January 1, 2016
Stanford - 45 Iowa - 16
THE MODERATOR: We have a nice family affair up here with Stanford University. Joining us right now is head coach David Shaw. Seated next to Coach Shaw is Kevin Hogan followed by Offensive Player of the Game, Christian McCaffrey. We'll have Aziz Shittu, who will be joining us shortly, Defensive Player of the Game.
We'll open the floor with an opening statement from Coach Shaw.
COACH SHAW: Hard to put into words what this team did today because it's a culmination of what we've been doing kind of all year. Just starting off so slow with a sub-par performance at Northwestern. And, once again, give Northwestern a lot of credit. They played better than we did that day. But the senior leadership coming like we needed them to, and we went back to work and worked so hard all year and got ourselves to the point where we're here, but not being satisfied. And that explosion that you felt in the beginning of the game was these guys coming and just wanting to play so well and playing so hard and playing together.
We didn't talk about it too much, but we played so well this year and enjoyed the process so much that we tried not to talk about this being the last game, but the guys wanted to go out with a bang, and they did.
Q. Coach Shaw, why do you think you won today?
COACH SHAW: I think you just stumped a head coach. We just played really well. You know, I think it's something we've been building all year kind of for this and trying to get better each week. We started off fast, and our defense, you give our defense a lead and we feel good about closing the game out.
Now, I'm still a football coach. I'm still not really happy about the second half. Thought we should have put some more points on the board, but we didn't do that.
Bottom line for me, though, is we kept fighting the whole game and then came out in that fourth quarter and put the game away.
Q. Christian, was this your best game? Just amazing?
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: I don't know. I don't know how to answer that. I think there's been so many games this year where our offense has really gelled. And I think in the start of this game you saw our offense make plays, on special teams we were making plays.
And it's so fun when a team can come together and gel as a unit to try to make plays. Like Coach said, the second half didn't go as we planned, but we've got a bunch of fighters on this team that will never give up. Just love playing with these guys.
Q. Coach Shaw, do you think that this game proved that Christian McCaffrey is the best player in America?
COACH SHAW: I think he was the best player in America before this game, so I think it's just the icing on the cake for us. I do think it's a shame that a lot of people didn't get a chance to see him during the course of the year. Apparently the games were too late. But the bottom line for me is his heart and his determination is evident in every single practice and every single game. Christian, I told him at the Heisman ceremony and I told him again not too long after that, we need him to lead, and he's leading by example and showing guys how to work and push themselves because that's what great players do.
Q. Christian, the way the Heisman vote turned out, did it give you any extra motivation going into this game?
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: No, I mean, you talk to so many great players and great players always play with a chip on their shoulder no matter if they have a reason to or not. I'm someone who believes in having motivation at all times, win or lose, individual awards. I play for my teammates. I play for God and my family.
At the end of the day, whether I win anything or don't, that's the reason why I play and that keeps me motivated.
Q. Coach Shaw, and I'd like to hear from both Kevin and Christian as well, how much would you like to play the winner of the Alabama-Clemson game in two weeks?
COACH SHAW: That's not a loaded question (laughing). You know what? I just keep referencing what I said at the beginning of the year. I just think four teams is too little, regardless of our situation. Because we've separated ourselves as a big five conference when you have a four-team playoff. But I'm also fine with the fact that it's going to stay this way for a while. It's not going to change next year or the year after that. We're going to go through many different years with this four-team playoff. And with enough evidence of how the season's end, I think eventually whether it turns into an eight-team playoff or six-team playoff with two teams with a bye. However it works. I think at some point we're going to change it.
But for us, today, was just about being Pac-12 Champions, and coming to the Rose Bowl and being Rose Bowl champions, and that's what our guys did today.
KEVIN HOGAN: I don't know what I'm supposed to say.
COACH SHAW: I know what you're supposed to say.
KEVIN HOGAN: It feels great to be Rose Bowl champs.
CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY: I second that. I go to battle with these guys against anybody in the world. But, once again, I second what Coach and what Kevin said. This is an unbelievable feeling for us, for our team, for our community. Couldn't be more thankful to be a part of a group that's Rose Bowl champs.
Q. Kevin, when you threw that touchdown pass to Christian, you had a very unique vantage point on that move that Christian made to beat that safety. What did you see back there? Once you get to the sideline, how did that get you guys going in a positive way early on?
KEVIN HOGAN: I've had the best vantage point all season watching this guy. You get used to seeing that stuff. I shouldn't take it for granted, but I saw him make a great cut across the defender's face and just try to put a ball on him. Of course, he makes people fall and outraces them to the end zone, and that's the start we needed. We play a lot of young guys on this team, and to come out with a quick touchdown, quick strike really helped us out, helped us feel confident and settle into the game. I think it helped the whole team kind of get into a rhythm.
Q. Coach Shaw and Kevin, who drew up the fumble play -- the fake fumble play that led to that big touchdown pass for you guys?
COACH SHAW: I tell you what, that's been in the works probably for about six years. First saw Boise State do it with Chris Petersen there and always liked it, always looking for the right situation to do it. We've worked on it on and off at different times. But then for this game, it was kind of a group effort. Try not to give any one person credit, but it's one of those things when you talk about it everybody says, no, we can't do that, then we look at it again and say, gosh, that could be really good. It could be really good.
For me, underlying this whole entire game plan was utilization of our speed. Getting Christian out in space, using Michael Rector and Devon Cajuste down the field, Austin Hooper on option routes inside, and give Bryce a chance to touch the ball different ways and sprinkling in Barry Sanders. We knew we were going to have a chance to get guys in space. But that was one way we thought we could really get the safeties to suck up and isolate Michael Rector down the field, and it worked to perfection.
Q. Aziz, what was critical in Stanford controlling the line of scrimmage today? I'd like to also ask that for Kevin. Or Coach Shaw. And one question for Kevin and Christian. The 75-yard touchdown play, do you think that put Iowa back on its heels?
COACH SHAW: So the touchdown pass?
Q. No. That would be --
COACH SHAW: Line of scrimmage? I feel like I'm trying to unravel a Rubik's Cube here. It's a key for every football game. When you walk in the locker room, that's the reason we put our locker room the way it is. When our players walk in the locker room, to the left is the offensive line, to the right is the defensive line. Our guys are reminded every day that the game starts in the trenches. That's where it starts in establishing the physical nature. Aziz has heard it for years and Coach Hart's been driving him nuts for years about reestablishing the line of scrimmage and taking advantage of that and knocking guys back.
And you saw the guys up front do it today, and Aziz was phenomenal today. When you can establish the line of scrimmage on the offensive side and establish line of scrimmage on the defensive side, you've got the edge.
As for the touchdown pass, absolutely. I mean, we feel very, very strongly about what we do on defense. Coach Anderson, Lance Anderson does a phenomenal job on the defensive side. If we can get ourselves the lead, we're a tough team to beat. The way we play defense, the way we can run the football and stay on the attack. So, absolutely early on we wanted to get the lead and hopefully try to extend it.
AZIZ SHITTU: I think Coach pretty much hit on everything that we focus on as a defense. We made it a point of emphasis all week, starting back from bowl practice to stop the run. We knew Iowa was going to come out and try to establish their run game and get that going, and we made it a point of emphasis. The team that's going to win this game is the team that controls the line of scrimmage. Guys like Solomon, Brennan Scarlett, all those guys, Nate Lohn did a great job coming in. As a unit, we played very well. So proud of those guys.
Q. Aziz, following up on that, how does it feel to be the Defensive Player of the Game? How much did you get a chance to play in the two previous Rose Bowls?
AZIZ SHITTU: It feels awesome, just to see all your hard work come and you be able to walk away with some hardware is never a bad thing. But it's really the whole defense played a great job today. Wouldn't have been able to do it myself. Wouldn't have been able to make the plays I made today by myself. As a unit, we work so well together. Just on the previous Rose Bowls, I played a little bit in the Michigan State game, but not that much. Freshman year I didn't play at all. But it's just been cool watching those guys that have done the job before me and be able to replicate that and play my hardest.
Q. On the first play of the game with the wheel route to Christian, to turn the game around against USC a month ago you used that play and you were able to use it to get things back on track. How much did that put in your mind that that play would work in this game?
COACH SHAW: Well, I think it's pretty straightforward what Christian's been able to do in two short years. The bottom line is we try to get him matched up in space on everybody, whether it's linebacker, safety, whoever it is. That's what that play was all about. They pushed the coverage to the field and had Christian at one-on-one back side and gave him the ball and watched him do what he does.
Q. What kind of message do you think this game sends on a national level?
COACH SHAW: The big thing, my guys get tired of me sometimes because I'm very, very repetitive. I did a rhyme today: Repeating the truth is still a good thing. But we talk a lot about not sending messages. We just talk about playing football. People can write what they want and say what they want. We know in our hearts how good we are. We put that on the field today. The rankings will be whatever they are, but to me, watching this game, you saw how explosive this team is. You saw how athletic this team is. You saw how physical this team is. And more importantly, you saw how together this team is and how hard these guys play for each other. When one guy makes a play, another guy's jumping on his head because he's so happy for him.
That's the way this team has played all year, and it's been really fun to be a part of. What people say about this team and ranking of this team, that's all fine and good. That's not for us. That's for other people. All I know is today we're Rose Bowl champs.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports