Nick Sanchez Post-Spring Game Q&A

After having some difficulty stopping the offense in the first two scrimmages this spring, the Stanford defense and the secondary in particular had their best day Saturday in the Spring Game. With an interception and several big tackles, fifth-year senior cornerback Nick Sanchez was a standout. He talked one-on-one with us afterward about the day, Stanford's new defense, his injury and more.

The offense passed so well against you guys in the secondary the first two scrimmages, and then you fought back today.  Did Scott Shafer's playcalling help you guys give the offense a difficult look today?

"I think he did a good job of calling the right plays in good situations.  But I think more importantly, we just came out ready to play.  I felt like all spring, we have been playing a pretty solid job on defense, but the past two scrimmages, we didn't come out ready to play or something to show it.  It feels good to come out and end on a good note - show the fans and the offense that we can come out on gameday and play."

Can you put your finger on why that happened today?

"I think maybe we focused on it more.  Spring practice is kind of a grind, and scrimmages are on the weekend.  I think we just came out flat the last couple scrimmages, and I think we tried to focus more on making it like a game.  We wore our game jerseys and came out ready to play, and I think we showed what we've got."

This is such a different Spring Game format from what you've had your previous years here.  Did you enjoy this?

"Yeah, it was a lot of fun to move the ball and have a running clock.  There were special teams.  I thought it was more game-like than our past scrimmages.  It was a lot of fun, but it was pretty tiring.  I had a lot of fun today."

How would you sum up your spring?  You're getting used to new coaches and a new scheme...

"I think I did a pretty good job.  I've been battling some injuries, and I couldn't quite play with the burst I would like to have.  But I think I played technically sound.  I learned the defense pretty fast.  I have a good handle on it going into the off-season.  I think I did a pretty good job, and I'm going to keep getting better."

Hamstring injury?

"Yeah, it's hamstring-related."

What's the prognosis for when that will be better?

"I think as soon as we get some time off and I get rested.  It's been kind of a grind.  I think it's definitely going to get better in the off-season when we have a chance to rest and rehab it."

For people who were not here to observe today, can you describe the coverages that you guys are playing in this defense?

"It's a lot more aggressive defense.  Coach has a lot of confidence in us and allows us to press a lot.  It's a lot better because it slows the timing of the receivers down and lets us have a better chance to make plays on the ball.  As you can see, we had a lot of turnovers today.  This is an attacking defense and a lot of fun to play in."

Is this Spring Game an important and valuable confidence booster for you guys as a defense - to have this victory today carrying you into the off-season?

"Yeah, I think it was great that we finally came out ready to play.  We stopped the offense.  Going into the last couple scrimmages, we said, 'Maybe they're good and we're not so good.'  Today we showed that if we come out ready to play, we can shut anybody down."

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