Interview With DC Kent Baer Part III

In this third and final part of Chad's exhaustive (and exhausting?) interview with defensive coordinator Kent Baer, we gain a lot of insights about the personnel Stanford has for this fall at LB and DB. Plus, good stuff on Stanford opponents.

LB

Can Craven contribute immediately--and in what area is his contribution most apt to be felt first? (Hulk)

Kent Baer: If he were going to do anything to contribute to this team early I would say it would be as a special teams player. I think most guys can handle that. I think he has a chance to play early. Again, that's up to Michael. We will force feed him a little bit and hand feed him at the same time. We'll just see where it comes out. If he's not ready to play …we're not going to play him. I'm not going to force the issue if he's not ready to play. It wouldn't be fair to him and it wouldn't be fair to our football team. I know everybody wants to see him play, I'm sure he'd like to play, and I'd like to see him play, too. I think I've been in this business long enough to understand how to bring someone along and develop them. If anyone can do it as a freshman, just talking to him, he probably can. He has the attitude that I think is required to play.

Where is the OLB position going to line up now that we have a better coverage player and not a "rusher" in this spot. Will the OLB line up more on the strong side or weakside and if he lines up strong will he play over the TE on the line or in space? (Irishguru)

Kent Baer: We are not going to change how that position operates. We might change the percentages in terms of when we bring the OLB or drop him. ……..In terms of man or zone or both. I think we are going to be talented enough at this position….. as long as we stay healthy.

Is Gordon 100%? How about Gabriel? (Another Fan in Ill)

Kent Baer: Amon, I believe, will be a 100% and Anthony is a 100% as far as I know and I see both of those kids every day. We could get in the first day of practice and they both go down … that's football.

How is this linebacking thing going to play out? Specifically, is Bergeron going to be staying at OLB? If so, does he possibly fall behind Craven for the next few years? Does Bergeron move back inside after this season, or does Craven maybe move inside ala Coy Wire? Is Gordon really a LB, or is the DL more likely down the road? (Long Winded)

Kent Baer: First of all, right now Amon Gordon is an LB as we speak today. What I would say is I think he is a very talented individual. He's probably more talented than he actually knows. We're not sure where the best place for him is. Right now he has not proved that he can play at the LB spot. But at the same he hasn't proved he can't. So right now he will line up at the LB spot. If we move him it could create domino effect with other guys … that could possibly happen. Also, If Anthony Gabriel could stay healthy, I believe I leave Bergeron as an inside LB. Michael Craven would end up playing OLB in our base scheme. But again, if Anthony got hurt it would create a domino effect. With Bergeron maybe moving to outside and maybe Craven goes inside. I hate saying that because Scott Giles is still involved. He's a guy who missed all of spring with two knee surgeries. If I were to line up tomorrow it would be Gabriel at OLB, Matt and Coy inside. Then Giles/ Bergeron/Craven at OLB, Amon/ Bergeron behind Matt, and Gaffney/Covault behind Coy and maybe Jon Alston. That could easily change based on what we decide as a staff or how our heath is. There are no question marks right now if everybody stays healthy.

Where is Amon Gordon on the depth chart? (Terry)

Kent Baer: See above

DB

How do your young DBs look at this stage of their careers: Atogwe, Wilson and Torrence? (Hulk)

Kent Baer: I like all three of those kids. They showed me a lot last fall and they showed me a lot this spring. I think Stanley Wilson and Leigh Torrence are both going to be excellent corners. We need to get them some playing time this year in both our base package and in our nickel/dime packages to give them some experience. I think they are both going to be excellent players down the line. I like OJ more as a safety …. he could be a tremendous safety. That doesn't mean he can't play corner because he has played both. I believe down the road he will be a safety for us. He certainly has the instincts for the ball and I really like his range.

Based on what we've seen of these players, how likely is it that Crochet ends up at DB? Mason? (Hulk)

Kent Baer: I don't think Crochet will end up at DB … he looks like a WR all the way. Mason … I don't know. He could play on either side of the ball. That's up to coach (TW)

Handicap the candidates for the SS position. Strengths/weaknesses of each? (Irishguru)

Kent Baer: Simba is our Starter at SS with out question if he's healthy. Simba has really become a good football player for us. He's got a lot of experience, a lot of playing time, and a lot of toughness. He runs really well … his speed has really improved. Colin's only weakness is that he hasn't played a lot. He's strong and smart … I can see him contributing this year.

Can the staff find a spot for Stanley Wilson, and get him into the game? We know that Tank is flying these days with 4.43 40's, god bless him. How about the rest of the D? (Cardinal Scott)

Kent Baer: There is no question about his speed. I think the thing that Stanley needs to do is get stronger (upper body) as a football player.

Who is ahead at strong safety -- Branch or Hodari? (Terry)

Kent Baer: See Above

What is the expected mix of blitz-man vs 4 man rush-zone coverage packages? It would seem with more experience and more speed at the corner position we can now play more man coverage. Will that be the case? (Irishguru)

Kent Baer: I don't have a goal in mind in terms of ……I'm not gonna run this D this percent of time and this D this percent of the time. I do not have those type of goal. Our goal is to win. …. Whatever it takes to win. If we feel like we can blitz and cover… if we feel like playing a front up, with some movement and zone behind … that's what we'll do. What ever it takes. If you look at our defense from game to game …. I don't think we are real predictable….. and I think that's good. I think if you start putting stats down like that … you start becoming predictable. I don't want to be that way. More than any other goal … we want to win.

Pac 10

Are Pac 10 offenses changing significantly enough that we have to alter our basic schemes and approach to counter them? (Hulk)

Kent Baer: They have certainly changed over the years. This is my 15th year in this league and I've seen a tremendous amount of change. What I see is the most difficult thing for defenses… first plays of a possession. We kick off and after the return the opponents have 20 players huddled up on the sideline. Then they run a group on right up to the line of scrimmage and run a play. You don't know what personnel are in the game. We like to know what personnel are on the field. It really creates problems for defenses. The reason is … let's say team runs out they're base personnel and you have your base personnel …. you can line up and play just about anything you want … you can blitz … play zone or man … do what ever you want. Let's say you've got your base personnel on the field and they run out 4 WR with one back. You better play zone ….. you can play man and cover all 4 WR's but you don't have any S over the top. It's a match up personnel type of game. I think the 25-second clock really helps the offense. You just can't play your base defense for the whole game any more.

Can you tell us who looks tough on offense in the Pac-10 this year based on returning starters? (Irishguru)

Kent Baer: I think UCLA is going to be pretty talented. I know they have a lot of returning starters back. I think Oregon would be the other name that comes to mind. I think Foster is the best back in the league.

Who looks like up and comers on the O? (Chad)

Kent Baer: I think one of the biggest improvements we've made is the offensive line. I think...... if we can stay healthy, our OL will be damn good. Kirk Chambers and Kwame Harris are going to be two REALLY GOOD OT's. They both have the talent to be all Pac-10 type of kids. They are both so solid. I'm very impressed with the OL and the QB situation. I think both QBs played very well this spring. I also think we should be able to run the ball effectively this year.


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