Tom Freeman. To better understand his role, we talked with the veteran coach after Tuesday's practice. He answered that question and more, including the installation progress of the ground game and status reports at the center and right guard positions."> Tom Freeman. To better understand his role, we talked with the veteran coach after Tuesday's practice. He answered that question and more, including the installation progress of the ground game and status reports at the center and right guard positions.">

Tom Freeman Interview

One wrinkle with this new staff is the "run game coordinator" title given to interior offensive coach <b>Tom Freeman</b>. To better understand his role, we talked with the veteran coach after Tuesday's practice. He answered that question and more, including the installation progress of the ground game and status reports at the center and right guard positions.

One thing foreign to Stanford fans is the title of 'run game coordinator,' which you hold in addition to your interior offensive line duties.  Can you explain what that entails?

"Coach [Walt] Harris is the offensive coordinator, and he has trusted me with the run game - along with Wayne Moses and John McDonell.  We'll break off in the early part of the week and formulate the run plan, which allows him to zero in on the pass game and incorporate it.  Of course, we have to work together on play-passes and the runs we want to do.  It enables Coach to really zero in on the passing game, as well as blitz and protection problems as well."

That sounds like a game week plan for the fall.  During the spring, are your eyes looking over the entirety of the run game, rather than just focusing on the offensive line?

"Again, along with Wayne and John.  During the spring, Coach puts me in charge of run game installation, what runs we want to get practiced, plus any changes to the run game.  During this time of year, it's really marrying the run with the pass game, as far as number of runs and passes we've got in, as well as which runs go along with the play-passes."

With just a few days left in the spring, have you installed everything in the running game by now and are just working on the execution, or are there still pieces to come?

"What we've got in, we've got in.  There are things we will install in the fall.  But we've got a good chunk of the run game in, and a good chunk of the protections in."

Could you hazard a rough percentage?

"Oh, we've probably got 80% of the run game in and 80% of the protections."

Particularly in the scrimmage at the end of today's practice, you guys looked like you ran the ball better than you have in at least a week.  What do you think clicked today?

"It's typical in the spring.  If you aren't good one day, you usually come out and make up for it the next day, and then you hold your butt the following day because it's the defense's turn.  It's kind of a law of the jungle, so to speak, in spring practice.  Everybody kind of takes turns."

So this was nothing to get excited about?

"No, no.  I'll get excited if we do it on Thursday and do it on Saturday."

With your interior linemen, you have a freshman taking the lead at center with Brian Head's injury.  You have the guards who are playing the opposite sides from last fall.  Are guys' heads spinning?

"Not so much because of position changes.  Some of the stuff is different from what they did last year.  The terminology is all different.  And even after they figure out that this year's play is last year's play, we're teaching it a little different.  They have to put up with two changes: different terminology and a new philosophy about the plays."

Alex Fletcher is young and in a tough position as the first team center.  How would you assess the good and the bad for him this spring?

"He's doing fine.  The best thing about Alex is that he has to line up against a helluva nose guard.  I think Babatunde Oshinowo has done wonders for Alex, and I think Alex has made Baba work.  In talking with Dave Tipton, we've both agreed that this is nice.  I'm glad he's had to line up against him.  And our style of defensive play makes it even tougher on the center."

What are the areas where you are pushing Alex, to get things cleaned up?

"What Alex has to continue to work on is understanding that he is still a freshman and has an awful lot to learn.  Technique at this level is imperative.  He is no longer in high school, where he is the biggest, strongest, baddest guy on the field.  Now there are a whole bunch of them, like the guy who lines up three inches away from him every day.  If you don't rely on technique, you'll be in for a long day."

The right guard position, with Mikal Brewer and Ismail Simpson, has been a little rocky the last week.  Is that an area of concern?

"Yeah, that'll continue to be wide open.  That's a wide open situation.  Just about the time I think somebody is ready to run away and hide with it, it gets open again."

I know you haven't had a chance to work with Brian Head in contact drills yet, but would you consider either Brian or Alex getting a look at that right guard spot in August?

"All we care about is putting our five best offensive linemen on the field.  It's not a cliché.  We are open to any and all suggestions."


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