Defensive Back-Talk

Stanford Football was hit hardest by graduation this off-season in the defensive backfield, with three starters now in the NFL. Also new is position coach and defensive coordinator Tom Hayes. The former Washington Redskins coach was kind enough to sit down with The Bootleg recently to share updated evaluations of some his charges at the end of fall camp.

T.J. Rushing - senior - cornerback
"I think T.J. has this going for him:  He's played a lot.  He's been on the field in teams.  He's got a lot of confidence, and he plays with confidence.  But his technique needed work, and he's worked on it hard - over the summer and training camp.  And he's getting better.  You can see it every day in the little things.  Little details in technique.  Bump & run or playing off.  Zone coverage or man coverage - whatever it is.  He's getting better at developing his craft."

Nick Sanchez - redshirt sophomore - cornerback
"Nick is consistent, and that's why he has been in there from about mid-spring on.  He's consistent.  While he is maybe not the fastest guy, he's fast enough.  He does a good job if he's tuned in, paying attention and mature about every play that he's involved in.  That's where has to learn to grow up, and I think he's getting better and better at that.  I think he feeds off T.J..  I think T.J. helps him in that area... He doesn't have T.J. speed, but not many people do.  But he knows how to play football.  He has instincts."

Tim Sims - redshirt sophomore - cornerback
"He's jumped out of the pile with good cover talent.  He's got good speed, good quickness.  He just has a knack and instinct for covering.  He gives us a good third corner, and that's what you need in nickel.  He's playing much faster.  I think he's much more comfortable with me.  I was on his case hard for the first 10 days of spring practice.  He had never pushed himself before, but now he knows how to do it.  Again, I think he's taken a feed off of T.J. Rushing, Kevin Schimmelmann and Julian Jenkins - all older players.  He understands that if you come in there with that first group, you have to bring it like they do."

Wopamo Osaiai - redshirt freshman - cornerback
"He's making progress.  He's just a project.  He's a guy with big speed but doesn't quite know how to use it yet.  He's still learning the system.  Football is new to him.  He's still a young player - he's just gonna be a sophomore - he's just a kid.  But he has this load of talent waiting to jump out.  We just have to keep coaching him.  And he just needs to keep taking the coaching, practice and get better."

Carlos McFall - redshirt freshman - cornerback
"Carlos is a guy who is dedicated to football.  He loves football.  Unfortunately, he's just had so many injury problems.  He wasn't out there but two days in the whole spring, and he hasn't been out with us that much in the fall because of shoulder issues.  But he's now starting to get consistently back day-to-day.  He's getting better because of it.  He's getting turns and repetitions...  He's the complete corner.  He's got cover talent, and he'll come on the run and be physical.  He's 195 pounds.  He can be that corner with cover talent and toughness."

Brandon Harrison - junior - strong safety
"Brandon is just a steady, consistent football player.  A guy who shows up every day, ready to go to work.  He's really consistent.  He gives us toughness.  He gives us smarts.  He gives us the call-maker back there; he's the guy who directs traffic.  He does a great job of it.  He just needs to keep working on his craft, whether it's coverage, run force or whatever it is.  He just needs to keep getting better as a player.  He's a great practice player - loves to work in practice.  If he keeps doing that, he'll keep getting better."

David Lofton - redshirt junior - free safety
"He's on the up.  David has done a great job since the spring.  Really it's a healthy competition between him and Trevor [Hooper].  Hoop won out at the end of the spring, but he has been out here for over a week.  So Dave has accelerated his learning because he has taken every turn.  That has helped him.  He actually wore himself down because he took all those turns, but Hoop is coming back.  They'll share time, and we'll see how things work out for the opener.  David is a long, tall body.  6'3" guy who is pretty leggy.  What he had to do is force himself to go fast - be sudden, be quick every play, every day.  He's really forced himself to change his mode of operation.  He didn't know how slow he was playing.  It's not "slow slow" - just not sudden enough to play Pac-10 football.  This is way back in the spring.  After about the first four or five days, he figured out what I want and what he needs.  He's done it.  He's very dedicated."

Trevor Hooper - redshirt junior - free safety
"Trevor has the whole package.  He can range the field as a free safety, and he's real tough.  He's a good run-fill guy.  And he's physical.  He likes to get up there and mix it up, which I like in our safeties."

[Ed. note - subsequent to this interview, Hooper was named the starter on the official depth chart]

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