Sept. 29, 2004
Junior outside linebacker Jon Alston is featured in the sixth installment of a weekly column of player reports that lets Cardinal Commitment readers in on the thoughts of Stanford football players. The Cardinal hosts Washington at Stanford Stadium this Saturday, October 2 (2:00 pm, PDT).
CC: What is the attitude of the team following the tough loss against USC last Saturday?
JA: We feel like we gave it a good shot against USC, but we're disappointed that we didn't come out with a win. We believe that we had an opportunity to take control of that game and win it. But, the lesson is learned, and it's time to look forward to playing Washington this week.
CC: How is the team preparing for the game against Washington?
JA: We want to keep the intensity level up, because the bar has been raised. A letdown this week would say negative things about this program, and we're moving in a different direction. We've done some film study and had a minor walk through. We don't have anything spectacular planned, but we expect to go out and play hard like we always do.
CC: Heading into the last game of a four-game homestand to begin the season, how important has it been to start the season with four games at home?
JA: It's been great. I've seen an increase in the fans and in the support for the team that we have gotten. I feel like it's helped us along. I can say on a personal note that last Saturday (against USC) was one of the greatest moments I've had playing football here at Stanford. I know it was a loss, but the atmosphere was literally amazing.
CC: The group of linebackers on this team is one of the most experienced units on the defense. Can you speak about the role of the linebacking corps in the defense?
JA: We try to set the tone for our defensive unit. That has been our calling card. We've been out there together for a while, and we do not accept any letdowns from our unit.
CC: Can you speak about associate head coach/linebackers coach Tom Williams and his influence on your play?
JA: He has been the most influential member of the staff for me as long as I've been here. I have a good relationship with Tom Williams, and we have a lot of similarities. He's an excellent coach and an even better guy. I look to him for a lot of things including support, and I have a great respect for coach Williams.
CC: You've been an effective pass-rusher in your career on The Farm. Is that an aspect of your game that you provide yourself on?
JA: Yes, it is something that I pride myself on. It is a part of my game, and up to this point of the season I've been off a little as far as my pass rushing goes. I'm expecting to bring it on more and more once I get the opportunity to go. I want to take advantage of some of the speed and some of the gifts that I have.
CC: Now that the team is one game into the Pac-10 schedule, are there any type of goals (team or individual) that you have set?
JA: I don't really set many individual goals. I play my best and work my hardest and individual things will happen. With that, team things will start to happen as well. A team is a collection of individuals and individuals come together to do good things or bad things. We hope as a team that we can go out here and win the rest of our Pac-10 games.
CC: Are there any up-and-coming young linebackers on the squad that we should keep an eye out for?
JA: Certainly. Mike Silva came out against USC and did a heck of a job filling in for David Bergeron. Another guy that's really exciting is Michael Okwo. He's a hitter, and he makes plays. The speed of Landon Johnson is great and all he needs is some experience. He's going to be a very good football player.