Q+A: Freshman WR Kodi Whitfield

David Shaw has raved about freshman receiver Kodi Whitfield, son of former Stanford great Bob Whitfield. He said he runs every route correctly, which is rare for such a young player, and is ahead of Ty Montgomery at this point last year. David Lombardi chatted with Whitfield after practice.

Lombardi: You're one of the new guys that everyone is talking about. How's practice going?

Whitfield: Practice is going well, actually. I've been adjusting, getting used to everything, trying to learn the offense. I'm trying to stay next to the veterans, as well - people like Ty Montgomery, Drew Terrell. Letting them take me under their wing and learn the offense has been really great.

Lombardi: Everyone that I've talked to around the program talks about Ty Montgomery's work ethic, and his physique certainly reflects it too. Does that rub off on the younger crop of receivers?

Whitfield: Definitely. His work ethic really matches his talent. He's not one of those guys who takes plays off or any stuff like that. He really mentors you to get the best out of everything, especially in receiver drills and individual [workouts].

Lombardi: There's a quarterback competition going on, in case you haven't noticed. Is it difficult adjusting to different quarterbacks who are all throwing you passes?

Whitfield: They're rotating quarterbacks so we don't get comfortable. I feel that it makes sure that we're ready for anything. It's one of those preparation things. And also, it just helps to catch as many passes as you can from anyone.

Lombardi: How's the speed of the college game treating you so far?

Whitfield: I'm definitely adjusting to the speed. That was one thing I was hesitant about coming in. Those older guys have helped me understand and settle into the offense and just get used to the college game and the whole scheme of things, so it's getting fun now.

How about run blocking? I know Stanford takes that aspect of its receivers' games very seriously.

Whitfield: Run blocking is huge in this offense. If you can't block, you can't catch the ball. That's the way it's taught here. So it's really key that your help your teammates find the end zone or find big plays here.

Lombardi: Your dad [offensive tackle and NFL All-Pro Bob Whitfield] played at Stanford, so what went through your mind the first time you put on the uniform before practice?

Whitfield: It was definitely emotional. Just to see 'Whitfield' across the back was awesome. To have my dad actually come to a couple practices was pretty cool. Growing up, he wasn't around that much [playing in the NFL]. To have him out here, kind of like the Pop Warner days, is pretty cool.

Lombardi: As a tackle, your dad didn't get to catch any touchdown passes, though. Is he a bit jealous that you may get to see the end zone a little more often than him?

Whitfield: [laughs] You know, my dad has been trying to convert me to tight end. He wants to have some involvement battling up front. He teaches me how to block every now and then and he teaches me some hand drills.

So, has that given you a leg up on a team where receivers are expected to block so much?

Whitfield: Yeah, I always say it runs in the blood. So, run blocking comes pretty easy to me.

Lombardi: Based on what you've done so far in practice, do you have any idea of what your role with the team will be when August 31 (opener versus San Jose State) rolls around?

Whitfield: All I really know is that I have an opportunity to help the team. If I keep doing what they ask me to do and keep executing assignments, then I can contribute to the team in any way they need me to.

Lombardi: There'll be close to 50,000 fans in stands. I'm assuming the adrenaline will be there. How long do you think it'll take you to get adjusted?

Whitfield: I'm so excited for this game. I've had it circled on my calendar for a while. For me, it's always taken only one play [to get adjusted]. Maybe getting in a little contact situation kind of warms you up for it. The butterflies are definitely going to be there. Your first college game, seeing your locker and your jersey and all that is going to be something. Coaches will have us prepared, though.

Lombardi: You're in a different situation from most Stanford freshmen, since you're already on campus over a month before they'll even show up. Are you looking forward to the start of the academic side of things?

Whitfield: I'm definitely excited. I've had two summer school classes, and those have been going well. I'm excited to just learn a lot. I haven't declared a major yet just because I want to explore everything. Maybe medicine, maybe business.

Lombardi: Thanks Kodi, good luck.

Whitfield: Thank you.

David Lombardi, a TV and radio (95.7 The Game SF) personality in the Bay Area, is a Stanford and Pac-12 Conference enthusiast. He has broadcast the Cardinal on KZSU for several years. You can check out several of his Stanford calls and other writing at www.davidlombardisports.com.

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