Aug. 9, 2000
Quotes from Tyrone Willingham at the 2000 Bay Area Football Media Day at Planet Hollywood in San Francisco:
"I'm eager to start the season. We are fortunate that, for the most part, we've already begun our season with a full team. With our freshmen, we are very pleased with what they've done.
But the truly exciting portion for me of college football and working for the team is when you do have the full team here. This week on Thursday, our veteran players will arrive and we will then begin the process of really trying to put our full team in place.
I'm fortunate today that, on the heels of our Rose Bowl appearance, we lost quite a few seniors and quite a few guys who were noteworthy in allowing us to make that Rose Bowl appearance. But today, I brought with me four young men that are truly the heart and soul of that Rose Bowl appearance, but also the heart and soul of our football season this year.
They are tremendous young men individually and tremendous collectively. They bring so much to our football program both inside and outside that it's really a joy to work with them and also they come from a model of what I think a collegiate athlete should be.
We have two on offense and two on defense. I'll start with Riall Johnson, our outside linebacker, DeRonnie Pitts our wide receiver, Russell Stewart, our tight end, and a young man that has already been named twice captain and will graduate at the end of the season, Willie Howard, our defensive tackle.
We are eager to begin the 2000 season. Once you've had the special opportunity we had of reaching the Rose Bowl, it just creates a great deal of excitement within the program and really outside the program to see if we can reach a level of consistency in the program. That will really be our goal.
Losing the players that we lost, there is the awareness that they made a tremendous impact on our team. But at the same time, it's left some large shoes that I think our other young men in our program are eager to see if they can fill up the gaps left by Troy Walters, Todd Husak, Jeff Cronshagen, Mike McLaughlin, Marc Stockbauer, Sharcus Steen and guys of that nature.
We are really eager to get started and see if we can continue the good things that happened to us in the 1999 season. Of course, if you have any questions, and it's usually the same question when you talk about the Stanford program, it's what is the quaterback situation?
And of course, for those of you that follow the program closely, you know we lost Joe Borchard just a week ago to Major League Baseball. It is a difficult proposition to accept because we had penciled Joe in as our starting quarterback. But at the same time, we are excited about the opportunity Joe Borchard has created for himself.
This provides an opportunity for a young man, Randy Fasani, who has been a real team player. This provides an opportunity for him to become our No. 1 starting quarterback. He will be backed up by Chris Lewis, and then he'll be followed by freshmen that will fill that responsibility, Ryan Eklund and Teyo Johnson.
Other than that, I think we have some outstanding players to speak of, if we can prove them and develop them into their positions, we will have a chance to have a solid team."