The Bootleg: How does it feel being back on the field again?
Tavita Pritchard: It's therapeutic. I love being back on the grass. Get back to football. We have been anticipating this for a long time. We are excited to get started on this new season.
TB: Tell me about the enthusiasm from the team on day one to get things rolling for real?
TP: Exactly what you would expect. There was some good energy out here. We had some mistakes here and there at times. We have to clean stuff up, but that can be expected on day one. As long as the energy is up and the effort is there, we can fix all the other things.
TB: How about you as a coach? There is a saying that the most improvement for players is from year one to year two. You're going into year two as the quarterbacks and receivers coach, how do you feel about your progression?
TP: I think the fun thing for me, coming over from the playing side, is really nothing changes. You mention year one to year two. I hope I get much better from year one to year two. But the reality is just like you are playing, the mentality is that you are getting better the next day. If I can be better at tomorrow's practice then I was today, then I think I'll be okay. As long as I keep pushing that envelope. It is the exact same thing we've preached with our players and in this program, you see the sign in the Fort: "You are either getting better or you are getting worse, you don't stay the same." We all operate under that mantra and I try to do that as a coach as well.
TB: Kevin Hogan is a fifth-year senior. How is your relationship with him?
TP: It is a lot of fun to coach Kevin. He wants to win by any means necessary. It has been fun to see him grow as a football player, as a person, and as a leader. You really see when he is at his best, our offense is at its best. It has been a fun progression. I know he is excited and raring to go this season, and we are excited to let him loose. The best thing for him, I know everyone has talked about the end of last season, but this spring was a great spring for him to just solidify himself, another year as the guy at the helm. He is ready to go.
TB: It's like starting with a clean slate for him?
TP: I think that is the great thing about athletics, the great thing about football, we all get a clean slate this year. Moving into this next season, this is a new team. Every team, every season, takes on a new identity. Is there some carryover from last year? Maybe. But the reality is that every team is a new team. This team is going to have different themes, different leaders and a different personality. It will be fun to see how that takes shape this training camp.
TB: Everyone's favorite position is the battle for the backup quarterback. What do you see from the youngsters?
TP: It looks like they had a good offseason. We are not able to spend time with them from a football perspective after spring ball. I'm anxious to continue on with training camp and just see how those guys have progressed, but it looks like they have put in some good work this offseason. So it will be fun to see them battle it out this training camp.
TB: Obviously this competition will go for the next couple of years, but is there a plan for them? Has the competition been planned out week to week or for the entire camp?
TP: You really have to play it by ear. We'll sit down as a staff and evaluate. It is something that is absolutely fluid. Like I said, the fun thing is really you are jsut trying to get better the next day. Coach has a great analogy of driving in a car. When you're driving a car, you don't want to spend too much time looking in the rearview mirror at the past and not too much time looking at the GPS in the future, you kind of have to keep your eyes on the road and check those periodically. If we are staying in the here and now, that will take care of itself as long as those guys apply that getting better, getting worse mentality.
TB: You will of course will give me a prediction on who will win?
TP: (laughter) ...um... I'm going to say Robbie Picazo....(much more laughter)
TB: Wide receivers. You're a quarterback by trade. You've coached on defense. Now you work with wide receivers. As a coach how are you learning to coach the receivers and how is that working for you?
TP: It's a blast. We've done it that way for awhile now. We've kept the quarterbacks and receivers together in the room, and I think it creates some good synergy between those position groups. I'm really excited about the group of receivers we have. We have some older seasoned guys like Devon Cajuste and Michael Rector, Rollins Stallworth. Then you have some, I wouldn't say up-and-comers because they have been in the program, Dontonio Jordan, Conner Crane, and Francis Owusu. Some guys that have been here and are looking to carve themselves out some meaningful roles on offense. It will be fun to see them battle it out in training camp and make themselves better.
TB: How deep is this receiving corps?
TP: We've had some good receivers here the last few years. It will be interesting to see how this shakes out. We got three freshmen that came in. Just like we were talking about with the backup quarterbacks, this is really my first chance to get hands on them. See them up close and personal in a Stanford uniform. I've seen them through recruiting, but it will be fun to see how those guys progress and see how deep we can make this receiving corps. The deeper we are, the better off we are.
TB: As a coach, how is your position enlarging or changing with Coach Shaw and this coaching staff?
TP: Coach Shaw does a great job of being involved with the stuff. He is there and wants to be a part of it, and when he wants to take a hands-off approach and trust us to get things done, he does. That is a fluid thing as well. I'm fighting everyday for more responsibility. Coach Bloomgren does a great job of overseeing the direction of our offense. We're excited to have this year. We didn't perform like we wanted to last year, so we are all excited to get back to it and be the best offense in the Pac-12.
TB: Again a clean slate?
TP: Exactly. A clean slate, moving ahead, almost a new team.
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