Getting to Know Greg Camarillo

I've been a leading advocate for Greg Camarillo, as I have watched him emerge beyond his walk-on shadow this past year. Today he stands #4 on a stacked receiver depth chart and is poised to be an important playmaker in this offense. So I caught him after a recent practice for a little Q&A to help Booties get to know this local rising star.

The Bootleg:  Greg, what changes have you seen in your abilities in this past year to allow you this success?
Greg Camarillo:  This year I feel like more of an athlete, less mechanical.  More of a go-out-there-and-make-a-play attitude and less worried about the specific details.  It's just in my head, from all the practice and work.  I guess I'm more automatic, you could say.

The Bootleg:  What do you think has gotten you to this point?  Is it something in the coaching, or is this just another year of experience and maturity?
Greg Camarillo:  Definitely the experience has helped.  Learning from three receivers coaches, I have been able to take the best hints from each of them.  Starting with the new offense, though, everyone is starting from ground zero and building up from there.  It definitely helps knowing that everybody knows the same as you - you aren't behind in running the offense.

The Bootleg:  Last season, you got the reps, but it seemed that every time you hit the field, it was a running play.  Now you have a sense that you are really involved in the passing offense.  First of all, can you talk about any frustration or disappointment that you had, to do some of the things you did in practice but to not have the ball thrown at you in games?
Greg Camarillo:  It was definitely frustrating coming to the game situations, being all dressed, hyped and ready to go.  Then stand there and watch the game.  I was thankful to get in for the plays that I did.  Being in there for a bunch of run plays, then finally hearing a pass play, I got really nervous and tense.  I got a little bit flustered.  I probably didn't do as well as I could have on the two pass plays that I did run.  But this year, I feel a lot more at ease, with so many more repetitions.  It makes it a lot easier for myself.

The Bootleg:  You talked about three different receiving coaches in three years.  What are the differences from Coach Kelly you see that are helping you to become the best receiver you can be?
Greg Camarillo:  Probably the best understanding of the position, himself.  He has played the position and coached it for twenty-some odd years.  He has seen all kinds of defense and knows what it takes.  He has had a bunch of players he has taken suggestions from.  Like with lining up against the press, he says he has learned from watching the best players how to put your feet forward.  He learns from the players, which definitely helps us, translating those successes to us.

The Bootleg:  Can you come up with a couple of concrete elements of your game that you are doing better from this coaching, last spring and this training camp, to consistently get open and consistently come down with the ball?
Greg Camarillo:  Getting off the press defense - the bump and run.  I haven't been able to do that at all the past two years.  Coach Kelly has practice that every day, with one-on-one drills.  It adds a whole new element.  If somebody presses you and can hold you up at the line, you're stuck.  Once you get off that, it makes the route gets a lot easier.  And even when they play back, it adds a lot more confidence to your game that you can get there.

The Bootleg:  The other day, one of the more unusual plays I saw looked like you running an end-around.  Can you talk about that play?  You did pick up a lot of yardage on it.  Can you tell me what was going through your mind as you were handed the ball and took off?
Greg Camarillo:  When we first lined up, one of the defensive players lined up at the end and we were going to check out of it.  Then they ran out of time and the defense had to call a timeout.  I had never run a running play before in my life, so I was like 'There goes my one opportunity at a running play.'  We got back in the huddle, and they called it again!  So I'm like, alright, this is my one chance.  The play is called the T-fast, and I'm not known for being the fastest guy, so we were joking around and calling it a T-medium. (laughs)  They just handed me the ball, and I just ran with it I guess.  I saw a defender coming, so I tried to do a little bit of a move.  It wasn't much, but it got me past the first defender.  Then Nick Sebes threw a nice block downfield, so that gave me some extra yards.

The Bootleg:  If you were to step out of yourself and assume the role of a coach, and then look at Greg Camarillo objectively.  With the skills and plays you have seen for Greg in practice and on film, what would be the role you would prescribe for Greg in the offense.  What is the best use, in patterns and plays?
Greg Camarillo:  I would definitely not say deep patterns, but patterns that involve one or two deep cuts.  Situations like third and medium, where you don't need to go deep, you do need to make sure that you make the play - make sure that someone gets their hands on it.  Make it so I don't have to run past somebody to get to the ball, but give time for me to make the play.  Somehow sneak around the defender and give time to react to the ball and make the play.

The Bootleg:  For all the Stanford fans who are going to read this, and who don't know much about Greg Camarillo in the world of Luke, Ryan and Teyo - what is your forecast for what you can do this fall?  What are some personal goals you think you can reach?
Greg Camarillo:  Definitely be able to make some plays in games - every game actually.  Be consistent with a couple catches each game.  Surprise people with some big plays.  I know a lot of the focus will be on the three receivers you just named, but if they leave me uncovered or in single coverage, surprise somebody with that and make a big play.  That will open up the coverage and allow some other people to make big plays, as well.

The Bootleg:  You have had some spectacular practices and plays this camp.  Can you describe what it feels like to be able to produce at the high level you are right now?
Greg Camarillo:  Oh, it feels wonderful.  It gives finally a sense of accomplishment, that I can come out there and though I wasn't recruited with everybody else, to show that I can play with everybody else.  My teammates are behind me and have joked that I should hold out for scholarship negotiations.  (laughs)  Saying they're with me.  They think I've earned the right to play with a scholarship on this team.  I've proven myself to everybody, and they feel just as confident in me with the ball as with anybody.

The Bootleg:  You come here with the walk-on label, and so many people easily dismiss the value of a player in that role.  What was it like coming in with such low expectations, and then to rise to where you are right now?
Greg Camarillo:  I think I made it harder on myself than other people have.  When I first came in, I was out of shape.  And I came in with Nick Sebes, who is an incredible runner.  Next to him, I looked so slow, out of shape and tired.  I have always known I would be able to compete, once I took down the coaching and got everything figured out.  But my teammates have really helped me.  They have built my confidence up and expected me to do well.  They are not saying, 'You're a walk-on and you're not ever going to do well.'  They are always telling me, 'Nice play,' or 'Greg you can do this and that.'  They expect me to play like everybody else.

The Bootleg:  With the productivity you showed in the spring and are showing now, what is your own expectation as far as having that scholarship reward come your way?
Greg Camarillo:  My expectations for myself are to make plays in the game.  I do them in practice, and then get a little nervous thinking about the game, but just to know that if I can do against our DBs - the same skill or better than other Division I DBs - I can do that in a game.  And I feel that if I can show that in the game, I have a fair shot at a scholarship.  I know there are a bunch of receivers on scholarship on this team, but I feel if I can show I belong on the field with everyone else, that's my best bet.

The Bootleg:  If you could deliver a one sentence message to Coach Teevens when he reads this, what do you say to tell him, 'Coach, I deserve this?'
Greg Camarillo:  Just know that I have been working my butt off, doing all that I can, and when it comes to game day, I can make a difference for the team to win.  I know nobody has seen that yet - so far I haven't shown that yet.  I hope to show that to everybody, not just the coaches but also the team.

The Bootleg: How does it feel to be the local guy, to come from Menlo-Atherton and now rising up to be a playmaker with Stanford football?
Greg Camarillo:  It feels wonderful.  When we are in the Stadium for a scrimmage, I picture myself as a kid sitting in the stands.  Watching a Stanford football game or throwing paper airplanes from the top row.  To know that there may be someone from my high school watching, or someone I grew up with, it just adds an extra flare to the experience.

The Bootleg:  Hypothetically, suppose you are talking to another Menlo-Atherton kid, a high school senior, looking at coming to Stanford.  What is the case you make to him about why Stanford is the right place to be?
Greg Camarillo:  I would say there is no feeling like playing in front of the home crowd.  In high school, you know everybody in the stands and people are proud of you right after the game.  It's the same thing, on a much larger scale.  Your friends, your family - everybody is here to watch the game.  There are people you may have not met, but who have heard of you locally, and who are on your side cheering for you.  It's just a wonderful feeling knowing that part of that crowd is your crowd watching you, not just Stanford football.

The Bootleg:  Would you be excited to have the next Menlo-Atherton guy come on board - maybe even somebody who could be involved with the offense?
Greg Camarillo:  I definitely would.  You hear the shout-outs we do during stretching and warm-ups before practice.  It would be nice to shout out, "Where you at, MA?!"  It would be a nice feeling to get a response to that. (smiles)

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