Aug. 27, 2004
This is the second installment of a weekly column that will take you inside the minds of Stanford's assistant football coaches. Each week we will converse with an assistant coach to provide an inside look at his area of the team. This week we sit down with wide receivers coach Ken Margerum.
by Janelle Kwietkauski
JK: Your top returnees at the wide receiver position are Mark Bradford and Evan Moore. What are your expectations for them?
KM: They are looked upon as leaders at that position but they are sophomores so they are inexperienced to a certain degree. There is a learning curve for them to understand the speed of the game in the Pac-10. Both Bradford and Moore had early success as freshmen but at times that could be blind success. There is a big curve in learning the game, understanding the coverages, and making adjustments on routes; and both of them have been doing a nice job of that in practice. I'm hoping they can translate that into the game.
JK: You also have receivers Greg Camarillo, Marcus McCutcheon, Justin McCullum, Gerren Crochet, and others in supporting roles. How do you anticipate they will contribute to the team?
KM: Greg Camarillo will be the third receiver. McCutcheon and McCullum have been battling him for that third spot. Crochet has been doing a nice job in practice. All the receivers are doing a terrific job and playing unselfishly. There is not a huge drop-off between our number one receiver and our number eight receiver athletically, it's the experience and whether they can handle the game mentally.
JK: Who is the leader among the receivers? How does their leadership help their peers?
KM: Greg Camarillo is the leader. He came in as a walk-on and earned a scholarship. He's scratched and clawed to where he can be an effective player on the field. He's built himself into a fine receiver. He's a good example for everyone else. His techniques and what he's learned (how to get open, understanding defensive coverages, and making adjustments on routes) have helped the younger players who watch him.
JK: What are the strengths of the receiving corps?
KM: Toughness. Willing to block. Big. Physical. Strong.
JK: How do the receivers look in fall practice so far?
KM: They've looked good. They're playing relaxed, and they're having fun. That's the way football should be. We have to tell ourselves it's a game and there are a lot of other pressures in life. When they step on the field between the white lines it's all business and they've taken that approach. There is a time and place to be serious but there is also a time and place to enjoy what you are doing and they all understand that. I think that reflects in their play. You want to be intense but you don't want to be tense.
JK: Have there been any surprises in fall practice?
KM: The teamwork of each receiver has been a pleasant surprise. They work together unselfishly and they aren't greedy. They all want the ball a lot and they realize this about each other. They will all have the opportunity to play at some point. I have an old saying "Just hang". If you just hang long enough and stay healthy you will eventually get your chance and they all understand that. They've been very good in that respect.
JK: You are considered to be one of the all-time greatest receivers at Stanford. You also had a successful pro career in which you earned a Super Bowl ring with the Chicago Bears in 1985. How has your experience helped you as a coach?
KM: Coaching is completely different from playing. I've had to learn how to be an effective coach through the twelve years I've been coaching. The experiences in learning are also far cemented in my knowledge of that learning process from some of the greatest mentors and teachers of the sport in Bill Walsh, Denny Green, Jim Fassel, and Rod Dowhower. I was fortunate enough to have all those men as coaches. I have also had the opportunity to play alongside some of the greatest receivers of all time in Jerry Rice and John Taylor. All of that knowledge and skill is bound to rub off, and I just try to expound that knowledge to the players. The game is evolving. It's getting faster, bigger and stronger. You have to understand that when you break it down it's 11 on 11. It's changed as far as athleticism, but it has the same qualities and fundamental techniques as it always has. That's what I strive to teach the receivers. They are all listening, learning and getting better each day.
JK: After coaching in college and NFL Europe, how does it feel to be back on The Farm where you played your college ball?
KM: I feel very comfortable to be around here, see familiar faces and be out in the sunshine. It feels very natural. I feel like I can let my personality shine through. It's such a wonderful working environment. It's a great group of coaches, players and administrators. The school is geared towards championships and that is a great environment to be in.