Lee Ward Talks Road Trip

A quick chat with Stanford football team captain Lee Ward as the team prepares for the first road trip of the year

Lee Ward is a 5th year senior fullback who was honored at the beginning of the season to be named a team captain for Stanford. Ward has developed into a fine blocker for the Cardinal running game over the course of the past few years. So far this year, Ward just has one rush for 11 yards and zero catches. As Stanford prepares to play the first road game of the year in a very hostile and noisy environment at Washington, I caught up with Ward for a quick one-on-one on the game ahead.

DF: How does it feel coming off a bye week? Did you miss playing football?

LW: Of course. It was good catching up watching some games finally on Saturday but really happy to get back to it this week. Hopefully we can get a W this weekend, that is the expectation.

DF:  After three home games in a row, you finally have a road trip. As a veteran, what do you tell the youngsters about playing on the road?

LW: I just tell them to keep their heads in the playbook and know all the plays inside and out so they don’t make any mental errors. They have to be aware that there is going to be crowd noise. With that crowd noise should be extra focus. We have to be aware of when the ball is snapped and do your assignment on every play.

DF: With a young offensive line, with all the crowd noise, what do you see in front of you?

LW: I think they are going to have a great performance this week. They really have gelled well, especially this week they got some extra work. I think they have been really good so far this year. I think they are going to exceed expectations and do a great job this weekend.

DF: Communication is the word of the week. How do you communicate with the offensive line when you are helping to block?

LW: Just getting in their heads and knowing what they are thinking on a given front or a given defensive situation where they are going to go. Kind of knowing what they are going to do before it actually happens just so I can go full speed as soon as the ball is snapped.

DF: Behind you, you have a whole stable of running backs instead of just one. Does it change the way you look to block depending on who is behind you or does it depend play to play?

LW: Just play by play for me. The two main things I really focus on every play is getting my hands inside and then running my feet. The main thing I look at is the guys chest, making sure I get my hands on his chest, hands inside, and then after that, like I said, running my feet, keeping my feet active and driving the guy back.

DF: Talk about your personal development as a football player. I don’t like using the word "satisfied," which is a bad word around here, but in terms of your growth as a football player where do you see yourself? What are you still working on?

LW: I think I have gotten a lot better since the beginning of my career. Coming in from high school I was more of a pure runner and linebacker so I didn’t have too much experience blocking. But I was fortunate enough to get under the tutelage of Owen Marecic and Ryan Hewitt, two great blockers. I picked up techniques they had and then added my own little twang to it, I guess you could say.  Also, I have come a long way in pass protection. That is the hardest thing coming in for anyone - pass protection. Getting used to the speed of the linebackers and the different pass rush moves that they have. But I think I have figured that out pretty well. I have also worked on my hands. In high school, I didn’t have too many catches but I think I have very good hands right now. I think I have gotten a lot better at that aspect of the game as well. There are always things I can get better at. Tweak minor things in my game, like I said, working on my hands every day to get them better, working on my feet in blocking, stuff like that.

DF: What is the key for the offense for Stanford to win in Washington?

LW: We need to limit mistakes. I know you have seen our prior games. The times that our offense has stalled it has been because of mistakes, a flag there, a dropped pass, something along those lines. So if we all do our jobs and not try to do something to extraordinary, I think we’ll be just fine.

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