Pre-Duke Interview: Mike Bloomgren

For all of the bright spots in Stanford's 57-3 shellacking of San Jose State, Cardinal players and coaches alike expressed concern in the team's inability to establish a rhythm in the run game. After a recent Stanford practice, The Bootleg caught up with offensive line coach Mike Bloomgren to discuss the state of the rushing attack, and get his thoughts on the Card's three first-time OL starters.

The Bootleg: From your perspective how would you asses the run game against SJSU?
Mike Bloomgren: We didn't execute really well. There were some disappointing things and there were some things that we're really close on. Unfortunately, really close can get you beat at times.

TB: Was that the result of miscommunication, or more individuals missing blocks?
MB: As a whole day, when you look at the 35 or 36 runs, whatever it was, there were all kinds of issues. There were some that were communication, a couple of critical ones that caused us to have some negative runs that were really disappointing. And then as you look at it there were just execution. We're a young group that is trying to jell, and there's a lot of things that once we start getting those double teams going, and we've had a better week of it so far, when we get those double teams going on people and get that movement, it's fun to run this offense.

TB: Obviously it's hard to replace an Owen Marecic, but how would you assess Ryan Hewitt from a blocking standpoint on Saturday?
MB: I thought Hewitt had a great day overall. I thought he was pretty good in the run game for the most part. He did some unbelievable things. There are a few guys on this team that we feel like can joke around about that can do anything. You talk about Zach Ertz, Ryan Hewitt, they wear a lot of hats on this team.

TB: With the running backs, obviously Stepfan Taylor did what he does, but to me, Anthony Wilkerson looked a bit tentative at times. How would you assess his play, and was there anything that you were hoping to see from him that you didn't?
MB: No, just on the day, all of the running backs are going to keep coming. It's just like everything else. When we get this thing oiled up the way we want it, we think it can be a lot of fun.

TB: With the heat, do you foresee a few more substitutions within the o-line, or are you mainly going to stick to the five starters
MB: Very possible that we'll roll some people in, but that's going to be for the most part performance predicated. We might sub in some people here or there, maybe one series in the first half, one series in the second just to keep people fresh.

TB: How did the decision to move David Yankey from tackle to guard come about?
MB: Oh, just out of need. Simply out of need. He stepped in, and for a guy starting his first game, he did a really nice job in Saturday's game.

Now you have Kevin Danser back healthy, do you foresee David holding the edge for the rest of the year or is that something that could be back and forth?
MB: That's going to be up to David Yankey, completely up to him. That's all in his court. It's just one of those deals that he just started playing at a really high level, and honestly, Danser is back with fresh legs right now playing at high level too. The competition is great, it brings out the best in competitors, and that's what we're looking forward to.

TB: A few words on Schwartzstein's play?
MB: Sammy was great for us. And he was great because he drove the bus and got us all on the right page. He handled things in protection. It was nice to see Chase Beeler come up to me after the game, and he watched Sammy the whole game, and he was really impressed with him. I thought that was a great compliment coming from one of his former peers, and now a guy that's playing pro football. Chase is making points for the first time in his offense and calling out a ‘Mike' and some of those things. I think he was impressed to see Sammy doing that and really driving our bus for us.

One more thing is a guy who's around here a lot is Willie Shaw, and he's got a lot of experience. He came up to us after the game and he said, ‘Hey, guys, you're running a pro style offense. Usually you get four preseason games to get this thing right. Unfortunately, in college football, you don't.' And so we're very fortunate to come out of that game with a win the way we did, and we're going to continue to work hard to try to fight to get better every day.

TB: And with Fleming, what did you see from him?
MB: Cam is a guy that when he plays low and uses his technique, he's really playing at a high level. We've got to get him to do it even when he's tired. He's got to play until the scoreboard says ‘0:00' and find a way to get him conditioned to fight through a whole game.

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