Pre-Notre Dame Intervew: Tyler Gaffney

Of the three running backs that rotate behind Stepfan Taylor, Tyler Gaffney has stood out this season as the featured player in Stanford's version of the Wildcat formation, where he takes a direct snap from under center. The Cardinal has had some success using the formation, and Gaffney has gained significant chunks of yardage from it.

The Bootleg talked with Gaffney after a recent practice to get his perspective on the team's rushing performance against California and what it's like to run the Wildcat.

The Bootleg: What would your assessment of the run game against Cal be?

Tyler Gaffney: It was good. We got enough—the big plays weren't there, they were hanging back a lot, but we were getting enough yards to open up the pass, which obviously worked. We had little mistakes in catching passes but it felt good.

Can you talk a little bit about playing in the Wildcat? It seems like you're the only one out of the four running backs who runs that formation.

TG: Coach Shaw came up with it in the spring and mentioned it to me. We came out in the summer and worked on it a little bit. I liked it, he said he liked me running it, and we kept with it and now we're here today.

Do you ever throw passes out of that formation?

TG: I haven't. I've never thrown a pass. I don't think the arm is ready for that.

It seems like you've been using it less recently. Is that the case?

TG: We haven't really needed it, I guess. But it's still in the game plan—it's been in the game plan every week—and sometimes we resort to it and sometimes we don't.

Can you talk a little bit about Manti Te'o? Are you worried at all about going up against him?

TG: He's very good. He's the top linebacker in the nation—one of the top. But he's just another player—you can stop him. We have guys that we trust that can stop him. He is on the back of everyone's mind, but he's not too much of a concern.

What's the toughest defense you've played so far?

TG: I don't know, to be honest. They're all a blur at this point. I can only remember Cal, if anything.

What do you think of the new uniforms?

TG: They're awesome. Stanford doesn't do this kind of thing a lot, but these uniforms are pretty damn cool.

Do you think it will have any effect on recruiting?

TG: Maybe. If a guy's trying to come to a school, though, for a uniform, or choose any school for a uniform, then we don't know if we want that guy.

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