Craig Albrecht Interview

Interview with Stanford's incoming football transfer Craig Albrecht. Craig spent his first year playing for Northwestern.

Craig Albrecht Interview – 4/24/99

The Bootleg: How are you liking it out here at Stanford so far?

CA: It's like a different planet – it's so beautiful. Especially coming from Chicago, where we just finished a very bleak winter. It's beautiful. I love it out here. I think I'm really going to enjoy California.

The Bootleg: What do you think our prospects are of seeing you in a Cardinal uniform sometime soon?

CA: I haven't formally committed, but I'm relatively certain I'm coming here. This is the only school that I contacted when I decided I was going to transfer from Northwestern. They said that they have a scholarship for me. I will probably not be able to play this fall because of the NCAA rule. I am going to petition them to ask if I can play immediately. It's unlikely, but I might as well try. It doesn't take anything to write a letter; the worst they can do is say 'no.' It will probably be a year from this fall, but I'm looking forward to it.

The Bootleg: Have the coaches told you anything about the petitioning process?

CA: I've spoken with Coach Tipton, and he might petition for a sixth year for me, which would give me four years to play here. They would consider my first year at Northwestern a medical redshirt because I had a stress fracture in my foot and was unable to play anyway. When I mentioned to him my petition to the NCAA to play immediately, he said he hadn't really thought about that. He said that would be unlikely, but if that worked out he'd be very excited. That would be great if it worked out, but it's very uncommon. I'm going to go ahead and try anyways.

The Bootleg: How close were you to going to Stanford the first go-around?

CA: Incredibly close. It was a very close call. Even before I played high school football, I wanted to come to school here. The determining factor was Coach Barnett. He's from St. Louis and he'd come home, he'd come to my basketball games, he'd call me personally… It's probably because of all the personal attention he gave me that I chose to go to Northwestern. When he left, that's when I really began to realize that's no reason to chose a school – for its head coach. Coach Willingham is an amazing man, also, and I'm really excited to play for him. In the end, it was between Northwestern and Stanford. Obviously I regret the decision and wish I had made the right decision initially.

The Bootleg: Where were you standing on the depth chart at Northwestern, had you stayed this year?

CA: I can't really tell, as I'm not playing spring football right now. When I injured my foot, I was second-string. We had a few injuries in the middle of the season, and I think I probably would have started a few games. The coaches all told me I was really improving over the course of the year. If it weren't for this injury, I think I would have gotten significant playing time and at least lettered, if not started.

The Bootleg: Did Coach Bratten have any influence one way or the other?

CA: I can't really say he did. It was great to have him here as a contact, but he didn't influence me one way or the other. He didn't try to recruit me before I got my recruiting release. Once I did get my release, he was a great help – a great liaison.

The Bootleg: If we still played ironman football and you got a chance to play on the other side of the ball, what position would you like to play?

CA: What position would I like to play? I'd like to play FB or TE. I'd like to get the ball and run with it, but I'd probably end up at G. I played OL in high school, and that was still pretty fun. As long as I get to hit people, I'm having a good time.

The Bootleg: Any Pac-10 rival for you yet?

CA: My brother goes to u$c, so I'd like to beat them. He actually doesn't play football there.

The Bootleg: How about other sports? Anything else you like to play?

CA: Yeah; I played AAU basketball every summer during high school. I actually played on the national championship team with Larry Hughes, who plays for the Sixers now. I always loved basketball, but I got a little too chunky

The Bootleg: What do you weigh right now?

CA: 295. I can dunk, too!

The Bootleg: What about your music tastes?

CA: My favorite type of music is SKA/punk. I played in a band in high school – we actually had a CD. Our drummer plays in the Stanford Marching Band. We mostly played cover tunes.

The Bootleg: Any favorite movie?

CA: I just saw Saving Private Ryan recently. I thought it should have won Best Picture. I think it's ridiculous that Shakespeare in Love beat it out.

The Bootleg: How about favorite book?

CA: Less Than Zero – that's a pretty cool book.

The Bootleg: Are there any embarrassing football memories from your past that stick out - that you don't mind sharing with us?

CA: I don't mind at all; I do it all the time . They actually put me at FB my senior season for the first three games. I caught a screen pass out of the backfield, and fell forward and separated my shoulder… because I was so incredibly heavy and so much weight landed. I think it was only a third-degree separation; it wasn't severe at all. I thought that was a little embarrassing because I was too heavy –

The Bootleg: That was the last time you played any FB on the team?

CA: Yeah. They moved me to G at that point.

The Bootleg: If you had to compare yourself to a player in the NFL right now, is there any single player who you either emulate or who you feel you compare to in either style or aggressiveness?

CA: I don't watch too much pro football, but any DT who goes out there and is just ferocious and goes insane – anybody who stares across the line and the OL are frightened by him because he's growling and clawing at the ground. Anybody who gets so deeply into the game that he becomes scary is the type of player I like to emulate.

The Bootleg: What would you say is your greatest strength at this point in your career as a football player?

CA: Probably my quickness in combination with my size. In high school, I really didn't have much competition, so I wasn't forced to use my hands very much. I wasn't forced to develop good technique. I'm still in the process of becoming a good football player regarding technique, but I'd say my greatest asset is my quickness.

The Bootleg: What is your 40 time?

CA: Last time I was timed, I ran a 5.00.

The Bootleg: On the flip side, what do you feel you want to work on the most about your game?

CA: Probably staying low and using my hands – just the basic DL techniques. Because I sat out a lot last season and missed out on a lot of drills and a lot of technique work. This year off will benefit me in that respect, as I'll get a lot of time to develop my technique… though I would like to get to play right away.

The Bootleg: How did you hurt your foot?

CA: Two springs ago I was conditioning, by running suicides – linetags on the basketball court. My foot began to ache. I thought it would go away, so I kept running on it. As it got worse, I finally went to see the doctor. He told me it was a stress fracture. They put a screw in it, but I came back too quickly after that. The doctor OK'd me to start running with the team last summer at Northwestern, but it was a little too early. The injury came back.

The Bootleg: If you had a chance to say something to recruits who are looking at Stanford now, compared to other schools, what advice could you give them as far as the process of picking a school?

CA: If it's important to you not only to play highly competitive football – to play for a national audience, to play the best teams in the country – but also to go to one of the best schools in the country, there is no parallel. There is no comparison. Stanford is the best school in the country for the combination of athletics and academics. It's far and away number one. There is no question for me.

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