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December 24, 2013

Pritchard talks promotion



Just four seasons after playing his final college game against Oklahoma in the 2009 Sun Bowl, former Stanford signal caller Tavita Prichard will return to Stanford's quarterbacks room in a different capacity.

Pritchard, who coached Stanford's running backs this season, will replace Mike Sanford (who will take over as offensive coordinator at Boise State) as the Cardinal's quarterbacks/receivers coach after the Rose Bowl. He recently spoke to a couple local media members about his new duties.

What are your thoughts on making this move?

Tavita Pritchard: Very excited. Obviously it's a position I played, in addition to the wide receivers. (We're) extremely talented at both positions with a lot of depth so really, really excited to get to work here in the spring and in January. But obviously we have a job to do first. So really that's the first order of business. But looking ahead, very fortunate with where I've been and where we're moving to, obviously with the group coming back and then obviously with the staff that will still be in place. Bittersweet for Coach Sanford to (leave) but excited for him and his opportunity.

Can you take yourself from where you are now back to the famous USC victory and imagine being in this situation now? That was a little bit of the genesis of all that's happened here, right?

TP: Yeah, and I know that the guys in my class and on the team at that time take a lot of pride in where this program is now. It's maybe a little audacious to take credit for some of it but we just like to think if something (we were) a small part of it. Look back at those things with fond memories.

David (Shaw) said that when you were a senior both Harbaugh and he regarded you as basically an assistant QB coach already? Did they talk to you about that? Talk about what that was like.

TP: The funny things is, it must have been my fifth year senior year, Coach Shaw actually said to me kind of jokingly but it was a little bit of a premonition, (that) I'm going to give you your first coaching job. It was before I even ever knew I wanted to coach. He said that to me with a little bit of foresight, I think, because he kind of knew which direction I was headed even if I didn't myself.

At what point did you figure that out, that this is what you wanted to do?

TP: I did mini camps with the 49ers after my fifth year, after I played basketball, moved back to football. And then I didn't know what I wanted to do. I called Coach Harbaugh originally and just said I'm thinking about coaching. He had me come volunteer in 2010 and that's kind of what started this all and I really, really enjoyed it. And here we are.

A lot of guys will know they want to be coaches when they're pretty young still. It didn't hit you until it sort of fell in your lap?

TP: My dad was a longtime high school coach. Part of it was I felt like I owed it to myself to at least try it. And that's I think what that first year was about, that first volunteer year. Really learning the ropes. And I've had the great fortune of being around great coaches. You talk about quarterback coaches for sure, but just a bunch of really, really good teachers, good motivators. I got the opportunity to work with Coach Jason Tarver and Coach Mason for two years. The time with them was invaluable. And then obviously I learned under Coach Sanford, Coach Shaw, Coach Harbaugh, all those guys. When you're talking about quarterback tutelage both from a player's side and from a coach's side, I got to see that, see them teach and do that alongside them. Like I said, the time spent with those guys, coaches of that caliber, is invaluable. I can't thank them enough for that.

How much did the two years that you spent working with the defensive backs (in 2011 and 2012) do you feel like prepare you for this task that you'll have now?

TP: I think more than anything being a quarterback you try to learn as much as you can from a game. And (that's the case with) really any position. But just the opportunity to work on defense for two years and then coach running backs for a year, it just gives you great perspective on the game of football. When you're talking game planning, when you're talking about looking at defense and then going further than that and talking about on offense learning the running back position and offensive line play, it allows you to delve into a lot of different facets of football and offense and strategy. It allowed me to be able to expand my football scope rather than just being a quarterback.

Was your first taste of this when you were still a player actually working with Andrew (Luck) when he took over the job?

TP: Yeah, yeah it was. Because he beat me out when I was a senior so I was a little bit relegated to being on the sideline and seeing what that life was like a little bit with wearing the headset and holding the clipboard.


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