Q+A: Stepfan Taylor

Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor has (rather quietly) put up back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. He needs 1,264 yards in his senior season to break Darren Nelson's school record of 4,033 yards. The senior workhorse joined the Bootleg following practice.

Q+A: Stanford Running Back Stepfan Taylor

Lombardi: How did your offseason go, Stepfan?

Taylor: I've had a great offseason with my teammates. It seems like it's been forever since we've been able to hit again before training camp started so we're all excited. I'm antsy and ready to play.

Lombardi: You didn't see action in the Spring Game just because there really was nothing for you to prove. Was it tough not playing?

Taylor: Yeah, I never like sitting out. Ever since high school, when the team would be running passing reps and I'd be on the sideline, I never liked it. I never want my teammates to think I'm taking the easy way out or anything. I always want my teammates to think that I'm in there with them.

Lombardi: Well, you were certainly in it with them during offseason conditioning. Do you feel that you got faster and stronger over the past few months?

Taylor: Definitely. That was the key emphasis. I wanted to get more flexible, so I could get stronger and faster and get better balance. That was the main thing I needed to work on. In the offseason a lot of us got stronger and quicker.

Lombardi: What type of exercises did you do to improve flexibility?

Taylor: I'd do yoga twice a week minimum. I'd also stretch every night. So that was a key emphasis for me.

Lombardi: With another solid season, you can become Stanford's all-time leading rusher. Have you thought about that at all?

Taylor: That would be great, but first you have to have wins. You don't want to leave with the record and also a horrible [team] season. So, I'm more focused on the team having a great season. If you do things the right way, success and greatness will come.

Lombardi:  Now that Andrew Luck is gone, do you feel that there is more pressure on you to carry the offense?

Taylor: Yeah, but I don't really look at it as pressure. Andrew leaving was expected, and you want to get the new quarterbacks comfortable the first couple of games, so you know you're going to run the ball more. But, that's a running back's dream [laughs]. A competitor wants the ball in his hands, so I'm ready for that and I'm ready for the pressure.

Lombardi: There are some new faces on the offensive line, all of whom were highly touted recruits. How are they performing from a running back's perspective?

Taylor: They're coming in well. They have nice quick feet. They're moving well, and they're integrating into the scheme we have set up for them.

Lombardi: Is it possible to even see over Andrus Peat?

Taylor: Man, it's impossible to see over the quarterback sometimes, I'm a short guy. But, yeah, he's a big boy. I was just staring at his calves the other day... tree trunks!

Lombardi: I've referred to them as 'pillars of granite.' Your team features a load of young and talented backs, too. How's the interaction going among the players in that unit?

Taylor: Definitely good. We're close, we're always in it together. We all know it's a competitive room. If anybody slacks off, the next person can move up easily. Anthony Wilkerson, Remound Wright, Ricky Seale, Jackson Cummings, Barry Sanders, Andrew Stutz as well. We all know that and we help each other out. We're not the type of group that's going to try to injure each other and do bad things just to move up the depth chart.

Lombardi: So far, you've only gotten to play against your team's touted defensive front seven. Are they as good as advertised? Do you think facing them in practice will makes things easier for you as an offense once the actual season starts?

Taylor: Yeah, I mean, playing against our defense is always a difficult task. They bring many blitzes. The cornerbacks and safeties are playing really well now, too. They just bring every look possible. I think it's great for us as an offense, because once we get to the season it's like there's nothing we haven't seen from our defense. So I think it's a great advantage for us.

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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