"On the Spot" with LB Will Powers [#42]

Following last Saturday's Practice #6, The Bootleg's "Emeritus" caught up with senior "Sam" LB Will Powers, a local product from San Mateo's Serra High School and a veteran on the improving Stanford defense. It is for some a bit confusing that a guy named "Will" will be playing at the "Sam", but all we care about is how Powers helps us dismantle opposing offenses and get to a bowl game in 2009!

"On the Spot" with LB Will Powers [#42]

Following last Saturday morning's Practice #6, The Bootleg's "Emeritus" caught up with senior "Sam" linebacker Will Powers , a local product from San Mateo's Serra High School and a veteran who managed to survive the harrowing transition from the Harris experiment to the Harbaugh exuberance. It is for some a bit confusing that a guy named "Will" will be playing at the "Sam", but all we care about is how he helps us dismantle opposing offenses.

On-Field, Post-Practice Interview on Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Bootleg: We're here with senior "Sam" linebacker Will Powers, the "last hurrah" for you, right, Will? You were a first-team All-Pac-10 Academic selection last year, making mom proud! You play the strong-side or "Sam" linebacker position for us and this is the last fall camp for you, do you feel a sense of urgency?

Will Powers: Yeah, and it is not really a sense of urgency any more, that was a "sense of urgency" the last couple of years - now it is a "sense of desperation "!

TB: That's a good line!

WP: Actually, it's not my line, it's Coach Harbaugh's! This year, a lot of things are coming together and as you said, it is "the last hurrah", so it is indeed an exciting time, a chance to put ourselves in position finally to send these seniors out with a bowl.

TB: Now, you are healthy, ready to roll. There is now some depth in the linebacking corps. Coach Buh has talked about wanting "freaks" at the "Sam" position, do you qualify? You are a pretty big dude, got some height and range.

WP: It's hard to talk about yourself like that, but certainly the other guys he has put at that position, I guess I definitely would qualify. Alex (sophomore Alex Debniak) is, and he runs non-stop - I don't see him ever getting fatigued out there, he's got a motor that just goes and goes. He's coming along very well. 

TB: You are a veteran now and you want all these young players coming in, but it does push the older guys, right?

WP: Oh yeah, the competition is only good for the team. If you go into every practice looking at a guy always on your heels, you've got to be that much sharper on what you have to do. Ultimately, it is about the team winning and what is best for the team.

TB: A lot of team experience problems with the divide between veterans and underclassmen, but Stanford seems to be pretty successful in avoiding such things. Is that because of a tone set by Coach Harbaugh?

WP: Actually, I think that is more specific to Stanford in general. Looking back at trips I have taken to different places, when I was getting recruited, you saw a lot of division, but when you come to Stanford - there are no cliques here,  from incoming freshmen to Allen Smith, a sixth-year guy!

TB: No one is calling you "Pops" yet?

WP: (Laughing) I feel like they should be, but that is actually (CB) Kris Evans, we call him "Gramps", even though he is not the oldest guy on the team!

TB: We have seen good things from this growing group of talented running backs, who is the hardest guy to bring down, is it the "shifty" guy or the "tough" runner that is hardest to stop?

WP: They are both tough types, but you have to give it to Toby [RB Toby Gerhart in case you just landed from Mars]. Right now he has the yellow jersey so we can't even touch him. That makes it difficult.

TB: Are you "happy" about that or a little "disappointed"?

WP: (Laughing) A little bit of both! Toby is just a guy that takes a whole defense to bring down and "Patch" (RB Jeremy Stewart) behind him, the "shifty guy" you talk about, they are both tough to bring down and are going to do great things for us.

TB: You span a couple of coaching administrations, you experienced the Harris Era... Aside from the coaching part of it, what has changed the most in your mind as far as the atmosphere currently surrounding this football program?

WP: It went from our having a team of players that were kind of pulling in different directions, in what they expect from each other and from the coaches, to a team now that is all pullin' in the same direction. We have a firm understanding of what it will take to win. I think what separates us from years past is this thorough commitment to it, with no one lagging behind. 

TB: We play a 4-3, but it become a 5-2 as we plug the run, do you think of yourself now as a quasi-lineman now? You aren't getting out in space as much (covering those "smash routes"!)

WP: I check my weight every once in a while just to make sure I am still a linebacker!

TB: What are you logging in at now?

WP: Uh....240....-ish! It's not bad. The position they have found for me at the end, not at the "end", but at the line of scrimmage on the tight end, is something that fits for me, because it is a little bit of both - I like to fight those tight ends.

TB: But you can still get home, ring up a few sacks, right? What are your personal goals for this year?

WP: Same thing everyone else on this team wants - to be "the best". I want to be the very best at my position in the Pac-10. But we are stacked with guys that can easily do that, win all-conference honors. Unfortunately, the biggest factor that determines that, at least in years past it has been, is winning. And when we do that, they (those that vote for conference honors) will look at guys like Masifilo, Lorig, Keiser and more - they're all All-Pac-10 guys. They haven't received the respect that I feel they should get.

TB: Our defensive line is pretty solid across the board. Big, strong guys, and all - and yet the linebackers and secondary have been brought into question by some observes - we just talked to Michael Thomas about combating that impression. The secondary wants to avoid being a weak link, is it safe to assume the backers feel the same way?

WP: We are using this camp to firm up our defense and I really don't see that as nearly as much of a concern as I guess some people felt in the spring - because we have guys who can play. The defense we have going in now is solid! Sure, we can fine-tune some things, but I have total confidence in the guys behind me and the guys next to me. 

TB: You still love football, you have an interest in continuing to play after your college career?

WP: This season is the focus, whatever happens beyond, it will take care of itself.

TB: Will, why don't we get more local guys playing at Stanford (recognizing that we added two players from Bellarmine and one from Menlo-Atherton this year)...

WP: We should, we should.

TB: Is it the quality of football or because we recruit so well nationally?

WP: I don't know, I think the guys that qualify to get in here are of national standard and so if they happen to be local, that's great, but we just want to find guys who are going to be "Stanford Men" and we have done that.

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