Pre-Oregon Interview: Geoff Meinken

With injuries piling up on both sides of the ball, several backups will have to step up and fill starting roles this weekend against Oregon. One of those players is Geoff Meinken, a fullback who started the season behind Ryan Hewitt on the depth chart.

Hewitt was originally recruited as a tight end and the coaching staff has been rotating him into the tight end rotation to replace the injured Zach Ertz, so Meinken has been filling the gap at fullback. The Bootleg interviewed Meinken about his new role on Wednesday, and got his perspective on this weekend's matchup with Oregon.

The Bootleg: Have there been any extra distractions this week that you've had to deal with?

Geoff Meinken: Obviously, it's a big game, but we approach it like any other and try to focus on what we are doing rather than anything that's going on around us. I wouldn't say there are any big distractions.

While you say it's just another game, you guys had to have had this game circled on your calendar for a little while.

GM: Yeah. Last year is in the back of your head, but it's nothing you can worry about anymore. Going into this game, you just gotta focus on what's right in front of us, and that's an opportunity for a win.

How much do you think being at home is going to make a difference in this year's game, against how you guys played last year?

GM: I mean, it's huge. Autzen is crazy, and our fans have been so much better this year—I can only hope that they come out and support us like they have been. If that happens, that's huge.

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

GM: They've got some good guys, but we don't really focus on them. We focus on what we're doing.

What's the impact of some of the injuries on offense been?

GM: Some guys have gone down—Zach's a great player and he got hurt. But that's the thing about this team is we have great depth, and people have been able to step up and fill those roles. You can't have any drop-off when your ones go down.

Does it take away any of your playbook or any of your options when those ones go down?

GM: No. I think we consider ourselves a versatile offense and the players that we have are able to fill multiple roles.

Have you been getting any more playing time at fullback due to some of those injuries?

GM: Yeah, I played a lot last week, or more so than I had before. Not necessarily at fullback all the time—sometimes I would go out to the wing position.

Have they been splitting Ryan Hewitt out more? I know he's the starting fullback, but I've seen him at tight end.

GM: Yeah. I mean, we both can do either tight end or fullback and he does a great job of that—it's fun to see him out there running routes. He started out as a tight end, so he's always wanted to do it, but they made him play fullback.

College GameDay is coming and some people are saying that this is the biggest game ever for Stanford. Do you agree with that, and does it mean anything to you that those guys are coming here for the first time?

GM: It's pretty cool, but we've played at GameDay before—we played at Oregon last year and at SC earlier this year. I think that that's not going to be a shock to anyone. It's a big game, but like I said before, it's just the next one on the path.

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