Aug. 26, 2008
What can fans expect from the Stanford defense this season?
Hopefully, we'll be consistent. That was one of the big things that we lacked last year. We made a lot of big plays last year and came out and stopped some teams in certain situations but gave up big plays in other situations. This year, we have to stout all of the time and run to the ball every play. We have to fly to the ball and add consistency.
Describe the effect new defensive coordinator Ron Lynn has had on the defense?
He anchors everything. He has such a wealth of knowledge that he has brought to the defense. He exudes confidence in the players. He knows how this game should be played and is a very black and white guy. He knows what should be done and if you're not doing it right, he'll let you know. If you are doing it right, he'll let you know you can do it better.
Your thoughts on being recognized as one of the top linebackers in the nation heading into the season?
It's a great honor to be associated with some of the top defensive players in the country. I don't focus on it. In football, especially on defense, you need all 11 guys to be successful. I'm concentrating on what I have to do to help this defense be one of the top defenses in the country.
On taking up football later in life.
Honestly, growing up I didn't watch too much football. I was into baseball and soccer and didn't even play football until my freshman year in high school. My mom likes to say she kept me away from football for as long as possible growing up. I really didn't have an interest in it. I was encouraged to try out as a freshman in high school. I was maybe a little too aggressive in the other sports so football ended up being a good fit.
Describe playing alongside Pat Maynor and Chike Amajoyi?
Last year, we came in with Fred Campbell playing with Pat and I. We had a pretty good trio going and then Fred got hurt and Chike stepped right in. The three of us gelled very quickly, but we also mixed well with the defensive line. We're all playing as one. That's going to be the most important thing to our run stopping ability this year--all seven guys playing as one.
All three of us can play any of the linebacker positions. That shows we are all comparable in our skills sets. It also helps us understand each other's role.
What was the biggest difference you noticed in this year's fall camp compared to last year?
Last year, we were all trying to feel each other out and finding out what the expectations were. This year, we know where we are at. All of our focus has been on driving forward and becoming a team that is ready to win every game. Last year, it was about getting a focus and changing the mindset. Now that the focus is there, we're concentrating on football and results.
Your attraction to native American culture?
I love nature. Living in a situation like that, without technology and all of the other things we have today, it seems like a much more peaceful time. Obviously, there was some unrest then, too. But I always thought that would be cool situation to live in.
Your admiration of Theodore Roosevelt?
I just remember one story from my American history class in high school where Theodore Roosevelt and some of his delegates were in Yosemite National Park. He saw a moose swimming across the lake and he jumped in the water, swam out and jumped on top of the moose. He rode the moose all the way back to shore. That image has always stuck with me. It showed what a competitive guy he was. He didn't have any real reason to jump in the water and ride the moose, but he seized the moment. I always thought that spoke of my personality a little bit.