O-Line Talk with Captain Kirk

A huge focus of Stanford's offense tracks back to the big guys up front who make the holes and protect the quarterback, and the cornerstones of Stanford's fine play have been found out at the tackles. Left tackle has been manned like a rock by three-year starter Kirk Chambers, and The Bootleg recently had a cance to sit down with the junior. Read on for talk ranging from the NFL to blocking strengths to coaching changes...

The Bootleg:  Is the difference we saw on the line between the BC and San Jose games derived from the difference in the D-lines you faced, or was it a real step up in execution?
Kirk Chambers: Some of both. There is a little difference in what the teams could do, but we just executed a lot better. Unfortunately we still had a few holding penalties in this last game, but you do have to realize that they had some great individual speed outside.

The Bootleg:  How do you rate your own individual peformances between the two games>
Kirk Chambers:  Kwame and I both did a good job outside.  There was one play I wish I have back, but that is always going to be the case.

The Bootleg:  Are you looking forward to the battle against ASU's ends this Saturday, including Terrell Suggs?
Kirk Chambers:  (laughs) It's an epic battle we have.  This is the third year that Suggs and I have gone head-to-head.  He's just a great defensive end – a player who needs to be respected.  He is someone who uses his speed to his advantage and can quickly change direction.

The Bootleg:  So what is the game plan to stop or minimize someone like that?
Kirk Chambers:  We want to use our strengths: getting into him and engaging him up-close.

The Bootleg:  With all the talk of the new offensive scheme, that obviously translates into different play and responsibilities for the offensive line.  How are you reacting to the changes, if there are any?
Kirk Chambers:  There are some changes in terminology, but there are not as many changes as you might think.   I do really like how Coach Teevens and Coach Sanford pulls the tackles this year. (big grin)

The Bootleg:  How did it impact you to see someone so immensely talented like Eric Heitmann drop from the third round to the seventh round with the spread of injury rumors just days before the NFL draft?  Is that scary, or a wake-up for you about the fragility of an NFL future?
Kirk Chambers:  First, I have to say that the whole NFL draft thing seems like an oasis in the distance – it's way out there.  But that was really tough to see happen to Eric.  Still, it shows you that if you can play, someone will have you.  Maybe he was drafted in the seventh round, but look at where he is with the Niners today.  That's exciting.

The Bootleg:  How did your Mormon mission change you from when you left to when you arrived at Stanford?
Kirk Chambers:  I hope I was a little more mature than when I left.  I learned a lot of discipline, from hitting the pavement every day, and maintaining my schedule.  And it didn't hurt me much when I came back because I came back in the winter.  I had a few weeks of conditioning, and I felt pretty good for spring ball.

The Bootleg:  You have varying levels of experience in the interior of the line, though all veterans in different ways.  How do you rate the line's abilities today?
Kirk Chambers:  I thought that Dusty [Stimson] and Brian [Head] did a great job verus San Jose State – they really picked it up.  Greg Schindler is an excellent, big, strong kid.  We call him "The Diesel."  He plays nasty and really likes to drive people into the ground.  You can always depend on Kwame's consistency, and Sully is legit.  He has been consistently improving throughout his career, and I really think against San Jose State he dd an excellent job.

The Bootleg:  You talk about being nasty, but it is easy to carry the conception that Stanford's offensive line is a bunch of very intelligent and very mild-mannered guys.  That's easy to understand if you have conversations with yourself, Kwame or Eric Heitmann, for example.  I guess I'd first ask if you disagree with that, but if not then is there some nasty switch that you guys turn on when you get to games?
Kirk Chambers:  We try to turn it on.  We like to go downfield and drive piles and knock people around.  You might think that, but I think our game tape is our resume for how we can play in games.

The Bootleg:  The generally held belief is that Stanford has not recently been that strong of a pass-blocking team, but instead really been a dominating run-blocking team.  If true, that presents some unique challenges for a team that is trying to use more of the pass in its offense.  How do you react to that perception, and do you see improvements where the pass-blocking for you guys is rising up to the level of your run-blocking?
Kirk Chambers:  If you look back at the Rose Bowl year, Stanford only gave up seven sacks all year.  Todd Husak was the master at getting the ball off quickly, and that helped.  Last year, Randy moved all around in the pocket, which presents some different challenges.  This year, I think we're a pretty balanced team who can do it all well, and I hope to have the best of both team's successes.

The Bootleg:  There have been a lot of false starts and holding penalties in the first couple of games.&nbs

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