Pre-Oregon interview: Anthony Wilkerson

Running back is one position where Stanford has no depth issues whatsoever, and sophomore back Anthony Wilkerson is one reason why. Along with Jeremy Stewart, Tyler Gaffney and feature back Stepfan Taylor, Wilkerson plays an important role in establishing the power running game that has become a trademark of the Stanford football program.

The Bootleg caught up with Wilkerson after practice on Wednesday, to get his view on the offense's performance last week against Oregon State and its plans to move the ball against Oregon this weekend.

The Bootleg: Has it been tough to avoid distractions leading up to this game?

Anthony Wilkerson: You know, I don't think so. What I like about our team is that we're a lot more mature than other teams, in the fact that we approach this just like any other week—it's just another team, it's just another game. That's how we're approaching it. Preparation is the biggest thing.

So you guys didn't have this game circled on your calendar at all?

AW: I mean, you know it's circled, because Oregon's a good team. We realize that, and I feel like doing what we've done up to this point will be fine.

Are you going to rely on the run or the pass more to move the ball against Oregon?

AW: We're going to both, but with me being a running back, I'm always going to say run. We got a good set of backs, so we're going to keep it pretty balanced.

How would you assess the performance of the run game against Oregon State last week?

AW: It was so-so. We always have things to work on every single week. I think it was good but we can always get better.

You guys have had a couple of injuries, and a few pretty big ones. How are you guys dealing with those?

AW: People got to step up. Young guys have to just step up and play that position where we're hurting.

Does it ever take away some of your playbook and some of your options when some of those players go down?

AW: Not when people step up. When we see one guy's being just as contributive as the next guy, then we can still run the stuff that we've been running all day.

How does your O-line match up against Oregon's front seven?

AW: I think we have the best O-line in the country. We always have things to work on, but I think we match up pretty well and I think we've had a good couple practices here. I think we'll do pretty well against their line.

Who do you think is the biggest playmaker on Oregon's defense?

AW: From my film study I would say number 20 is pretty good, John Boyett. But they've got a good defense altogether, so we just gotta hammer them.

If you guys beat Oregon and you run the table, do you think you should play in the national title game?

AW: Yeah, that's what we're trying to do, to play for the national title. Get a Pac-12 championship first, but we gotta do it one game at a time, and Oregon's next.

Does the fact that ESPN's GameDay program is coming mean anything to you guys? Does it add any extra motivation?

AW: It doesn't. To us, it's just another game. That's always icing on the cake—it's nice that they're coming here and we enjoy that, but that's on the outside and the inside is what we gotta do is preparation for the game and focus on Oregon.

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