One-on-one with Alex Fletcher: Part I

Fifth-year senior center Alex Fletcher reflected on his Stanford career in an exclusive interview with's Daniel Novinson. In Part I, hear what he's doing to prepare for the NFL, his thoughts on returning for a fifth year and which Stanford NFLer gives him advice. Read on!

One of the things I couldn't help but learn as a Stanford football beat reporter was which players would talk after losses. Trent Edwards was the best – always gracious, always accepting blame that wasn't rightfully his, always optimistic irrespective of reality – and I think that speaks volumes about his personality and why he's a starting NFL quarterback.

After Edwards graduated, Alex Fletcher became the new go-to guy for us reporters. Of course, this probably won't surprise any Stanford fan, as Fletcher has been outgoing from Day One, and a guy who would shoot straight with you and not just give you clichés. So, Alex, I think I speak for the whole press corps when I thank you for speaking your mind in those postgame locker rooms, because if it were just us and a mumbling Walt Harris, we still might be trying in vain to finish our articles. And, on a more serious note, I think I speak for the entire Bootleg community when I wish you the best of luck in the NFL, or whatever comes next.  

On training for the NFL:
Since school ended, I've been working out with Joe DeFranco in New Jersey. It's actually cool stuff; you can see him on YouTube. I'm really trying to get a lot bigger. I've always played at around 295 and I really want to be 305 or so when it's all said and done. When I'm a pro, I want to be 305.

The Bootleg: I've heard that 300 pounds is a sort of magic number for linemen when it comes to the NFL Draft. A guy who weighs 302 and a guy who weighs 299 are essentially the same size, obviously, but NFL GMs will feel a lot more comfortable drafting the 302-pound guy, for whatever reason.

On his training schedule:
Most of these combine things haven't really started yet, so I'm just really lifting hard. Since I've been on break, I wake up at 8 a.m. and I drive to New Jersey. I live on Long Island, so it can be pretty bad, taking the George Washington Bridge. Then I work out with Joe for two hours and drive home. We're doing a lot of heavy weights to build more muscle mass.

On whether he has an ideal NFL team or system:
I'm open to a lot of different things. Me being 305, I think the whole key to the NFL situation is to not have five or ten teams like you, but to have a way to have the most teams like you. Putting on more weight lets me appeal not only to zone-blocking, but also to more man-blocking teams. I just want to be the interior swing guy, and play either guard or center.

On coming back his senior season:
I had a fifth-round grade [last offseason]. I had a fifth-round grade and I was smaller, so I think I improved a lot. Obviously, a lot of things go into being center, and you're not going to see too many go off the board super-high but there a lot of mid-round centers. And I think at end of day, I think I proved that I'm there this year by coming back and playing center whole year. Obviously, a big thing is playing multiple positions and I think I proved that too.
It's kind of the hard part is over now and I'm just seeing whatever I have to go to. I'm working my tail off to do the easy stuff, the training. The season was hard part, now it's just lifting and running.
The Bootleg: Sometimes the NFL graders tend to be overly conservative, but it's hard to argue that Fletcher did anything but improve his stock by returning for a fifth year. Then again, mock drafts show Fletcher going in the seventh round or undrafted this April. In terms of versatility, Fletcher primarily played guard his first few seasons on the Farm, but started all 12 games at center in 2008.

On whether a Stanford degree will improve his standing in NFL GM's eyes:
I think that obviously, going to Stanford will help you. I think it helps def as an offensive lineman, being a Stanford offensive lineman, and being able to play in Coach Dalman's very pro scheme, which is the zone blocking so many teams run, gives you an advantage. I think the Wonderlic is a huge thing which will help.

On advice Stanford NFLers give him:
I talk to Will Svitek all the time. I'm really close to him. He just got hurt this year, but will play next year [he's currently a free agent, cut by the Chiefs]. He's an offensive lineman now, and was a defensive lineman in college.
He says it's all about staying healthy over the course of a long season. He repeats that a lot. He's a big guy in terms of the weight room, and has really encouraged me to get big as I can too.

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