Todd Husak Interview - Part I

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

The Bootleg: How is the post-season treating you, with the Hula Bowl, working out for scouts and the whole NFL prospect process?

Todd Husak: Well, I played in the Shrine and Hula Bowls, both. The Shrine went really well. I had a great week of practice, with probably two to three hundred scouts out watching. I got really good reviews from that. Then I went out to Hawaii. We didn't practice that much, but I played really well in the game. I think both of those really helped me out a lot. And then the combine is in two weeks, where I'll work out with Troy and hopefully do well there.

The Bootleg: Have you secured an agent for yourself yet?

Todd Husak: Yeah, I'm working with Steve Baker. He represents Jon Ritchie, Kailee Wong, Greg Clark and those Stanford guys.

The Bootleg: Have you had any specific interaction with any teams that are showing interest yet?

Todd Husak: I've talked with probably a dozen teams already, through interviews and questionnaires. It's kind of like the recruiting process all over again. You fill out early questionnaires, then work out for them or they watch some of your tape. Then they decide whether or not they like you. But there's about a dozen teams or so, though, that are showing interest.

The Bootleg: Have you and your agent come up with any projection of where you'll go in the draft yet?

Todd Husak: I think a lot of it is still up in the air. The bowl games helped me a lot. Coming from the West Coast and maybe not playing on a good team until this year, a lot of people probably didn't know about me. But once I started working out in the all-star games, and then start working out at the combines, I can help myself quite a bit - move up.

The Bootleg: What aspects of your game and your background are going to allow you to be most successful in the NFL?

Todd Husak: When you look at guys who are doing well now, like Kurt Warner and guys like that, like a Peyton Manning, they make quick decisions. I think I'm smart, and I can learn things pretty quickly. Accurate throws. I think one of the knocks on me is that maybe I'm not athletic or mobile. But once most people look at me on film, I think I'm mobile enough. I think I'm good in the pocket. You know, quick feet - scouts like to see that. I'm not going to outrun too many people in the 40, but I think I might be able to "out-quick" them in the pocket. Those things are going to help me, take me a long way.

The Bootleg: What parts of your game do you think you've pushed the highest since you've come to Stanford?

Todd Husak: I think rolling out, just throwing on the run. That was definitely not one of my stronger points when I came in. But Coach Diedrick really emphasized being able to roll out, move the pocket, and throw accurately on the run. All that work really paid off. This year, some big plays came off of rollouts or scrambles. That's one area where I've turned a weakness from when I came in to really a strength for me now.

The Bootleg: If you can objectively look at yourself, what are the things you need to work on the most, to improve on, for you to succeed in the NFL?

Todd Husak: Looking back on film, I think a couple of plays I could have maybe made had I stepped into the throw. I felt pressure too soon and got rid of it, where maybe I could have waited maybe a half a count. I think with the Rose Bowl play where I overthrew DeRonnie. You know, I just saw that game on film for the first time a few days ago. Oh man. If I had just relaxed and stepped into that one - touchdown. I think little things like that, stepping into the ball, are what I need to work on.

The Bootleg: The Rose Bowl - when you reflect on it, how much is ecstasy with being there and how much is agony with the near-win?

Todd Husak: I think the experience was positive as a whole. I look back at all the cool things that I got to do. Playing in a stadium like that, and having that be my last collegiate game, was a great way to finish things off. But at the same time, I watched that game tape the other day. I'll always remember those two or three plays. If I make them, or we do something just a little different, we win. We win by a couple touchdowns. That was tough. It was tough walking off the field knowing that we were close to winning. But at the same time, it's something I'll remember forever, and have lots of good memories from.

The Bootleg: How much did it hurt the team when Mike McLaughlin couldn't play? How much of a difference do you think that made?

Todd Husak: It made a big difference. Not taking away from the substitutes, but Mike is a very steady offensive lineman. You look at Quaccia - he's a great center, but I think he's a better guard than he is a center. That maybe hurt us a bit, too. Having Mike in there, he usually helps out with those two young guys on either side of him. I think it hurt us on a lot of levels, but at the same time, we did a pretty good job not letting it hurt us that much. It could have affected us a lot more if we would have let it. But yeah, we aren't the same offense without him.

The Bootleg: Speaking of Zack (Quaccia), do you have any thoughts on next year's offensive line? People are wondering whether he would move to the center spot or whether Mike (Holman) would play there?

Todd Husak: I really don't know. I saw Quaccia just the other day, and he's about 305 - solid. He and Heitman, I think, are awesome. I think they can really turn out to be two of the best guards we've had since Brad Badger. It's still early, and guys have plenty of time to step up. I saw Kirk Chambers, too, and he's looking pretty good. I'm not sure where he's going to fit in; outside maybe. But I think we'll be all right. We need guys to step up. We need backups - I mean, good backups. We're not going to go five linemen the whole season, or even six. Guys are going to get to play, so hopefully they'll be ready.

The Bootleg: Is next year's team headed back to the Rose Bowl come New Year's?

Todd Husak: I think they can. I think a lot of the reason we made it there this year was the seniors - guys who had played a lot of football and knew how to win. A lot of us are gone. I think the talent is still there. I think we helped them out a lot with maybe the leading in wins. We were picked to finish 8th or 9th, but we put a pretty nice season together. A lot of it now is up to them. A lot of it is up to the hard work they've got to put in, and how they get ready to play the season. It'll be interesting.

The Bootleg: Are there any specific areas on this team that you look at as critical areas where they have to perform well to get there (Rose Bowl) next year?

Todd Husak: Yeah, I think you look at areas where we lost some guys, like offensive line. We lost three guys. So that's going to be an opportunity for some young guys to play. I mean, they'll have to play. It's not, "Oh maybe I'll sit on the bench and get ready to play next year." This is their year. I think at running back, receiver, quarterback - we'll be OK on offense. On defense, in the secondary, we've lost a lot of guys. Tim Smith, Chris Johnson and Frank Primus. That again is another area for guys to be able to play and do well.

The Bootleg: From a leadership standpoint, from what you saw of the underclassmen, who do you think will step up and be the real team leaders next year?

Todd Husak: There's not too many guys from my class left. There's probably seven or eight fifth year seniors, so it's going to have to come from other places. With the quarterback, whether it's Randy or Joe, I think both of them are ready to step it up - to be the man. Defensively, I think Willie and Riall will both have to step it up, to raise their level of intensity. Byron (Glaspie), hopefully will get a chance to get in there. DeRonnie will definitely have to be a leader in taking over for Troy. It will be interesting to see how he handles that.

The Bootleg: At that quarterback position, things are pretty up in the air. What is your take on Joe, Randy and even Chris (Lewis), and what are their greatest strengths that you think will lead them to be Stanford's next quarterback?

Todd Husak: I think Randy is probably the best athlete on the team, probably. I think he's about 6-foot-3 240, and fast. I think he's the type of guy like a Michael Vick, where if something is not there or he doesn't like it, he can make a lot happen. He's done a lot in practice, and I think he's an exciting type of quarterback. Joe brings a lot of guts and has a cannon arm. He's also demonstrated a couple of times that he's a heck of a runner as well. I think he's definitely more of a drop-back, quick decision guy. Even Chris, he has a great touch on the deep ball, but he's still a while away from playing. I think a lot of that will depend on how hard he works between now and August, when they report. He has two great guys to learn from in Randy and Joe. Hopefully he will have a lot to learn and get ready to play.

The Bootleg: So you think it is probably between Randy and Joe?

Todd Husak: Right now. But Chris is about to go through his first spring, and that is probably where I made my biggest improvement in terms of knowledge and what to do. It will be interesting, but it's up to him, as I said. If he really wants it, he could be ready. But right now I'd definitely say it's between Randy and Joe. It's tough to start over a guy who has played before.

The Bootleg: If you had to make your prediction right now - if Tyrone walks up to you and says he wants to know who you would pick to start for that first game - what do you tell him?

Todd Husak: That's a tough one. I don't know if I can answer that one . I have loyalty to both guys, and I don't want them to see this. But they can both go out and win 12 games for us next year. It's not really a lose-lose; it's a win-win. Either guy you choose, they're going to win some games for you next year. It will be exciting to see.

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