Sept. 24, 2004
This is the sixth installment of a weekly column that takes 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 a particular area of the team. This week we sit down with offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Bill Cubit.
by Janelle Kwietkauski
JK: Can you talk about being the offensive coordinator and what that position entails?
BC: It's like being a manager of the offense with putting together the schemes and dealing with player personnel. Developing players mostly goes by the position coaches but the offensive coordinator is ultimately responsible. Game planning and play calling during the game is also something the offensive coordinator has to do.
JK: You are also the quarterbacks coach. Can you talk about Trent Edwards and the team's other quarterbacks?
BC: Trent Edwards is a relatively young guy. We believe he is experienced since he played in six games last year. He's very developed. He is a smart kid with a lot of physical talent. He's really starting to understand the game and what the defenses are bringing. He has come a long way. Kyle Matter hasn't really been able to throw. We were counting on his experience. T.C. Ostrander is a freshman that is going through a lot of the things Edwards went through last year. He's learning to understand defenses. There is a lot coming at him. He played well against San Jose. He's a physical, talented player who is only going to get better with experience. Ryan Eklund is a guy that knows what's going on. He's a fifth-year senior. He's a great team guy who does everything we ask him to do. He led us on a scoring drive against San Jose. He is the ultimate team player. Garret Moore is a walk-on quarterback. He cares about what he does and understands his role. He has done a great job with the scout team.
JK: The offense had been impressive in the first two games. Can you talk about their performance?
BC: Their performance is about what we expected. We show them what they are going to do through film and coaching, and they take that to the field. We didn't have many mental mistakes, and we had some big plays against San Jose State. There are three factors that we talk about that will translate into wins: not having many turnovers, scoring in the red zone, and making the big plays. There are a lot of guys that are getting into games, which has led to our success. I think our confidence level is high. Our players are buying into the plan we have for them and they've been successful.
JK: What are your expectations of the offense?
BC: The quarterback has to go win the game for us here. He has to be efficient in both the running game and the passing game. We don't want any lost yards. We expect him to make good reads and throw the ball well. The offensive line is expected to protect the quarterback and create holes in the running game. The receivers need to make plays and get open. We want them to get YAC (yards after catch) yards. We expect our running backs to be physical and move the chains in the running game, and to protect the quarterback in passing situations. The tight ends are expected to block well and to be good receivers. Our players are taking responsibility and holding themselves accountable for their actions. They understand the plan and what we are asking them to do. They are executing the offense well.
JK: What are the strengths of the offense?
BC: The unity and responsibility of the offense is a strength. If one player makes a mistake, the other ten will not be successful. We are not having breakdowns this year. Everyone understands that they need to do their job. I think the cohesiveness the players have is very important. Their attitude is "the only people that can stop us is ourselves," which is a good attitude to have.
JK: You were an All-American QB/WR in your playing days at Delaware. How has this helped you as a coach?
BC: I played for a great coach in Teddy Lehman. Just watching how he approached the game helped me out tremendously. I wasn't originally intending to be a coach, but I fell into the job. I discovered that I love coaching. The people I have been around have shaped my career. I want to treat my players like I treat my son. I have a high expectation of my players, but I also have a sensitivity to their needs. I learned this both at college and after college.
JK: You have over 26 years of coaching experience, including stints as both a head coach and a coordinator. How has this helped you at Stanford?
BC: It's been great because I've been around great coaches. Lou Saban (Central Florida, 1983-1985) is a great coach. He was my first exposure to a college. I worked with Galen Hall (Florida, 1989) who is another great coach. From there, I went to Terry Foust (Akron, 1990-1991) who is a great human being. After that, I had a chance to go on my own at Widener University (Head Coach, 1992-1996), which gave me a chance to make my own philosophies and put them together into a package. From there, I went to Western Michigan with Gary Darnell (1997-1999), who is a great football coach. I then worked with Larry Smith at Missouri (2000), who is also a great football coach. From there, I went to Rutgers and then I came to Stanford. All of the styles that I've done throughout my coaching career really fit into what we are trying to accomplish here. I've been very fortunate to work with very good people.
JK: During your career, you have coached prominent quarterbacks such as Shane Matthews, Kirk Farmer and Tim Lester. What has this experience been like and how has it helped you?
BC: The biggest thing is understanding and getting a read on how quarterbacks are successful. I've never had a guy like Trent (Edwards) who could throw the ball like he can. Everywhere I've been, I've had quarterbacks who are smart and who take it personally. I've really tried to coach the quarterbacks as if they were another coach and get those guys to understand exactly what we want. We teach them everything, but we want them to think like a coach. The players that I've coached have all been smart and have taken that responsibility. A quarterback has to think and react like their coach and be on the same page with him at all times. Tim Lester, Shane Matthews and Kirk Farmer were all guys that took on the responsibility of thinking and reacting like their coach.