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Can you talk about what you hope and expect out of Randy (Fasani) in the first game?
That is always a difficult one in your first ball game as a team. To know what to expect and what to anticipate is also equally difficult with a quarterback in his first start. Based on what we've seen thus far, I think Randy will do very well. At some point, I think he will get rid of those first nervous moments and really hopefully settle in and play an outstanding football game for us. As you look at Randy Fasani, what you see is a young man that has excellent ability as a total athlete to run, throw and do the things that we need to have him do as a quarterback.
You've said a couple of times in comments about him (Randy Fasani), that he's a winner. What do you see that makes you arrive at that?
If you look at his career here at Stanford, the one thing he's done is been for the team. He has performed in any and every role that the team has asked him to perform in and in most cases, he has done an excellent job here. For a young man to put team first, I think really specifies or speaks to the fact that he believes winning is first and foremost.
How is the secondary going to be improved this year over last year? What makes it better?
I am hoping that maturity will make it better. I hope having Tank Williams at safety for another year will add to his strength in terms of knowing what to do and anticipating what will come at him. I hope that having Ryan Fernandez at corner will have a very similar impact, along with Ruben Carter in a corner, who has played a few years for us now. I think with that, when you add experience, you have the ability to play better, anticipate, play more confidently and more relaxed. Hopefully, our young men in the secondary will do that. I think there is also an added measure of confidence in this game when you have a coach that has been with you for a second season now in Denny Schuler with his experience. Hopefully, all those things will come together and allow us to be much better in the secondary. But, I've always said this, the best defense is to have a good offense and have an offense that can control the ball and keep your defense off the field. I think your secondary, your defensive line and your linebackers get to be great players when they sit and watch a lot.
Can you talk about the offensive line and whether you have made some moves from where you may have been at the beginning of fall camp? Where are you now with the final five and the mix you may have wanted?
Today we released our depth chart and hopefully most of you have had a chance to look at that. There are some adjustments in our offensive line. We have Zach Quaccia who will start as our center and Paul Weinacht will move to our left guard. We think that with those adjustments, we hopefully have our best young men on the field. That is always the goal of every coach, to find a way to put your best five in your offensive line. That group includes Kirk Chambers and hopefully they will give us the kind of protection that we need to throw the ball and also the ability to hopefully run the football.
Can you talk about opening the season on the road against a Pac-10 team?
To open against a Pac-10 team is always a tough task. It is always extremely demanding of your team and your squad but at the same time, it allows them to get focused a lot sooner sometimes than in other years when you are opening with a non-conference team. Of course, that always depends on the non-conference team. In this case, I think Pullman has always been a very difficult place to get to, not just play at. I think the gymnastics that we will have to do to get there make, or shall I say add to, the difficulty of playing a team that plays very well at home. It will be a very difficult task for us, but I think it will provide the kind of challenge we need to start the season.
With the new kind of turf up there (in Pullman), are the shoes to wear a question?
Those are all part of going on the road and playing. I think the turf is field turf, and I think it is fairly well tested around the country. People have a lot of respect for it. The information that we have is that you can basically wear any type of shoe you want to, that it is excellent turf. We will find that out probably at some point Friday night as we have a little walk-through on their field.
Craig Albrecht missed a few days. The anticipation was that we would play both of those young men. They both had good camps but right now with Craig having been out of the lineup a few days because of bumps and bruises, it has probably allowed Trey to be a little ahead at this time.
On that subject, is there anybody other than Sam Benner (injured defensive end) that you would not expect to play?
Right now, no.
How about Benner? Is Benner going to play (this Saturday versus Washington State)?
Right now, we anticipate that he would not play (this Saturday versus Washington State).
I apologize if you already answered this, but can you comment on Randy Fasani's first start?
Anytime a young man has his first start, it is a very memorable day for him and one that he would like to play probably as well as he has ever played in his career. But, I think the thing that we will try to emphasize with Randy is just do what you can do. Do not really step outside of yourself because we know you have excellent abilities and if you play within the framework of what you can do, we'll have a fine day.
Can you talk a little bit about the Pac-10? If you said this years ago, nobody would believe it, but in the last eight years, seven different Pac-10 teams have played in the Rose Bowl. The Bruins have been there twice. Are we well into a new era of balance and surprises in football in this league?
I seem to think so. I may be the minority on this issue, but I think what is happening in our conference is that, with the 25 scholarships (taken away from each Division I school) and the communications age that we live in where you can see almost any football game that takes place in the country, I think it has really changed the decision making process with young men. With that, you see guys choosing a variety of schools. At one time, at least when I grew up anyway back in the dark ages, you only saw two football games (on television) on a weekend. Now that's changed. Those were the teams that received all the exposure. Of course, if that was the Big-10, it was Michigan and Ohio State. If you had a choice or if they were lucky enough to invite you there, you went there. At that time, they also had unlimited scholarships so they had guys on swimming scholarships and every place else they could put a football player. So it is a far different age today than it was then. I think the opportunities exist for guys to make other decisions, therefore, it is kind of spreading out the talent to some degree.
Is this as deep and talented tight end core that you have had at Stanford for a long time? Are you going to make some extra effort to get the tight ends the ball or are you just going to go within the flow of the offense as far as getting the ball to the tight end?
One of the goals this year, when you don't have a player the nature of Troy Walters that has appeared in our program yet, that you want to have a lot of diversity in your offense. You want to mix it up and make it very difficult for people to defend. So that would incorporate our tight ends in our play, as well as our backs.
Will (Chris) Lewis play like Joe (Borchard) did last year?
Our plan is to have Chris Lewis involved in the offense.
Sort of similar to the way Joe (Borchard) was used?
I won't say similar because those situations are different but the plan is to have him (Lewis) involved and play some.
How about the running backs with (Brian) Allen and (Kerry) Carter? Do you expect it to be a shared sort of a thing as you have done at times in the past or right now is Brian much more ready?
First thing, when you mention our running backs, you probably also need to add in there Casey Moore. With that group of three, we have a very solid group to start with. We might even at some point use Casey in some of the halfback responsibilities. We've in the past shared that position among the two guys over the years. If you go back to (Anthony) Bookman and (Greg) Comella and guys that we've had, that has been a good arrangement for us to kind of spread that (position) around and keep them very much involved in it. At the same time, offer defenses a little change of pace. You have Carter that has excellent feet and excellent size that is difficult to deal with from a size standpoint. Then you have Brian Allen that is kind of a powerful combination of quickness. I think those two offer different looks to a defense and at the same time offer us a lot of flexibility in what we can do with them and how we can use them.
Can you make any comparisons to Randy's (Fasani) first start to Mark Butterfield's first start when he was here and the way you may have handled him?
That would be very difficult because if you look at the situations, it would be two totally different (offensive) coordinators that worked with them, two different skill levels. Mark Butterfield was more a drop-back guy, limited movement. Where as, Randy has the ability to be a tremendous movement guy. It would be very difficult to compare those two starts.
When you need to go to four cornerbacks, whom would you use besides (Ruben) Carter and (Ryan) Fernandez?
How do you feel about opening in conference?
There are always pluses. The number one plus is that if you win it, you're sitting on top of the conference and that's a very enviable position to be in. But, if you don't have success, then you are looking at having to climb uphill. Those are the two alternatives that are there every week, but when you open it seems slightly more magnified as an opener. I like where we are starting.
What is your notion of starting with a team from the league? Would you rather that not be the case?
No, I like where we are going right now. It was part of my decision and our decision to have that game played at this time.
That gets you a bye in the middle of the season. Do you like that?
I think you need at some point to have a chance to rest just a little bit. My philosophy has always been that if you have a rest, take advantage of it, if you don't have a rest that's the best thing that can happen.
What was your comment on USC winning (last Sunday over Penn State)?
I thought the USC win was impressive. I really did. To go at what some said was a neutral site, which we know that that's not the case, and play as well as they played to win the football game was a tremendous start for them. It was also a nice fact for the conference. That we can go in and do that with so much talk centered around the fact that we don't or haven't done well out of conference lately. I thought it was an impressive win for them.
Does it (USC's win over Penn State) mean anything for the conference either in fact or in perception?
It helps with those on the outside with their perception of the conference.
You've got (freshman offensive tackle) Kwame Harris listed at #2 on the depth chart. Is that about where you projected him or has he done more than you thought he would have right now?
I think this is a good spot for him. If he had done more, we would be happy. If he had done less, we would be happy.