he ain’t got a whole lot of reps before. Do you see improvement?
COACH WILLINGHAM: The reps that he had this week or last week, benefited him well.
Q. Kind of expound on what you were talking about the biweek you talked about the things that you were trying to develop. Some of the young kids, did you see anything that you wanted to in particular that you can share and also do you worry about losing some momentum? You have won four games and the biweek, sometimes the momentum is not there the following week…
COACH WILLINGHAM: Well, the latter part first, no. I don’t worry about losing momentum. I think our guys will be excited about the opportunity to get out there and play and sometimes it is always nice to be able to step back away from what you are doing sometimes. And take another look at it. And then get reinvigorated about the task that you have. So I think that will serve us well. The issue with the young kids, there was some nice things, some nice play out of our guys. It gave even some of our veteran guys that hadn’t got a whole lot of game snaps and opportunity to get some, so that’s beneficial because that’s putting them in a live game situation or it’s close to it as possible so they grow from it.
Q. In addition to Holiday you said some of the other people nicked up and things, how is the health issue?
COACH WILLINGHAM: We still have and I hate to say this but we find out today, okay, I don’t see them do a whole lot on those offdays and we have rested them so today I will start to find out exactly what the health conditions of our football team are.
Q. I heard you the other day talking about playing cornerbacks and quarterbacks and the fact that you thought those were positions where there was such a thing as playing someone too early.
COACH WILLINGHAM: Yes.
Q. In terms of Chris Olsen and quarterbacks, how do you measure when a quarterback is ready, the circumstances thrust him in there and you hope he’s ready to go? Are there certain things that you look for where you say he’s ready if we need him?
COACH WILLINGHAM: I think you can usually tell when a young man has a command of the system and seems to be at ease with the system. When that happens, you are pretty confident as a coach that he will be able (1) to provide the leadership that you need and (2) he will be able to provide the play that you need.
Q. How is Chris progressing along those lines?
COACH WILLINGHAM: He’s doing fine. I know you didn’t expect anything different than that. (Laughs).
Q. I wonder too is there in your philosophy are you ever to a point in a season where you say, boy I am not going to play I am not talking specifically about Chris a freshman, I am not going to use him when I get to the 7th game, I am not going to play them at this point and preserve a year eligibility, do you have that thought process or are they always kind of, hey, if we need them if they can help us
COACH WILLINGHAM: You are always going through that battle of what’s best for the individual and what is best for the team probably right up until the last day because you would hate to have a major accomplishment of the team taken away because a freshman could contribute and you don’t allow him to contribute. So you are always going through that fight, that battle, to try and balance that out and hopefully what we’ll do is we’ll go through it everyday if necessary and make the right decision for the individual and the team.
Q. Can you talk about the challenges that your corners face in going against the tall receiver like Tevo Johnson?
COACH WILLINGHAM: Well, in this case it’s not just a tall receiver. Johnson is a very gifted athlete. There are not many guys that are able to play two sports in college. One that have the discipline and toughness to do it and the athletic ability to do it. So he has that but he’s also complemented I think with an excellent group of receivers and I think somewhere preseason they were like, I think ranked 6th best group in the country in some publication so it’s a very talented group. I think they have gotten better by the addition of some of their young people in that group. So it’s not just Tevo and he brings enough of a challenge in itself with his size and I think they list him at 6′ 7″, okay, I will probably tell them that he is 6′ 9″, 250 and not 245. But he’s quite a man out there. But he’s complemented by some other excellent receivers.
Q. When you have a guy that brings those dimensions, I mean, does that change the way the corners play their coverage? Does it change what you do
COACH WILLINGHAM: It changes both because you have to figure out the style of play that can best counter his size and his ability and then you have to structure the defense believing that in some cases it will not be a one man job but it may require the coverage of two people or more in some cases that you have to rotate.
Q. I was curious are you sad that you moved Tevo out to wide receiver at this point?
COACH WILLINGHAM: No. Because I think for him at that time it was a great move. As we play him, it will be a great challenge for our guys but I think our guys will be willing to accept that kind of challenge.
Q. You have mentioned Bill Walsh on a couple occasions. I wondered if you could talk about what you think he brings as a coach, what qualities you admire in him as a coach?
COACH WILLINGHAM: Well, I think it’s well documented that Bill is one of the finest coaches that’s ever coached in any time his knowledge of the game, his ability to make adjustments, but probably the thing that I loved the most about him, was his ability as a teacher. I don’t know if there’s been a person that understood teaching structure and how to present information any better than Bill and he’s just done, I think, a great job and really maybe even changed how everybody presents game plans and how they do things in the game of football.
Q. A lot of focus on Arnaz in the last week after that catch in Michigan State. Talk about his progress from the time that you saw him starting in spring and just I guess some of things that maybe we wouldn’t see that you might rout running and blocking and just the progress he’s made at wide receiver?
COACH WILLINGHAM: Well, the thing that’s probably most exciting about Arnaz is the fact that when you use the word “progress” you are talking about “in total” because you look at the number of receptions that not only Arnaz had last year, but the group had, it was minimal. Now he has got an opportunity to really work, I would say and I hate to say it the first time because I don’t know what took place before, but he now is getting a full fledged education into how to be a receiver and I think he’s really enjoying that and enjoying the work he received that’s also means some days you are going to be up and some days you are going to be down. But he does a marvelous job of responding to that challenge and is progressing everyday in learning all the little things how to come out of breaks, how to run routs, how to adjust body position, and I think he’s doing a great job in that education.
Q. Players and coaches talk a lot about focus, but how important is it for the player to have a sense of that they can actually make a difference in a game in terms of maintaining that focus? I would imagine it is hard to get a player through an entire season of practice if at some point they start to feel that their contributions in a game will be minimal?
COACH WILLINGHAM: First of all, no, it’s hard to get a player through a week of practice much less a season because that’s the hard part of playing the game is the practice. But when you believe that you can make a difference, okay, it helps with everything you do. It helps with practice, helps at games and especially helps as in the last minute of our Michigan State ballgame. When a guy believes that he can make a difference then all he’s looking for is the opportunity and when provided, he takes it, and he jumps all over it as Arnaz did, and those are the guys you kind of call your go to guys that when things get tough you can count on them because you know they have that attitude and they are just waiting for the opportunity.
Q. After the first win you said, I guess you told your players don’t believe the hype, because there’s going to be a lot of hype. This week the NEW YORK TIMES, BCS poll has you as No. 1. When did do you start worrying about the hype? What do you do to make sure that they don’t believe the hype, things like that?
COACH WILLINGHAM: Just look at the next poll, okay, I think there was somebody and I am not sure what team it was or what poll it was, I think we were what, 15th or 18th or something like that. You probably have that knowledge a lot more than I do exactly who it is. So that’s all. You don’t get carried away with any of that. Our guys can see those examples all around them.
Q. Talk about Omar Jenkins and his improvement this year?
COACH WILLINGHAM: I don’t know if you can put the word improvement on Omar, okay because I think I have labeled Omar as steady and as consistent a football player as I have been around and that’s from day to day in practice, games, he’s always there, always poised to make a play providing, I think, excellent leadership, so improvement, yes, he has, but that’s not the word that I would lean on when I describe Omar.
Q. Much will be made by us about your connection with Stanford and the emotion that we may speculate that your former players are feeling. In your experience as a coach in any games maybe similar to this with the emotions surrounding it, what actual impact can that have on the performance of the team?
COACH WILLINGHAM: I hope you are speaking of Stanford’s team.
COACH WILLINGHAM: I think a tremendous impact on one’s performance because as much as execution is a part of the game, so is emotion, okay, and if a team can reach an emotional level, okay, it can accomplish great things. So this football team, Stanford is not only skilled, in my opinion, but they will bring their highest level of emotion that maybe they have had in quite sometime.
Q. Getting back to Tevo a little bit, how is he similar and how is he different from some of the other taller receivers you face, say a Charles Rogers
COACH WILLINGHAM: I don’t think he’s probably as fast as Charles Rogers, but I think they all share the ability to have great hands and great leaping ability and timing in playing the ball. What I think Tevo brings that the other guys don’t bring is a body that’s probably unmatched if he is all of 6’6″ or 6’9″ as I might lend him to be described, when you put a 245 pound body on a guy that’s 200, okay, you got a difference maker there and he knows how to do that with his basketball experience of how to just leverage his body and position to make plays. So he’s extremely difficult to defend and you can really get in, I think and they do a great job of just putting him in position for jump balls just to have an opportunity to do that because he does it so well.
Q. I think he may have caught like a fade or kind of a jump ball as you said in the end zone from a short distance situation. That has to be one of the hardest things to defend you know, if you are scheming against that. Is there a really legitimate defense for that?
COACH WILLINGHAM: I don’t think there is. He just has a tremendous advantage and you have got see if you can match up another great athlete and hope that somehow you can just rub their timing, do something, maybe get into quarterback’s face so he’s off a little bit so you don’t give him that natural advantage that he has.
Q. Rashon Powers Neal powers, I am curious if you could go back to springtime or when you arrived even the decision to move him from defense to running back, you know, what factors led you to that decision?
COACH WILLINGHAM: For moving?
Q. Rashon Powers Neal powers Neil he worked at safety quite a bit last year and making him a running back full time…
COACH WILLINGHAM: See, I wasn’t really aware of his defensive capabilities. All my conversations with him had been around being a running back. So that’s how we viewed him and it was just a matter of getting him an opportunity, and he has really progressed well. I think you can see that almost week to week and that really is true of Ryan (ph) also that they seem to get better and better each week, the more carries they get, the more opportunities they get, the more snaps they get, they are really getting better.
Q. With Rashon Powers Neal’s health status in the spring he was a little bit banged up. Did you really know what you were getting once preseason opened this year?
COACH WILLINGHAM: No, we didn’t. Really the preseason was our first opportunity to really look at Rashon Powers Neal, and to see what he can do. But we were pleased and he’s continued to get better and better each week.
Q. What are some of the improvements you think the backs may have made? How much of that is communication, familiarity? I guess talk a little bit about those improvements.
COACH WILLINGHAM: Well, in order for us to be a good passing team our running backs have to be involved in our passing game; whether it’s rout running; whether it’s protection,t they have got to be involved and they have to see things as the offensive line sees things and that’s critical. If they understand fronts, then they can better understand their protection responsibilities. If they are aware of the call that their offensive line makes, which you would think that sometimes they don’t have to pay attention to, but, no, they have to be involved in that communication also, and then they have to talk in some cases to let people know exactly where they are going to be at so we can get the right protection.
Q. Is that something that you see maybe younger backs commonly underestimate how important those blocking schemes can be sometimes?
COACH WILLINGHAM: Well I think it’s like any other skill. When your first learning a skill, you have to focus on what you do, okay and most of the time that means just the physical act you are focusing on. You can’t hear, you can’t think past the physical act, you know, you see it, I think if I had to make a description of something, an analogy, you might see it in golf when someone is learning to play the game, they are so tied up in terms of the physical process that they can’t think about the strategy of the game. But you have to evolve to that level where you have confidence in the physical skills and then you can incorporate yourself into all of the finer points of the game and I think when you are a younger back you are going through that learning process of just being able to handle the physical responsibilities and then as you get older, more mature in the system, then you start to understand all the finer points.
Q. Stanford has played two quarterbacks a lot of different times this year. Talk about their similarities and differences, how that affects your preparation for the game?
COACH WILLINGHAM: Not a great deal because both of them will work very comfortably out of that system. Chris Lewis is a little bigger. Probably a little stronger, a little bit more athletic, probably had the potential in college to be both a football quarterback and a volleyball player on Stanford’s campus and that says lot because there volleyball team usually is ranked probably in the top 2, 3, or 5 in the country somewhere in that area. Kyle is a very tough, smaller guy, not a bad athlete, but very precise in his ability to read coverages and so they’re similar from the mental standpoints but the physical characteristics are just a little different.
Q. What strengths are you seen on film of Stanford this year and how difficult is it to make your players see it especially coming off the kind of loss that they had last week?
COACH WILLINGHAM: I don’t think it’s difficult to get our players to see that at all. I think our players have been around long enough to realize that one game doesn’t tell what you kind of team that your opponent will be and if we’re looking at Stanford we know for a fact that Stanford has scored a lot of points this year and they have done it in the past. They have an explosive offense, explosive players. Right now I think it is they are running the football extremely well. Maybe one of the top 3, 4, 5 teams in their conference that are running the football and definitely one of the top 2, 3, 4 teams in their conference at total offense. So this is an explosive group and defensively I think they maybe even leading the conference in rush defense or pretty close to it. So this is a good football team. I don’t think we will have problems getting our young men to see regardless of last weekend’s results what kind of a football team they are facing.
Q. Change can bring about a lot of emotions that we saw here with your team. When have you seen the excitement change to belief? It seems now the past couple of games that your team believes in themselves. It’s not so much that we have a new coach and we’re playing for you. They actually believe that being undefeated that they can go the rest of season that way, when did you actually see that light in their eyes?
COACH WILLINGHAM: Oh, gosh, you have really frightened me now. And I say that because you said the rest of the season. If we’re not smart enough to realize that we better take this thing one week at a time then we’ll get beat and we won’t be the kind of team that I think we are. So our focus and my focus obviously and I have made a mistake here because I have not communicated it well enough and they haven’t communicated to you that it’s one game at a time. So I have got some work to do I can see that. But we have to be focused on just playing one game at a time and understand that it does not matter who you play. The goal is to play well and to play the best that day and if we do that, then all those things we talked about come true. Then that belief is there because you understand the nature of the game. You understand competition and you understand the goals of this football team. To do anything other than that, then we would not be believing in any form.
Q. Last week (inaudible) they gave up basically 13 points in turnovers and especially knowing your defense and how they salivate over that, is that one thing that you are stressing that these quarterbacks, that if you try to force them, try to intercept them, that there are a lot of points that can be had off that; especially knowing the tenacity of your D and how they like to score on offense?
COACH WILLINGHAM: We would hope that we win the turnover battle and that means hopefully that they have a lot of turnovers. Hopefully forced and unforced but we’ll take them because if we can score on defense and score on turnovers then we have got a better chance to win the football game. So I guess in answering that question, we’re hopeful that our defense will be very opportunistic in terms of its play and put them in positions that they can compromise ball security.
Q. Even though you have know authority over the schedule, it does work at least in your favor a little bit that if you are going to have a biweek then to come back and have a game, it could get up a team up with emotion at least playing against Stanford. It seems that your team knows the emotions and knew the emotions against Michigan State, they know the emotions going into Stanford. Does that at least help you to play into getting your players fired up?
COACH WILLINGHAM: Well, I hope it does but more importantly I hope our football team recognizes who they are. And with that said, you simply say that because we’re Notre Dame we recognize that every week we’ll face the most severe challenge, the best challenge that anyone can bring forward so we have to be prepared for that.
Q. You were talking earlier about Carlyle Holiday. I am wondering is there a certain point by this week where he’s going to have to be able to practice to play or to play in the game Saturday or is that up in the air or what is your philosophy on those things?
COACH WILLINGHAM: No. 1, I think in answering that I never try to put myself in a corner where it’s an absolute that if he doesn’t practice on Tuesday he won’t play in the ballgame. What we’ll try to do is always make the best decision for our football team and for the individual but at the same time I recognize that if a young man doesn’t get repetitions then his confidence and his self and what he can do the weekend is usually lessened therefore he doesn’t play well and usually that doesn’t help our football team.
Q. Obviously been mentioned a few times already about Stanford giving up 60 plus points last Saturday but I would imagine that you showed the team more of them scoring 60 plus points two weeks ago.
COACH WILLINGHAM: We have not focused on really either one of those in terms a coaching staff trying to create a mentality. We simply know that this is a very good football team and we have that luxury simply because so many of our coaches were with these young men; we have seen the success and what they can do. So therefore, we’ll tell our football team simply that this is an explosive football team that can be explosive on defense as well as offense.
Q. If you had your druthers would you want Stanford on your schedule this year, next year, and secondly, how has your relationship with Kevin White developed since your hiring?
COACH WILLINGHAM: I think our relationship is very strong. We communicate often so that he is aware of the things that are critical to our program as well as just the everyday pace of our program. As terms of having druthers about who is on the schedule, I don’t. I just play who is there.
Q. Wondering what your emotions would be like in say the hour before the game when you are out on the field and you are seeing Stanford stretching and maybe some guys come by to say high or you talk to some of the people in the program, will it be pride, will it be just happy to see them; how do you think you will be feeling?
COACH WILLINGHAM: I will probably have more emotions leading up to the ballgame, more so than once we get to the game site and get to game time. At that point I will probably be pretty well focused on what we have to do to win the football game.
Q. Do you think it’s going to be pride this week because you know, a lot of these guys have talked about you as a father figure in their lives and somebody that’s made an impact on their development, how does that translate to your emotions this week?
COACH WILLINGHAM: Oh gosh, I will probably have the full range of emotions about those guys because those are guys that I have gone to their houses and sat down with their parents, had dinner with them, recruited them, done all the things that you do to involve them in your program, set up schedules for them to be successful, after their football days are done, so no, I will have the full range of emotions as we lead up to the ballgame. But again, once we get to the ballgame what I know from those guys, having been with them, that they will be fierce competitors when game time arises and they will do all the things that competitors do to put themself in a position to be successful. So before we will have emotions, after we will have emotions and there will probably be a lot of hugs and conversation, but game time I think they will be fierce competitors and I know that will be the mindset that I will be in.
Q. I am curious about your perspective on Stanford’s defense. You had a defense the Rose Bowl year they gave up quite a lot of points but you succeeded in spite of that. Do you see any similarities between this young defense and any of the defenses that you coached at Stanford from that perspective?
COACH WILLINGHAM: Well, I think first of all, they are a very talented defense even though young but they have got some players that I think are going to be outstanding players, hopefully not this Saturday, but they are going to be outstanding players.
Q. If you could talk a little bit about Shane Walton what qualities has he brought to the secondary and special teams and coming in not really knowing what to expect personnel wise has he been one of the most pleasant surprised for you?
COACH WILLINGHAM: I don’t think I can say he’s a pleasant surprise. He’s one of those guys that has been good from Day 1 everything about him, his work ethic, his athletic skill, his leadership have all been very strong from Day 1. It was very easy to recognize, one, that he was a leader and, two, that he was extremely competitive and has the ability to ignite the other players around him to reach the same kind of competitive level.
Q. The records would indicate that the accent from your standpoint would be more on defense this week. That may not be an accurate assumption or not. What about their defense that gives up a lot of points, in the meantime you have talked about they have got young players, is it turnovers that has been more a problem then their defense or how do you see that?
COACH WILLINGHAM: Well, I think No. 1, they are doing obviously some very good things. If they are leading the Pac 10 in their rushing defense that’s the place that we would first tell you that we would like to start with our defense. If we can do a great job on them making the rush then we would force the team to be one dimensional; then we believe that in most cases probably if you asked a team that throws 10 passes four of them would be incomplete on a great day and if you could make those the right four then you are three and out and you got your drive stopped. They are doing some very good things on defense, but I think they would be the first to tell you that yes, they are young at some positions and growing but we won’t see that youth on Saturday. They will be the most emotional and mature football team than they have been this year.
Q. Wondering what is different about life in the South Bend area as opposed to where you lived here in the Bay Area?
COACH WILLINGHAM: Weather. (Laughs).
Q. How is the weather there now?
COACH WILLINGHAM: It is nice today. We have had its pretty warm as a matter of fact. I think it was around 72 when I came to work today.
Q. What do you miss the most about your former home in the Stanford area?
COACH WILLINGHAM: Had a nice hot tub at home.
Q. Don’t have one at those now?
COACH WILLINGHAM: Just getting it working. There are they are two different areas, and obviously South Bend is not the Bay Area, but there are a lot of great things here and I am enjoying my time here.
Q. How much have you been able to follow Stanford? Do you have and impulse to check out their scores, to keep abreast of what is going on there?
COACH WILLINGHAM: Not in detail, only to the fact that preparation knowing that we’ll play them, the details, but for the most part, I keep an eye on what they are doing, how they are doing, just like I do many teams around the country.