Practice Interview: Wayne Lyons

One of the most highly-rated players from the recruiting class of 2011 was Wayne Lyons, a safety from Fort Lauderdale, FL, who committed to the Cardinal last January. Lyons, who has the versatility to play safety or corner, committed to Stanford last January at the US Army All American game - despite the Cardinal not having a head coach in place.

Wayne Lyons talked about his first days as a Stanford football player in a recent interview with The Bootleg. Among the topics discussed was playing behind starter Michael Thomas and his transition from high school to college football.

The Bootleg: What are your general impressions from the first week?

Wayne Lyons: It's a great program. Everyone's working hard, great coaches—just getting a chance to get ready for the season.

What's the biggest adjustment you've had to playing in college, versus playing in high school?

WL: It's basically just adjusting to the speed and the leverage, because the game speed is much faster. You have the process of communicating plays, so we're just getting all the play calling down. The alignment and assignments have been fundamental football.

Any difficulties with the playbook so far?

WL: I'm picking up on it. It was tough coming in at first, but as a freshman you knew it was going to be tough because it's a new playbook. It's basically just learning all the language—it's a different language. It's pretty much the same defense, but just learning all the plays and all the names of the calls.

Have you gotten any mentoring from some of the players or the current starters on the defensive side?

WL: Yeah, definitely. Mike Thomas, he's been helping me a whole lot, he's like another coach out there for me, telling me different tips and things that he sees in his eyes that can help me with my game. He's definitely like a coach to me, like a big brother and a mentor for me.

What do you think your chances are of getting some playing time during the season?

WL: During the season, as long as I keep working hard and making plays, it should be great playing time for me. I just gotta keep working hard.

Any discussions between you and the coaches about a possible redshirt, or is that not on the cards?

WL: No, a redshirt is not on the cards right now.

What's your best story from camp so far?

WL: Just all that I'm learning so far. I'm learning so much, day in and day out. I try to learn just one thing at a time, every day I want to learn something new to help me better my game.

Anything specific the coaches have you trying to improve on?

WL: Just keeping leverage, that's the big thing we're focusing on right now, my leverage and maintaining it. It just depends on which coverage we're in, and maintaining that certain leverage, either getting outside leverage or inside leverage. Knowing where your help is on defense, that carries a lot of weight.

What do you think of your offense?

WL: It's phenomenal. We've got great receivers, a great leader in Andrew Luck and we've got great tight ends as well. It's definitely a powerful offense.

Anyone you've been going against in practice that springs to mind as a tough challenge?

WL: Yeah, Chris Owusu. He's got great pickup speed, and his acceleration is amazing.

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