Interactive Q&A: Owen Marecic

In this week's Interactive Q&A, The Bootleg caught up with junior fullback Owen Marecic, one of the prime figures in the Cardinal's vaunted rushing attack. Read on as he discovers the Tunnel Workers' Union, and talks about his multifaceted role on offense, mentality on defense, and interest in infectious diseases.

Note: It's hard to convey emotions in a Q&A format. It should be noted that Owen Marecic's off-field demeanor was the exact opposite of his aggressive style of play. He was tremendously laid-back, and smiling, if not laughing, nearly every time he spoke. As much should be noted when you're reading his responses.

Q: Is there anybody that you model your play after?

A: My favorite football team is the Pittsburgh Steelers, and I really like Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu. I really like how they play the game.

Q: Because they're physical?

A: Yes, they're physical, but they also have a lot of respect for the game and they have fun doing it. You see Hines Ward and he's always smiling, having a good time out there. Troy Polamalu—he's just so focused and in the game. If it's anyone, it's those two guys.

Q: Anybody at fullback?

A: Those two guys are the big ones.

Q: In general, college football seems to be going toward the spread offense, which deemphasizes the use of the fullback in a traditional role and yet here you are, playing in that traditional role. Do you have any thoughts on that—the evolution of the game, but also where you fit into that?

A: Football really comes down to preparation and execution. Anybody can line up and play the game if they put the time in, put the preparation in, and have the confidence and belief that they can get the job done. Any offensive philosophy can work these days as long as you have the guys that believe in it.

Q: This year in particular, you've been catching some balls out of the backfield and have been showing some nice yards after the catch ability. Was this a talent that was always right there or was this something you developed?

A: I definitely haven't been known for my hands. I try to develop it a little bit. I feel like it's a responsibility to the team to mix up the offense a bit and throw something new at the defense every once and a while. They won't expect me catching the ball.

Q: Speaking along those lines, you got a handoff just last week. How do you feel about being the ball carrier?

A: It was fun to run the rock a little bit. But having a running back like Toby, I'm fine having him take the ball as much as he wants. He can do a lot with it.

Q: How would you describe your relationship with Toby?

A: I'd say it's cohesive. He makes me look good and makes my blocks look right. I love playing with a guy like that.

Q: Given the physicality of the Stanford running attack, you're taking a beating in each game. How do you recover from it?

A: Sleep. Just rest a little bit. Stretch out, then get ready to go next week.

Q: Earlier you were talking about not being known for your hands. Fullbacks, though, aren't very well known in general. But now, the entire offense has started to get wider recognition. How do you feel about fullbacks flying a bit under the radar, but also now having some national press for yourself and the offense as a whole?

A: All the attention…we can't pay much attention to that. As a team we haven't gotten to where we want to go. We're on the way but we just have to keep focused. The season isn't even halfway over yet. We just need to stay focused and prepare each week if we want to keep it up.

Q: Speaking of preparation: how much time do you get on offense as opposed to defense when you're practicing?

A: I flow back and forth. I spend more time with the offense, since I know I'll be playing there. I haven't had the opportunity to play a lot on defense. Our linebackers are playing well, doing awesome. So I try to get some time over there just to keep it fresh and keep learning. I have to keep learning the defense.

Q: What do you enjoy about defense as opposed to offense?

A: It's a different feel. It's a puzzle you have to figure out. On offense, you know the play. You have to execute it. On defense it's reaction, it's very instinctual, so I like that raw feeling to it.

Q: Coach Harbaugh mentions you in pretty much every single press conference. You seem to be one of his favorite players. Can you describe your relationship with coach a little bit?

A: I have a lot of respect for Coach Harbaugh. It's great. It's a lot of fun to play for him because his enthusiasm and his energy are always going to pick you up. Going to school at a place like Stanford, you have all the academics on one side of Campus Drive, but once you cross the street you have to flip the switch, and it's all football. Having a coach like Coach Harbaugh, he makes that transition really easy and makes you excited for meetings and for practice.

Q: Is there one play in particular that stands out in your mind from this season? One thing that you like to run, or one thing that's happened?

A: Chris Owusu's kickoff returns have been the biggest thing. We're gearing up on the sideline, ready to go out there and take the field, and then he zips on by and our work is done. We can go grab a water or a Gatorade and get ready for the next series.

Q: Is there one particular block that stands out for you?

A: Not really. There has been a bunch of them.

Q: Any personal goals for this year?

A: Definitely. To keep focus and get to the top of that hill. Get to a bowl game and, if we really reach our potential, playing for a possible Rose Bowl berth.

Q: Who do you see as your toughest roadblock on that quest?

A: Oregon State this week. Every week now, we're in the fortunate position where our season is on the line. In college football these days, every week is huge.

Q: You're going to be in your home state this weekend. Any big fan groups coming out to see you?

A: My parents are coming down, and some neighbors and some friends, too. It should be nice.

Q: Stepping away from football for a second. You're a Human Biology major. Any outside passions, academically or otherwise, that you get hyped up for that doesn't include football?

A: Geez, anything but football? Football takes up a lot of time. My mom has gotten me into infectious diseases. That's what I'm trying to get into with HumBio. Just trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. I read a book about the Ebola outbreak in the United States. It was called "Virus Hunters", by CJ Peters, and I found it really interesting.

Q: You said your mom got you into it. Is she a doctor?

A: She's just really interested—she's studying nutrition at school.

Q: You mentioned figuring out what you want to do in life. There is a next level of football. Have you received any feelers from the NFL? Where do you see yourself in terms of the professional football scene?

A: Right now I have to become the best college football player that I can become, and come out everyday and put the work in and get technically sound. I'm still in search of that perfect practice and that perfect game where I feel really comfortable and confident in my technique. So, right now, my focus is on becoming the best college football player I can be, and at the end of the day that may put me in a position for something like the NFL in the future, but that's not my focus right now.

Q: Last question: Does the Tunnel Workers' Union give full membership to the backfield?

A: What's that?

Q: The offensive line deemed themselves the "Tunnel Workers' Union."

A: Is that what they're calling themselves?

Q: Apparently. People were wondering if they let you and Toby into the mix.

A: I don't know, that's their exclusive group, I didn't even know about it! I've never even heard of it before. They're keeping it a secret club.

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