April 12, 2004
Head Coach Report with Buddy Teevens April 12, 2004
Cardinal head coach Buddy Teevens discusses his team's progress midway through spring practice. Stanford concludes its 15-practice session on April 24 with the annual Cardinal-White game in Stanford Stadium.
Q: What are your first impressions of spring?
A: So far during the spring, we've stressed fundamentals, basics, and details of each player's responsibilities. The coaches have challenged their players and everyone has responded. I believe in accountability and having everyone on our team accountable for his performance, commitment and training in the off-season. It's been exceptional to date. They have been very unselfish. There is a commitment to each other, and the ability to hold each other to a higher standard is being reflected now in spring practice.
Q: You have stated in the past that leadership is a very critical component of your team. How do you view the leadership on your team?
A: Leadership has been a focus throughout my time here at Stanford, and we're really seeing people step up - older as well as younger players. Some of them include Jared Newberry, David Bergeron, Oshiomogho Atogwe, Leigh Torrence, Will Svitek, Casey Carroll, Babatunde Oshinowo, Alex Smith, Greg Camarillo, Kenneth Tolon, J.R. Lemon, Trent Edwards and Jeff Edwards. That's been a big plus for us.
Q: What type of things did you do as a team to prepare for the spring?
A: We had competitions to raise the competitive level of our team through intra-squad soccer, volleyball, basketball, strength contests, and obstacle courses. We completed the competition by climbing Windy Hill. That's a pretty good trek... five-mile roundtrip, 7% incline, 1,300-foot increase. We had a lot of fun. It was early in the morning, the weather was great and the view was spectacular.
Q: Can you talk about your staff changes?
A: We did hire three new staff members in the off-season in Ken Margerum (wide receivers), Jay Boulware (running backs) and George McDonald (tight ends). We wanted to bring in greater energy, which we feel we did, and expand our passing game. We're trying to involve more players in the pass game and so far this spring we've been very productive.
George McDonald was a very successful receiver in the Big Ten and has brought more receiver awareness to the tight end position. We do want the tight end to be an integral part of the passing game. I think the transition for him has been very smooth coming from Northern Illinois where they did mix the run and the pass. He's brought a number of ideas, and that's also been very productive. Kenny Margerum is a very enthusiastic, positive, up-beat individual. He's a very gifted teacher and has been very well received by the players. His background as a player, his knowledge of Stanford, his involvement in a West Coast offense has been very helpful, as we've expanded in that area. I was excited about Jay Boulware because of his background as an offensive lineman. He's played and coached the offensive line and he has been able to bring insight to our running backs.
Q: And you moved Bill Cubit to offensive coordinator.....
A: Bill Cubit has a great deal of experience as an offensive coordinator. He has a great grasp of our offense. We need to take advantage of the personnel we have. Bill has done a tremendous job in organizing our offense. I think there is great camaraderie and cohesiveness among the offensive staff. I will be more involved in the offense, but Bill will call the plays.
Q: You also moved Tom Quinn from offense to defense...
A: Tom Quinn had played and coached defense prior to coming to Stanford so his move to the defensive side of the ball has been very smooth. He's an outstanding football coach, very knowledgeable technically and the transition for him and our team has been seamless.
Q: How would you evaluate Trent Edwards' spring?
A: Trent has had a solid spring. He's 100% recovered from his injury. I sense a greater comfort level and a greater sense of confidence with him. He's making better decisions, turning the ball over less, understanding the offense and providing great leadership.
Q: Your thoughts on the receivers?
A: Greg Camarillo has been very steady. There has been a bit of transition for Mark Bradford and Evan Moore coming back off their basketball season, but what they brought was tremendous experience and competitiveness. They had to get the "rust off their pipes" if you will, but they are working through that. Marcus McCutcheon has moved over to receiver, and he has been a positive addition. Justin McCullum continues to show progress.
Q: You've said the tight end would play an integral role in the offense. How would you evaluate their play thus far?
A: We'd like to involve our tight ends heavily in the pass game. Alex Smith has been very strong in a number of areas thus far. Matt Traverso has had a solid spring... he's a tremendous blocker. Pat Danahy is a gifted receiver who's blocking continues to improve. Michael Horgan has really stepped forward, both physically and emotionally, and is a guy we feel can contribute this season.
Q: How do you view the progress of the offensive line?
A: Our pass protection continues to improve. The details are absolutely critical. We need to be a precision operation. Perfection is acceptable on the offensive line. They have improved in this area, and it has been reflected in our ability to throw the football.
Q: Give us an update on the running backs.
A: Kenneth Tolon and J.R. Lemon have been very steady and more physical this spring. They are running with greater patience, seeing holes and running with more explosiveness. David Marrero has been working in a combination role both inside as a running back and outside as a receiver. He has the ability to do both. Jason Evans has improved himself in the off-season. He's put on more weight, is stronger and playing with more confidence.
Q: Your comments on the defense.
A: Pressure on the passer is critical for us. The defensive line has been working on their first step and pad level, which has to stay low coming off the football. Babatunde Oshinowo, Casey Carroll and Nick Frank are guys who have the ability to be successful in this regard. We're making progress on the defensive front, but a huge key is push off the ball.
Jared Newberry, Jon Alston and David Bergeron have shown great leadership for us during the spring. Physically, Alston has been very strong thus far in the spring. We have the ability to run at the linebacker position. We want to mix in more zones this year, which will help the backs. The secondary has been solid. T.J. Rushing has had a strong spring to date. Oshiomogho Atogwe has been very solid with his leadership and execution.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish in the second half of spring practice?
A: We are very pleased with the attitude and work ethic of our team. Our practices have been productive, we scrimmage every day, and our players continue to work extremely hard both on and off the field. We're going to go full blast until the Spring Game on April 24.