Two of the top freshmen in camp for Stanford today aren't making much in the way of adjustments to life on The Farm, after spending parts of their summer on campus. Offensive lineman Mikal Brewer came for three weeks of workouts and conditioning in July, while wide receiver Mark Bradford came for two weeks in July and then came back a few days early this week. Both particularly feel they gave themselves a good head-start with their physical acclimation during their workouts with the returning upperclassmen.
"You can always get faster and stronger," Brewer allows. "But I feel pretty good right now. I feel like I can move well at 292 [pounds], but today was a heck of a workout for not having pads. Everyone here is a heck of a player."
Bradford feels he made gains in two areas from his summer workouts on campus. "It's an adjustment going up against this level of competition, and I think I started to get a feel for the seniors," he opines. "But the conditioning was a big change. We haven't been running the 40 really, but we did have a tough endurance run for our conditioning test Thursday morning. They had us run 100 yards, from goalline to goalline, then back to the 45 and back again to the goalline. That's 190 yards. And we did it 16 times. It was really tough, but I'm in way better shape than if I hadn't come out here early."
With a head start on the conditioning, then what has been the biggest adjustment this preminent pair is trying to make? "I'm adjusting to the people and the environment OK," Bradford answers. "But I still need to get all the plays down. There are a few rookie mistakes I'm making, where I think I'm supposed to run to one place and the throw goes to another. It's a little embarrassing at those moments, but I'll feel a lot more confident when I get this offense down."
Brewer agrees. "The offense has a lot more plays than what I'm used to," he begins. "So there are a lot of different calls and plays we're trying to pick up on the O-line. It's exactly what Coach Morton just said to us - we've learned more in the last 48 hours than we had in four years in high schools. He's right. And Coach Morton works us hard. He is a good coach who is level-headed. But when we're doing something wrong, he can really get after us."
While I was a bit surprised to see Brewer working out at center in his first few days of freshman practices, playing over the ball is something for which he prepared himself. When he was not at Stanford this summer, he worked out with coaches and quarterbacks at his high school in Peoria, Arizona. "There was a though I might play some center at some point in the future, but when we arrived here there wasn't really any discussion with Coach Morton as to where we're playing," the athletic interior lineman describes. "We were just put there on our first day, and that's what we're doing right now."
Bradford has fewer adjustments to make, sticking at his accustomed wide receiver spot, both both of them are fully prepared to play this fall as true freshmen in the coaches call upon them. "If the team needs me, I'll be there," Brewer simply states. Bradford answers with a more definitive proclamation. "I expect to play," he calmly offers.
Are you fully subscribed to The Bootleg? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our website, as well as our full-length feature articles in our glossy magazine. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com (sign-up) and The Bootleg Magazine (sign-up)!