"On the Spot" with DE Thomas Keiser [#94]
The Bootleg's "Emeritus" caught up with sophomore defensive end Thomas Keiser after practice Thursday. One of the most pleasant surprises of the 2008 season, the Wexford, Pennsylvania product emerged as a bit of a sack-master, recording six sacks in his first season of play. There have been a lot of terrific defensive ends at Stanford, but few can say they started their Cardinal careers with such promise.
On-Field, Post-Practice Interview on August 13, 2009
The Bootleg: We are here with 2008 Football Writers first-team freshman All-American Tom Keiser, a redshirt sophomore defensive end. Tom, can you talk about your evolution as a player, you are now in your third year in the program - how have you changed your body since you arrived? You were already close to your current size, right?
Tom Keiser: I came in pretty heavy, then my freshman year I lost a little weight and then after that season I gained it back, so I came into my first season playing at 251...I am now up to 258 or 259. I got a little leaner and I think I am built a little better than when I came in.
TB: So core training or what has been your focus in the offseason?
TK: You know, honestly, it has just been working hard in the weight room, doing whatever gets put in front of me and starting to go for it. I work with the guys in my position group, the defensive line guys train together.
TB: Are you allowed to divulge what your reps were from the team tests the other day?
TK: (Laughing) No, I can't!
TB: Let's talk about the defensive ends vs. the defensive tackles - are you "socially distinct" or is the entire defensive line a single community?
TK: The defensive line is really tight. We take a lot of pride in trying to be the strongest part of our defense and we work for it every day. We have ups and downs, but we always get out there and try to make the best of our situation. We have a lot of pride and we just go for it!
TB: Many fans think of you as a "pass-rush guy", noting your back-to-back sacks against San Jose State, which some may recall came in a three-man rush situation. That was your coming-out party. Talk about your run-stopping skills. Do you pride yourself equally there?
TK: Yes, definitely. You've got to stop the run to get the opportunities to go rush the pass I have always have confidence in it. It's just something that I know is the most important step for the defense first. If someone is running on you and they don't respect you, you have to stop that before you can go have fun with pass rush.
TB: Do you d-line guys take any special pride in getting to the quarterback with a three-man rush? Any extra credit awarded?
TK: Our coaches tell us to get to the quarterback no matter what you've gotta do - with a three-man rush, five-man rush, whatever it is, just get home!
TB: You will be stepping into big shoes left by Pannel Egboh - he was literally taking up a lot of space last year - Who are some of the young guys that will step up to help solidify our edge rotation?
TK: I expect (redshirt freshman) Chase Thomas to step up big. Obviously, we already have two solid guys in Erik Lorig and Tom McAndrew, we have good steady guys there. And I think Chase will be able to contribute. He has been working hard and I think he's gunning for a good season.
TB: You got a start at Notre Dame last year in just your second year in the program, Pretty heady stuff - the folks back home must have been fired up about that, right?
TK: Yeah, it was a great experience. That is a cool atmosphere to go play in and a great opportunity. Lorig was the other starter that day and he told me there isn't any difference between starting and playing. I went out there and started moving and I had a good time.
TB: Now you weren't the guy getting all chippy with the Irish players at the end of that game?
TK: (Laughing) Nah, I don't talk on the field at all! Not at all.
TB: Having gotten as much playing time as you did, do you feel that serves as an inspiration for the redshirt freshmen looking to contribute? You are proof positive that a young player, even on the line, can find his way onto the field early.
TK: Yes, definitely. I think our coaching staff tries to make the point that if you work your butt off and give it all you've got, then they are going to play you- and I took that to heart, training before my redshirt freshman season and I was just one of those guys that was able to do that. I know there are a lot of redshirt freshmen this year that are going to be doing the same thing.
TB: As an East Coast man, have you made that adjustment to the Left Coast? Are you feeling comfortable out here?
TK: I'm comfortable out here, but I think I will always be an East Coast/Midwest kind of guy.
TB: Not moving straight to LA when school and football are over?
TK: No, I'm not.
TB: Quick question - you are one of the guys who "works", right? It is fair to say "YOU WORK!"?
TK: Yes, "I WORK".
TB: Notice any difference from East Coast vs. West Coast football? Are things out here more or less intense?
TK: I got a little more of an "intense" feeling on the East Coast, but the "athletes" out here are a little better than in the East, so it sort of equals out. West Coast football just isn't what I was used to. It wasn't as much just "run at you", "smash-mouth" football all the time, you've got a little more "finesse" out here.
TB: Any opponents or tough opposing players up against whom you look forward to going?
TK: I look forward to going against everyone this year. I know everyone comes out and will try challenging us. It is just fun each week preparing for each opponent.
TB: We look forward to a big season.
TK: So do I. Thank you.
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