Fiesta Bowl News & Notes

The Stanford offense, including Heisman Trophy runner-up Andrew Luck and All-American offensive linemen David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin, met with the media at 8:30 Wednesday morning. Then at 9:30 a.m. Cowboys defensive coordinator Bill Young and defensive end Jamie Blatnick, linebacker Shaun Lewis, safety Markelle Martin and cornerback Brodrick Brown did the same.

The Cowboys practice for the third time since arriving here in a few minutes (2 p.m. Oklahoma time) and I'll be heading out to Scottsdale Community College for that. Stanford starts its practices at around 3 p.m. Oklahoma time.

Weather and Player Fun
Fantastic as the high today should make the mid-70s and the lows are running right around 50. This is a beautiful place in more ways than one. Unlike some other recent bowls for the Cowboys, the Fiesta Bowl does not have a lot of team activities. The players like it that way.

"It definitely feels different (than other bowls), the weather is a lot better," said linebacker Shaun Lewis. "People here, the media and all the signs it gives you that BCS feeling. What I want to do in my free time is with some of my teammates go to the mall and check out some of these Arizona women. I think every guy here loves to do that."

Lewis has a high opinion of the young ladies in Arizona. "I give them an A+, A+," said Lewis. "I mean they come up to you here."

"I like to go to the mall, but the mall here was so big, I'm glad I had a map or I would have got lost in that place," said Jamie Blatnick. "It is massive. We've had a chance to hang out together and I'm having a great time so far."

"I think the players have had a good time," defensive coordinator Bill Young said. "The magnitude of this, you can tell the difference. This is a runner-up bowl in that either us or Stanford could have played for the national championship. They are a very good football team and this is a great bowl."

Looking Forward to Match-up
Luck was asked a lot of questions during the press conference, including recruiting questions as he showed around Oklahoma City Heritage Hall running back and the son of OSU Heisman winner Barry J. Sanders on his trip to Stanford. Luck, by the way, said he thought Sanders would be a fit at Stanford.

Luck said he looks forward to the quarterback match-up which already has a premium on it in several national publications.

"Absolutely, I think it is always fun to go up against the best guys," Luck answered. "The offenses aren't going up against each other, but it is great. As athletes you always want the challenge of going up against the best guys and, obviously, he is one of the best guys this year."

Luck said he had met Weeden and thought he was a good guy. The two have met several times but spent the most time together at the Manning Passing Academy in the summer, the event that Archie, Cooper, Peyton, and Eli Manning hold every summer in Thibideaux, La.

Truck or Tank
Get ready with the Stanford offense for some dramatic looks up front. The Cardinal will line up with four linemen on one side of the center and all offensive linemen (guards and tackles) and may cluster a group of tight ends on the other side. They show up in some different and very power oriented formations.

"They run a lot of things that we didn't have a name for, like sets where they bring on three more offensive tackles and have this ridiculously unblanaced offensive line," said Blatnick. "I had never seen that before.

"So, what do you call that? Truck or tank, and I think we ended up calling it both. You are used to seeing five offensive linemen and a tight end, and they may have three more offensive linemen and a tight end or two. We have to figure out which gap to get into. It is a tricky thing, but once you get the hang of it, it's not so bad."

Defensive players love to take on the run game and play "down hill" so to speak. Young says he hasn't seen teams do as much of the power formations as what Stanford does.

"I've seen teams run formations like that a couple of times a game, but they do it all the time," said Young. "I've never seen that."

Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton confirmed. "We want to run the ball for atleast four-yards a play and then run it and run it until we set up what Andrew (Luck) does in the passing game. That is what we do on offense."

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