Stanford football assistant coach Greg Roman will have more duties this season as he has been promoted to Associate Head Coach and assistant head coach in charge of the offense. But his day to day is still working with the tight ends and tackles. I caught up with him after the spring game and had a little discussion about spring practice and especially the young and talented tight ends Stanford appears to have.
“The young tight ends are making a lot of progress this spring. That was definitely one of the focuses of the spring and they are definitely coming along, Levine (Toilolo), Zach Ertz, Jordan Najvar and Ryan Hewitt as more of a fullback type of player. We really made some strides as the spring went on. In 15 practices, in practice one, five, 10 and then 15 you really saw a dramatic difference and they are starting to figure some things out. It will be interesting this year, we are going to have some great competition and the ability to mix and match some personal groups.”
Q: Talking about the the tight end position, you have some of the tallest trees I have ever seen (chuckle). Talk about the challenges and advantages that the height plays for them.
“Every guy is a little bit different.. Some guys are long legged. Some guys have a longer torso. The challenge is getting guys with really long legs to be able to bend and move in a bent knee position, creating a position of positive leverage. For a guy like Levine, he bends extremely well for a guy that tall. Every guy that tall can not bend and create leverage like he can. Now he is learning how to play low to high as we call it. Play into a defender in a position of positive leverage and then being able to use that 6’8” to an advantage and uncoiling that spring and lifting somebody up. He is getting it.”
Q: When I first saw him I said how are you going to be able to do that, and then I saw him play and said, wow.
“He has the ability to bend really well for a guy like that and that is one of the things we always look at in a kid. Zach Ertz and Coby Fleener are a little bit more linear. Zach is doing a great job. He has an attention for detail, is really passionate about football and doing things the best he possibly can. Jordan Najvar is more of a long torso person, so he can get low. So now the challenge for him is to bring his hips through and do the same things. They are all a little different. And after you give them certain base principles, it is a matter of tweaking it to each guy’s types of needs for them to be successful in the trenches and in the passing game, getting off the line of scrimmage, getting through the linebacker level.”
Fleener and Reuland have been injured, I assume they will be okay for training camp?
“They will be ready to roll.”
Q: You don’t want injury, but it must be great for the youngsters getting all the extra reps with Coby and Konrad out?
“It was outstanding. We tried to throw the kitchen sink at them, Baptism by fire. That is the best way with guys like that. You are still taking them through it step by step process and at the same time making them think.”
Q: Looking at offense as a whole, what did you think this spring?
“I thought it went really well. It could always be better, but I thought a lot of young guys really made some strides. We spent a lot of time working on our passing game and I think we got a lot done there. I think we are still working on continuing to develop a tough physical style of football that can be multi-dimensional. It was a very physical spring across the board. It can always be better and that is what we are going to strive for in training camp.”
Four months until training camp I assume it is off on vacation now? Time to kick back, relax and do a lot of nothing? (laugh) What is the plan now?
“We wouldn’t do that if they let us. We will come back and really evaluate the spring and where we are at. We will all hit the road and start recruiting like wild men and start to narrow down and tweak and branch off and find new things we experimented with. Just move forward. We are going to get hot and heavy in recruiting.”