Todd Husak Interview - Part II

The Bootleg had a chance to sit down with Stanford's 2000 Rose Bowl quarterback Todd Husak.

The Bootleg: What is it going to take for Stanford to beat San Jose State next year?

Todd Husak: Oh, man! I would have loved to have played in that one this past year. I don't know. I think it's going to take being mentally prepared - I think we psyched ourselves last year, thinking we were going to smoke those guys (Editor's note: sounds like somebody was reading the Bootleg...). Turned out, it didn't happen. I think mentally we have to go into that game like it's a Rose Bowl. We need to be a little bit better prepared, but unfortunately it's taken two losses to them to get the team ready to go in and kick some butt. I think we'll be ready. I think the coaches will really emphasize how important this game is. That would stink to start the season with a loss to our cross-town rivals again, but we'll be ready.

The Bootleg: Were you ready to play against San Jose State and just sat out because the game was perceived to be very winnable?

Todd Husak: Looking at it on Sunday, I think the ribs were bad. By Wednesday, I was practicing. By Friday, I was 100% and could have gone. But Coach Willingham had made the decision earlier in the week to not risk anything and have me ready for the long stretch of Pac-10 games after that. I definitely could have gone, could have started.

The Bootleg: What was it like when the recruiting class came in, and you get an All-American quarterback coming in either the year you were taking over or even the year after you became the starter? How did that go for you?

Todd Husak: I think at first, when I was younger, it worried me more than it should have. Randy committed really early. I had just started school, and I'm already being asked if I'm going to transfer. At first, I was thinking, "Man, this is going to stink - never getting to play here." But senior year, you learn that everybody - whether he's an All-American in high school, or whether he didn't play that much - it's all about how hard you work. I think I took a lot of that the right way. Maybe not at first, but eventually, I made up my mind that nobody is going to play ahead of me - I don't care who he is. I think if you can take it the right way, it can be motivating.

The Bootleg: How much did it hurt in the 1997 season, when the team was not performing as it should have, to not play down the stretch?

Todd Husak: I think I let it hurt me a little bit more than it should have. At the time, I was having a tough time with a lot of stuff going on. Playing-wise, that was a tough situation for me. That probably affected me; I let it get to me a little bit much. It showed in that Washington State game. Mentally, that was the least prepared for a game I have ever been. It was tough. I was a little bit too young to handle that at the time. It happened to me a bit junior year, not the same thing, but I got pulled. I did handle that better than my sophomore year, though.

The Bootleg: We have to ask this from Teejers: Is he going to get any "run" at Romie's Tour Stop in Sac-Town? Or is he going to get "punked"?

Todd Husak: That's funny because I called him the other day, since I was going to be up in Sacramento. I asked him... Yeah, I think I'll get some run because he said to come up and hang out. Hopefully it wasn't just lip service, and he'll really do it. I'm looking forward to that. It'll be a lot of fun.

The Bootleg: What difference did you see at your position and in the offense when the coordinator position was changed from Dana Bible to Coach Diedrick?

Todd Husak: A lot. Personally for me, that was the difference in my college career. Coach Diedrick came in and I wasn't too happy with school. I wasn't too excited about playing football then, with the way the season ended and the way things were going for me. I was pretty close to transferring, honestly. To have him come in and be the type of coach that he was, and really care for the players like he did. Offensively, he personally made a big difference in the last two seasons for me. Offensively, things became so much more wide open. He put a lot more responsibility on the quarterback to be ready to change plays if we have to. It was my type of offense. He threw a lot of responsibility on my shoulders and asked me - asked all the quarterbacks - to step it up. He asked a lot of us, and at first we thought maybe it was too much to ask. But we started to push ourselves to reach new standards, and it paid off. Everybody's perspective then changed on the offense. You have more confidence in the plays you're running. We could have been running the same play we ran in '97, but we had confidence now that it would work. It was night and day, really.

The Bootleg: How far would the team have gone in 1997 had Bill Diedrick been the offensive coordinator?

Todd Husak: That's tough to say. The personnel was a lot different then. I think we definitely would have been a more exciting team. But I don't know; that's a tough one to say. We didn't have the receivers that we've had the last two years, and we didn't have the running backs. Well, I guess we had some running backs.

The Bootleg: There was Mitch, Bookman, Ritchie and Comella...

Todd Husak: Yeah, he definitely would have made use of those guys, but it's tough to say.

The Bootleg: How much longer do you think Stanford can hold on to Coach Diedrick?

Todd Husak: Hopefully for a while. I know Joe and Randy like him a lot, and he's making a difference for them. We'd like to see him around for a while. There aren't too many situations more attractive than Stanford. You get to work with - not to pat myself on the back too much - but looking at my teammates, you get to work with the best kids in the country. It's a great area, and it rains only one month a year. I hope he stays around for a while, but when a coach has that much success, it's tough to keep him. It will be interesting to watch that play out.

The Bootleg: How much longer do you think Coach Willingham will be at Stanford?

Todd Husak: I think he'll be around for a while. Like I said, it's a great job to have. It's a great area, and we're at the finest university in the country. Now that we're having some success, I think he feels he can build on that. I think he'll be around for a while.

The Bootleg: You don't see him in the NFL anytime soon?

Todd Husak: I don't know. He's been there, and he came back to college. Granted, it was a head coaching job versus an assistant job. I just get the feeling he'll be around for a while. Maybe I'm off-base, but that's the feeling I get from him.

The Bootleg: Did Jay Leno rig the intelligence contest with the Wisconsin players?

Todd Husak: Without a doubt! I must have gotten 15 right, while the other guy got 2. If they had really kept score, it would have been about 100-16. I'm serious. I'm dead serious. And they showed probably the five questions that we missed. We were all a bit upset about that. I mean, that guy - Bollinger. He's a good kid, but man ... They definitely didn't give us justice.

The Bootleg: I heard you were involved in some fashion when Kwame (Harris) visited?

Todd Husak: Yeah, we had a party. I just went up to him and talked to him about my experience at Stanford, and why he should come here. Not that I'm a guiding light, but I think it helps to talk a guy who had gone through it. Would I have gone back and made the same decision? Without a doubt. With Stanford, you can't go wrong. Even if you don't play, you're still going to be in really good shape. If you do play, you'll get noticed. Yeah, he's a good kid. I think he'll do really well here. Then I saw him at the Hula Bowl and talked to him again about a week before he signed. I expect pretty good things from him. He's monster.

The Bootleg: How did Kwame look to you as far as somebody who could start right away?

Todd Husak: It's tough to say. You can never really judge a kid on how he looks. Just look at Troy. Physically, he looks like he has the tools, and mentally he's a pretty sharp kid. But there's a big difference between blocking high school kids and blocking 285# defensive ends who run a 4.6. Since I've been here, aside from Kirk Chambers, he physically looks like one of the few kids who could do the job.

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