Practice Interview: Henry Anderson

A highly touted recruit from Woodward High School in College Park, Ga., Stanford redshirt freshman defensive lineman Henry Anderson has made a mark in his second year in the program. The recipient of praise from Cardinal head coach David Shaw, Anderson seems primed to make an impact for Stanford this coming season.

After practice on Thursday, The Bootleg caught up with Henry Anderson to discuss the upcoming season, as well as the changes he's made since arriving on campus one year ago.

The Bootleg: Second fall camp here, how's everything been going for you?
Henry Anderson: It's been going really well. It started off just helmets and jerseys and then it went to helmets and full pads. It started off a little slow for me, things were moving a little fast, but once we got the full pads on and everything started getting going, it went back to normal and I got used to everything, so it's been good. We've had some young guys come in and really start making a mark early on, so it's good.

TB: You look like you've put on some strength. Did you use that redshirt freshman year to really hit the weight room?
HA: Yeah, for sure. All my numbers are up from my freshman year. I gained about 20 pounds from when I first came in, my bench has gone way up, my squat has gone way up, Coach Turley and [the strength staff] have been working really hard, getting us where we want to be down in the weight room. It's been really good, right now I'm in the best shape of my life. We ran faster times than we've ever run this summer, the defensive ends were really pushing ourselves this summer in the runs, so I'm feeling really good right now.

TB: With Sione Fua and Brian Bulcke gone, there is some opportunity for playing time along the defensive line. How do you see yourself fitting in to the mix this next year?
HA: Hopefully, I can step in whenever Coach Hart wants me to. I think it's up to them at the end of the day, and I'm just trying to go out to practice every day and put my best plays on film. It's up to them, Ben [Gardner] and [Matt] Masifilo have been really solid at the ends, Terrence [Stephens] has been really stout in the middle, too, so I'm just trying to play my best right now and hopefully I can get on the field and help the team this year.

Coach Shaw has brought up your name a lot in a positive light when we've talked to him. He said one of the things he likes is your position versatility – you can play some nose, some end. Where have you been spending the majority of your time in practice?
HA: So in spring ball, I spent a lot of time at nose. Coach Hart would move me to end sometimes, but the majority of spring ball was spent at nose learning that position, learning the plays from that position. Camp, I spent a lot of time at end, so kind of getting back used to play on the outside again. Right now, I'm taking the majority of snaps at defensive end.

So you think that's probably where you'll see the majority of playing time this season?
HA: I'm not sure, but right now that's where I'm playing most of the time.

Are you more comfortable at one position or the other?
HA: I think early on, like in spring ball, playing nose at the beginning was tough just because things were so much faster than you're used to. You're so close to the center, guys are coming from all different angles at you. But as spring ball went on, that got a little bit easier. But now moving back to defensive end, you have more room in front of the tackle. I think that's a little bit easier for me outside right now just because I haven't been playing nose right now, but if practicing inside at nose was an everyday thing, I think that'd be just as easy for me.

TB: Do you think there's anything in particular that you've improved upon since your freshman year that's helped you draw these rave reviews?
HA: I've been trying to work on my get-off and my explosiveness. Watching film from last year I saw that I gradually improved as the year went on. Working against guys like Moose [Jonathan Martin] and [David] DeCastro will definitely get you better, so doing that all of last year really helped me focus on getting off the ball. That big first step and a good first step is what's going to help you make plays and get into the backfield and get knock backs, so Coach Chester [McGlockton] and Coach Hart have really been trying to get us getting off the ball really well to get that knock-back, so that's what I've been working on and I think that's been showing really well. And other guys staying after practice, like Josh Mauro, Ben, David Parry, we're always staying after practice getting extra work on our get-offs.

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