Nov. 10, 2004
Senior defensive end Will Svitek
is featured in the twelfth installment of a weekly column of player reports that lets Cardinal Commitment
readers in on the thoughts of Stanford football players.
Svitek has arguably been playing his best football over the last two games, combining for eight tackles (including one for a loss) and a forced fumble.
Svitek and his Cardinal teammates are also hoping to stay in contention for a possible bowl berth when Stanford (4-5, 2-4 Pac-10) hosts Oregon State (4-5, 2-4 Pac-10) in the final home game for Svitek and 10 of his fellow seniors this Saturday, November 13 (2:00 pm, PDT). Both teams need to win their final two games of the regular season to reach six wins and become bowl-eligible.
Stanford leads the all-time series between the clubs, 46-21-3. However, Oregon State had the best of things recently in the series with a current three-game win streak against Stanford, including a 43-3 victory in the most recent meeting between the teams on November 15, 2003, in Corvallis. Oregon State also won the most recent game played between the squads at Stanford by a score of 31-21 on November 16, 2002. Stanford's last victory in the series came by a 21-17 count on The Farm during Stanford's most recent Rose Bowl season on October 16, 1999.
For the first time this season, there will be no television broadcast of a Stanford football game when the Cardinal and Beavers square off on Saturday. Live audio broadcasts can be heard on the Stanford flagship radio station KNEW 910-AM, KZSU 90.1 FM and gostanford.com, as well as on the Stanford Football Radio Network (KFIA ... 710 AM, Sacramento ... KPSI 920 AM, Palm Springs ... KUIK 1360 AM, Portland).
CC: After a tough loss on the road at Arizona State last week, what's the attitude of the team as it prepares for the final home game of the season against Oregon State this Saturday?
WS: It was definitely a tough loss last weekend. It came down to the wire, and it's very hard to lose that way. But, the guys on the team are excited to show what we can do and have an opportunity to get a win. We're ready to face a good Oregon State team that's really solid on offense and good on defense as well.
CC: How important is it to get a win at home this weekend?
WS: It's crucial to get a win. Every game is a big game, and you try to get a win every time you go out. But, we have to win this game to get a chance at a bowl opportunity. We are in a must-win position.
CC: Can you talk about your role in the 3-4 defensive alignment?
WS: The main thing is being physical and knocking back the offensive line. I try to hold up the guys on the offensive line to free up our four linebackers, so they can come up and make plays. In our alignment, the defensive line has to play physical, be aggressive and be able to knock back the offensive line.
CC: The defensive line is a very experienced unit. Do you guys set the tone for the defense as a whole?
WS: We feel like the tone is set on the line of scrimmage. If we play well up front, we can free things up for the linebackers, which helps out the secondary. We feel that if we do our job, it will make the rest of the team's job a little easier. If we can establish the line of scrimmage and play well up front, things will go well from there.
CC: As one of the more experienced players on the team, have you adopted a leadership role on the squad?
WS: Being a team leader is something that I've always focused on, and something that coach (Buddy) Teevens has always tried to instill in the seniors. I just try to work hard every day in practice, lead by example and do everything that a team player needs to do.
CC: You have already finished your academic requirements as an undergraduate. Has that helped you focus on football throughout this season?
WS: I'm actually finishing a minor, so I'm still taking a couple of classes. But it's been really nice. I've worked very hard over the last four years academically, and now that I'm taking a lighter load it's been good to focus on football. I'm enjoying the classes that I'm taking, but the extra time has given me an opportunity to come in and watch film, take care of my body with treatment and pay attention to the little things that you need to do to be successful.
CC: You have competed in track and field at the collegiate level in the past. Have you taken anything that you've learned from that experience and applied it on the football field?
WS: I feel like track and field and football really compliment one another. Being a track and field athlete here at Stanford has been very beneficial. In track and field, you're competing in events so I have that experience of trying to win. I prepare for a track meet the same way I do for a football game, so it's given me an advantage in the way I get ready to compete.
CC: Your father competed for the Czech national track team. What has his influence been on you as an athlete?
WS: He introduced track and athletics to me at an early age. He's always been supportive, and has been there to guide me if needed. I've been very fortunate to have him as a role model and a father.