The scrimmage: Delano Howell

One place of remarkable stability for the Cardinal has been the secondary, where Stanford will return three starters this fall. Headlining the group is safety Delano Howell, who earned second-team All Pac-10 honors last fall after notching 60 tackles and five interceptions in 2010.

Howell met with members of the media on Sunday after Stanford's open scrimmage, discussing the progress his unit has made over the course of training camp.

How did you feel things went today?

Delano Howell: It went pretty well, just ran some basic calls and everything. Guys were flying around being aggressive, so that's what coaches want to see at this point in time.

Are you disappointed that the first-team defense didn't get to go against the first-team offense?

DH: It is what it is. We actually go against them a lot in practice so we have our opportunities, but whatever the coaches want to go out there, we'll go.

In what ways do you think the defense is going to be better this year, or not, than last year?

DH: A little more maturity, keeping our edge. In reality, we have a lot of potential; it's just a matter of are we going to perform to our full potential. We have a lot of confidence in each other, so it's who's going to perform and put it on the field.

There are a lot of new guys running around too.

DH: Yeah, there are a lot of good new guys running around too. Wayne Lyons is a monster, you got Jordan Richards, you got Ronnie Harris. The coaches definitely did a great job of recruiting, bringing in some players that are going to contribute this year.

What did you think of the turnout here today?

DH: It was good! It was good to see some of our fans come out and show some support for us. I'm kind of excited to go through after this and sign some autographs and talk to some fans, and get to know everybody.

How's your game going?

DH: It's going great. There's always something to work on, there's always something to build on from last year. Whether it's coverage, whether it's tackling, whether it's just your reads. I'm just kind of enjoying the process of going out and progressively getting better.

How's the integration between the veterans coming back and the young guys coming in?

DH: It's great. I remember when I was a freshman coming in, all of the older guys embraced me. It's a different culture here at Stanford, so when the young guys come in, we're trying to make them better—we're trying to put them on the field.

How much attention do you pay to the preseason polls?

DH: None. I don't really pay attention to them at all.

Is it nice, though, to have the highest ranking in 60 years?

DH: Sure, it's nice. I don't really care about the rankings. It's all about what you do in the season, what you put on the field.

What did you think of the backup quarterbacks after going against them today?

DH: I bet it will be very difficult playing behind Andrew Luck, because he's great. Every one of our quarterbacks has their own strengths and everything, so it's a challenge going against them as well.

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