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ROSE BOWL GAME: MICHIGAN STATE v STANFORD


December 28, 2013


Ed Reynolds

Shayne Skov


PASADENA, CALIFORNIA

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ Obviously, we always will have high expectations for ourselves, but every single year we start off expecting to win the Pac‑12 and then getting to play the Rose Bowl.テつ Let's say we'd gone undefeated hypothetically, it's not guaranteed that we'd be playing in the National Title Game.
I think to some degree maybe, when it's all said and done, if after like we look back on our season, just the things that you always wish you could take back and change.テつ But like we're all incredibly happy.テつ I mean, shoot, five years ago we were happy to be in a Bowl game period.テつ It was like we were going to El Paso, and people were jumping like you would have thought we won the lottery.
So it's just we're incredibly grateful, and this is an awesome experience.テつ I think that every single football season there's some moments where you wish you could take back and there's other ones that kind of go your way.テつ I don't think it's possible to look back and think something went wrong.テつ This is an awesome ride we've had.

Q.テつ How is your health?
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ Great.テつ It's nice and day from last year.テつ Last year was really frustrating.テつ It's good to be back now and feel healthy.テつ It's been an incredible feeling.テつ And I really appreciate the opportunity to play again.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ Yeah, I'd say so.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ No, I felt pretty good right off the bat.テつ The first game was the first game I played without my knee brace.テつ It felt weird, and that took a while to get used to, but the knee feels good.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ He's just a freak, man.テつ I don't know how else to describe it.テつ From the moment he stepped on campus, it was kind of like this guy's not human.テつ He shouldn't be that big and that smooth.テつ Yeah, he's just‑‑ just got a natural gift, between his size and the ability to move.テつ Just kind of unreal, honestly, to watch.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ Since the first step in his pass set.テつ You can just see, from the moment he's moving, that most guys that size aren't smooth and agile on their feet.テつ It almost feels like he's dancing.テつ It's that calm and collected.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ O‑linemen, yeah.テつ He's one of the best O‑linemen I've seen, just naturally, and he's still young.テつ He's incredibly young.テつ I don't even think he's 20 yet.テつ I think he's going to keep getting better.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ Quiet, kind of goofy kid.テつ Not quiet.テつ I wouldn't say quiet.テつ He's goofy.テつ Kind of like a calm swagger, demeanor to him, a jokester at the same time.テつ We're always kind of joking around, because he's the biggest kid, that he's kind of a bully.テつ Not that he's a bully, but he should be.
I'll be out at class and see him, and I try to bump him and trip him from behind, little stuff to mess with him and keep him humble.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ I mean, I think there's a tremendous excitement.テつ I think‑‑ I mean, Yankey and Cam both decide whether they can come back or not.テつ We might have the best, deepest O‑line ever.テつ Just there's tons of talent.テつ I think that's it's really exciting, and guys‑‑ we're well aware of the ability and the capacity of our offensive line moving right now and into the future.
I think that‑‑ I mean, we're stacked in a lot of positions.テつ The O‑linemen, people are fighting, trying to get on the field.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ I think that you feel for your teammates, but at the same time, you have to keep your vision on what the team goal is.テつ I think, with that mentality, you recognize that, unfortunately, somebody is gone, is no longer an active participant, but you have to keep moving forward.
And so it's what can you do to help the team?テつ I was hurt before, but you have to recognize that it's no longer‑‑ it's not about you.テつ It's about the collective unit, and I think we all embrace that mentality.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ When Ben went down?テつ Oh, totally.テつ Certain guys are going to have to step up and play at that point.テつ Other guys are going to have to raise their game.テつ Whenever you lose someone as talented and as important a leader and integrated into your team, as I'm sure Max was and Ben is, you have to find ways to kind of, not replace them, but work and make an adaptation.
It's a big space and big piece of your team that's now missing, and you have to fill that in through collective work.

Q.テつ Reynolds has got a little bit of a Mohawk going.テつ Is that new?
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ He's had it all year.テつ We've had a joke all season that I'm big Ed Reynolds and he's little Shayne Skov.テつ People tend to get us mixed up because we're similar skin tones.テつ Different sizes, obviously, but people don't know us.

Q.テつ Who is that?
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ Random people.テつ Sometimes people call him me or they'll call me him.テつ We kind of have that joke.テつ We actually were going to come here today, if they gave us name cards, we were going to switch them and put little and big on them, but we didn't get a chance.

Q.テつ You've been giving a pregame oration every game, right?
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ Yes, I have.

Q.テつ What's the story going to be for this game?
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ Honestly, I don't think about it, not at all.テつ I think about it maybe the day before about what key points I think or what analogies or stories kind of apply.テつ I don't put much thought into it until kind of the day before when I'm getting ready to go to bed.

Q.テつ Did you ever surprise yourself with what you come up with?
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ Sometimes.テつ I don't know, I can also find inspiration.テつ Like Murph in the Pac‑12 title game probably gave me the biggest piece of information, how he felt going into the game was the biggest thing to say.
So it's not just‑‑ it's kind of what I pick up from the team and certain other guys on the team that are leaders.

Q.テつ What is that jumping over the center to get to the target?テつ Is that something that you've been doing for a couple of years?
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ I do it pretty frequently in practice.

Q.テつ But you can't get Kevin.テつ He's off limits?
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ Well, yeah, usually, if I do it, I don't actually tackle the quarterback.テつ I usually jump over the line and tackle the running back afterwards.

Q.テつ Has it backfired a couple of times?
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ They've gotten‑‑ our offense is pretty good with their snap counts, but there's been a couple of times where I've jumped and been plainly offsides.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ Yes, in practice.テつ In games, it hasn't‑‑ I think‑‑ I haven't tried the leaping over and missing it because usually it's in situations‑‑

Q.テつ You've mis‑timed a snap before?
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ I've missed it a couple of times, but I'm usually pretty good about it.テつ If I miss, Coach Mason is usually in my ear.

Q.テつ Speaking of Derek Mason, what is it about him that makes him so special?
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ I mean, he's just got tremendous drive, and he's really passionate.テつ That's an infectious kind of attitude.テつ And he knows what he's doing.テつ I think that we've got some things that we do defensively that we do them really well.テつ We limit explosive plays.テつ We stop the run.テつ And then he just‑‑ I think he does a great job of using the weapons we have every single year.
I think that, especially with our team defensively past two, three years, people have come and gone, things have changed.テつ We've got new guys, different skill sets, and he's done a tremendous job kind of changing and planning what we do to fit to the guys we have.

Q.テつ Does it surprise you at all?テつ Do you get in a situation where why are you doing that?
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ He does a great job.テつ Especially the year Ed was out and I was out last year, he does a tremendous job, if you can understand it, what we do and why we do it.
Certainly, there's certain times where I'm like‑‑ oh, for example, the sack against Notre Dame, like the fourth quarter, we ran a blitz that we usually run and it doesn't work, or it doesn't work in practice.
He was wide open, can't throw in blocks.テつ Nobody at all ever doubts or questions his football intellect.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ Oh, yeah.テつ He's a tremendous coach, and he's a great football mind.

Q.テつ Do you have any anecdotes?
SHAYNE SKOV: テつI would just say people know not to cross him.テつ Or not cross him, but kind of are always sharp and focused when he speaks because he's definitely a fiery guy.テつ That voice carries a lot in our room.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ Yes.テつ I didn't say that.

Q.テつ Don't worry.テつ I want to ask you a question about Shannon Turley.テつ During your rehab, I know that the trainers are the ones that‑‑
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ Oh, totally.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].テつ Tell me about him.
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ Shoot, he probably pushed me harder than anybody that I worked with.テつ At times we kind of‑‑ we had our arguments about things, but I mean, I wouldn't be back to where I am now without him.

Q.テつ Is he like Stanford's secret weapon?
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ I think so, to a degree.テつ If you ask any player, the stats don't lie.テつ We spend more time, triple the amount of time with our strength coaches than we do with our actual position coaches year round.
He's as fundamental to our mentality and our mindset as our coaches, and that doesn't even speak to the physical aspect of things.テつ So I think‑‑ I mean, he's definitely largely instrumental in how we prepare and how we, I guess, begin the season mentally and physically prepared to go.

Q.テつ This is your last game.テつ When will this all hit you?テつ Like before the game?
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ Probably a week after.テつ I don't know.テつ You're so caught up in the midst of things, I don't think you really have time to think about it all now.テつ Even the Pac‑12 Championship game, it didn't hit me.
So I'd assume that probably the day after the game when I'm no longer an active player, it will probably begin to sink in.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ Khalil Wilkes was adamant on going to Wake Forest at one point.テつ It's been a while.テつ It's probably Khalil.テつ Jamal came late.テつ But I think that we were all talking to each other for such a long time‑‑ whether the guys all came in or not, we all kind of knew this is where we wanted to be.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].テつ Talk about why he decided to come back.
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ I'm trying to remember.テつ I can't remember off the top of my head.テつ I know Ben gave a huge speech before one of our games because he's done for the year.テつ I think Gaffney references this as kind of like what he loves and why he came back.
He's one of my best friends.テつ We're all just glad to have him back.テつ He's clearly been like a huge weapon, a key to our success.

Q.テつ When he was‑‑ when you guys were recruiting him to get him to come back, what did you say to him?
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ We were all begging him to come back.テつ We all knew how talented he was.テつ He was running behind Stepfan, which is a terrific back, but we knew how much potential he had if he came back and joined us.
We didn't really find out.テつ I think he talked to a couple of us after the Rose Bowl or a little before the Rose Bowl, murmurs about him potentially coming back, and then obviously we were just ecstatic to have him back.
Part of our recruiting class, one of my best friends.テつ Just to have him back has been incredible.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ Just tenacity, I think.テつ A lot of times you have coaches that are fiery but kind of like controlling and like over the top, and it's not really genuine.テつ It's kind of more like they're just yelling at you.テつ I think that his hunger and kind of his‑‑ that kind of energy that he has and that like intense passion kind of obsession about it is in a positive light.
So really kind of impacts players with that kind of emotion.テつ I also think that he finds a way to convey everything to the players.テつ Between those two things, we have a clear understanding of what's expected of us and what we should do.
At the same time, we love what we do, and we want to do it like with that same kind of mentality that he does.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ I think it depends on who he is.テつ He kind of rides us through the seasons, as our defensive backs coach and as now our defensive coordinator.テつ With the increased responsibility and demand of his job, we've seen him step up in terms of his leadership.
And I think also just in terms of‑‑ as more of the game plan is dictated by his process, I think he's kind of become‑‑ I think he's learned more and more every single year.テつ I think it's been interesting to see.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ That's our mentality.テつ We're going to make you grind for everything you get.テつ At the end of the day, I'm in that kind of metaphor we're going to take you out to deep water.テつ If you really want it, you're going to have to struggle and swim all the way back.テつ So it's just the way we do things.

Q.テつ A lot of it is things you do when you have your pregame talks.テつ The defense seems to gravitate towards an idea.
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ Yeah, I think that we want to have‑‑ we want to be all of the same mindset.テつ So I think that, when we go to work, we want to be all on the same page.テつ We want to be all under that same mentality.
So I think that we think of ourselves as one solid unit, and so it has to be everybody moving forward in the same direction.

Q.テつ Is there a couple others that [ No microphone ].
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ Off the top of my head, not really.テつ There are some things that will always be kind of Stanford things, just our mentalities and our ideals.

Q.テつ Did you guys ever worry that people are going to‑‑ every year, I don't know, Stanford can't stop that Oregon offense.テつ Do you get tired of hearing about it?テつ Didn't you destroy them?
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ No, I think if you look at our success going to bowl games over the last four years, we haven't become content with what we have.テつ We've become hungrier moving forward.
The best way to describe it, to be great, this team has a position we're going to keep moving forward.テつ It's not just going out there and beating somebody or winning, it's about actually internally desiring to be great, to hold yourself to no lesser standard than to be dominant.
I think that, when it's internally driven, it's kind of external or extrinsic factors, don't really carry weight.テつ It's really about what we do and what we think.

Q.テつ The only thing you guys have proven that you can take care of business every time.テつ This first drive we talked about it a lot.テつ If you had to guess, if they're going to go away from tendency, have you gone through all these scenarios, well, what if they start like this?テつ What if they start like that?テつ I know you have to find some advantage.
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ I think there's so many different things they could do, especially with all the Bowl prep, you really can't.テつ I think what we do is we're focusing on stopping the run because that's probably our greatest asset.テつ If we can stop the run early, that forces them to pass the ball.
And then also just preparing for different trick plays because I guarantee you're going to get something funky a couple of times.テつ So more than anything, becoming fundamentally sound and guys doing little parts of their job.テつ Back side defensive ends keeping contained, not over pursuing the ball, safeties staying in coverage on play action, things like that.
There's so many different variables, unpredictable variables, that at the end of the day, they have to cover their own end first.テつ I think the first drive we have to adjust.テつ But I think those are the most important ways to prepare for all that.

Q.テつ One thing the quarterback is definitely coming out with because of you is various snap counts.テつ After that Arizona State game, he expects that he may need a little more creativeness.テつ Everyone saw that play over and over and over again, you jumping over the line, that they want to try to make you look bad if they run one of those on two.
SHAYNE SKOV:テつ I think I'm also a challenge.テつ Teams have tried to change their snap counts up.テつ It's a feel thing.テつ I seem‑‑ I mean, we'll see.テつ Probably first quarter I'll be more cautious, but moving forward I'll probably just try to get a feel for what they're doing, and I'll look forward to the challenge.




テつテつテつテつテつテつ Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
ED REYNOLDS:テつ I think they're just very variable in their offensive sets. テつThey can go tackle over.テつ They can go tight end wing.テつ They can spread you out and go four wide.
They can do a lot of different things because they have the athletes too.テつ They have a very athletic tight end.テつ Their running back is exceptional.テつ And then you have those tall wideouts on the outside where the quarterback has a lot of faith in them.テつ He'll throw the ball up and just let them go get it.

Q.テつ At any point, did you know this or was it addressed?テつ I would gather you watched all 13 games at some point.テつ Any cut‑ups or team by team?テつ Did it look like two different teams when you would turn on films against maybe the nonconference opponents, such as western Michigan, South Florida, versus what you saw towards the middle of the year versus Ohio State?
ED REYNOLDS:テつ Oh, yeah.テつ For me, when I want to break down film myself, I'll watch games first.テつ So I watched towards the end of the year.テつ So I watched like Ohio State.テつ I watched them play Northwestern.テつ I watched them play Nebraska.
And then I started watching the earlier games, and it's very evident that they started to find their identity come that later half of the year.テつ I think, early on, they were rotated quarterbacks.テつ When they finally decided they found their guy, they really tailored that system to him.テつ He's running it very well for them, distributing the ball.
And then they're not shy of‑‑ you know what I'm saying.テつ We're trying to establish the run, and I think that's something they're trying to do all the time.テつ It's what they did well against Ohio State.テつ It's what they did well against all their other big competition they played this year.テつ We're going to establish the run.テつ We're going to hit you over the top with some play action passes.
They kind of live off of the explosive plays, which they've been very good at up to this point.

Q.テつ Connor‑‑ you mentioned how they tailored the offense around him.テつ What are some of the strengths you noticed with him and some of the abilities?テつ What do you see them trying to do around Connor as far as the passing game?
ED REYNOLDS:テつ Yeah, I think‑‑ I think he's, from what I've seen of him, he's very good at not really staring down wide receivers, kind of scans the field.テつ They give him‑‑ I won't say they give him easy reads, but they make it to where he can get the ball out of his hands as quickly as possible.
Just get it into his athletes' hands and let him have the ball in space.
One thing he does very well is he's more athletic than people give him credit for.テつ They boot him out.テつ They run a lot of sprints, put him out in space.テつ And he can throw on the run.テつ He's very good at it.テつ He can do it either way, left or right.
He's good about not really taking any negative plays.テつ If he has to throw the ball away, he'll throw it away.テつ If he needs to find his hot read, we'll find his hot read.テつ And if he has that shot over the top, he'll take it.

Q.テつ Obviously, you guys have some great quarterbacks in the Pac‑12.テつ Where is Connor's arm strength?テつ How does that compare with what you've seen?
ED REYNOLDS:テつ I think that's right up there with us.テつ Like you said, we face a lot of good quarterbacks, a lot of elite quarterbacks in the Pac‑12, and he definitely has the arm strength to make those NFL‑type throws, whether it's from one hash to the opposite sideline with little out cuts, throw the big post.
He can throw‑‑ I mean, he throws‑‑ throws swap seams, swap curls.テつ He throws a lot of different combinations where he has to put some zip on the ball and fit it into tight windows.
If you watch the film, you've seen he's done that time in and time out.テつ So for us, as a defense, you have to be able to make him have to find those windows.

Q.テつ How do you get a guy like that‑‑ how do you get in that guy's head?テつ All we hear about is Stanford's front seven.テつ I don't know enough about the secondary to pass judgment.テつ We hear people talk about the Stanford defense.テつ They believe the susceptibility is in the passing game because you load up against the run.テつ What can you do about that?
ED REYNOLDS:テつ I think it's somewhat of a misconception how we're not‑‑ how people don't really consider us a complete defense.テつ I think, if you really look at us, our front seven is very‑‑ definitely has a lot of the more to it because we're top in sacks, tackles for loss, you name it.
The guys up front, we have Trent Murphy, Ben Gardner, Henry Anderson, Shayne and A.J., guys you met earlier, great players.
But it's not just the secondary who's playing pass defense.テつ You have us playing the coverage, and our front getting pressure.テつ If you have a quarterback that's back there and can just pass the ball, just seven‑on‑seven, it really makes it hard on us and the linebackers having to drop.
But it's been great this year, since I've been here, is we have a front that likes to get it hot.テつ Coach calls whatever down and distance, they can just let loose and let their hair on fire and just go after that quarterback.テつ It makes it hard for that quarterback to set his feet and make good throws.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
ED REYNOLDS:テつ Yeah, for us, Coach Mason and the rest of our coaching staff for the secondary is our big emphasis is not giving up the explosive play.テつ So everything is playing top down.テつ We're okay with giving maybe a 10‑yard, 15‑yard comeback.

Q.テつ But you're going to have to work?
ED REYNOLDS:テつ Yeah, if you really watch college football, a lot of teams can't do that.テつ They can't sustain 12, 14, 16‑play drives and get it in the end zone.テつ With that many plays, there's more opportunities for us to get off the field, us to cause turnovers, us to do what we need to do.
So that's one thing, but also at the same time, we as a secondary, we're not trying to just sit back there and relax on them.テつ We have to‑‑ we're not trying to make it easy.テつ So I think you'll see in this game guys playing hard, guys playing tough.

Q.テつ Maybe a little bit more proactive in the secondary, maybe downhill because of their nature?
ED REYNOLDS:テつ I feel like we won't change our identity for anyone.テつ We play the type of defense we do because that's what works and the record shows it.
I think you'll see a lot of balls contested, a lot of tight windows that Cook's going to have to find.テつ If he finds them, then we'll live to play the next down, and if he doesn't, then we'll make him pay, cause turnovers, and do what we do.テつ So it's going to be a good game.

Q.テつ Ed, looking back through your recruiting, who else did you consider?
ED REYNOLDS:テつ Mostly considered a lot of ACC teams.テつ My dad played add UVA.テつ That was high on my list.テつ UNC, NC state, Duke.テつ Took a quick look at Vandy.

Q.テつ So the high end academics?
ED REYNOLDS:テつ Yeah.テつ Took a quick look at Notre Dame and then took‑‑ I took a visit to Penn State but didn't really like Penn State.
My family's originally from North Carolina, so I was trying to‑‑ it wasn't so much trying to stay close to home, but it was nice to have family around.テつ Then I decided to come 2,000 miles away.テつ So that didn't really mean anything.

Q.テつ What stood out?
ED REYNOLDS:テつ About Stanford?テつ Just coming here and seeing the campus, it really grabs you.テつ For me, it was the combination of knowing that the guys on this team were driven by the same stuff I was, whether it was trying to get a great degree and at the same time playing great football.
At the time I was getting recruited, football wasn't great, but they were starting to make that jump.テつ The year before I got there, they went 8‑5 and played in the Sun Bowl.
And one thing my dad was telling me during recruitment, it was like, if you can, you want to go somewhere that has‑‑ you know, you're going to have like a decent quarterback for the next couple of years.テつ It just so happened I was on the team that had Andrew Luck.

Q.テつ He turned out okay, didn't he?
ED REYNOLDS:テつ He turned out okay.テつ So it was definitely a plus, but it was just‑‑ it really was the guys.テつ The guys on this team, the teammates that really grabbed my interest.

Q.テつ I think there's ten of you guys who had fathers that played in the NFL.
ED REYNOLDS:テつ Something like that.

Q.テつ I don't think any of them went to Stanford.テつ I could be wrong.
ED REYNOLDS:テつ No, one of them did.テつ Kodi Whitfield's dad, Bob Whitfield, went to Stanford.

Q.テつ So nine guys, and one went to Notre Dame, and your dad went to UVA.
ED REYNOLDS:テつ Yeah.

Q.テつ What is it about Stanford that they were able to not only recruit you guys, but they had to recruit your dads too to take them away from their allegiances like UVA?テつ What do you think that says?
ED REYNOLDS:テつ I think it shows how great of an institution Stanford really is.テつ It doesn't take much to sell Stanford, just being able‑‑ most of those guys are not from California.テつ I mean, Alex is from Virginia, North Carolina.テつ A couple guys from Washington.
So it's really one of those things where as long as‑‑ you know, I think‑‑ I can't speak for their dads, but for my dad, it was just go somewhere where you feel comfortable, where you feel you can excel as a player and as a student.テつ These are the years where you start to build your identity and become a man.テつ So pick the best place for you where you feel like you can do that, and it just happened to be here.

Q.テつ Did your dad go on the visit with you?
ED REYNOLDS:テつ He went on my official visit, yeah.テつ I went and saw them play Notre Dame.テつ It was like the Thanksgiving‑‑ it was like on our Thanksgiving, and Notre Dame was playing at Stanford, and Stanford ended up winning that game like in overtime or something.

Q.テつ Was there like a seminal conversation with your dad?テつ Did he kind of agree this is it?
ED REYNOLDS:テつ For me, I honestly didn't even tell, not even my family‑‑ I was like, okay, I like this place, I like this place, but I didn't tell anybody exactly where I was going.テつ But after that visit, I was pretty set on Stanford.
I was just like, yeah, Dad, it was a great place.テつ I feel like I could go here.テつ And he's like, well, if that's what you want to do, then that's what you want to do.

Q.テつ I would imagine, though, the perception would be dads have loyalty to their schools, but at the same time, I think, having played football and lived that life, they would have to kind of want you guys to be selfish, you know what I mean?テつ Because you'll like the fight song and all the allegiances, you realize after that that's‑‑ you know.
ED REYNOLDS:テつ I think it's mostly just‑‑ like you said, I think it's just allowing us to make our own story, not really have to just follow in theirs, but really write your own chapter at your own place and be your own man.
I thank my dad every day for letting me do that.

Q.テつ I've read enough about Stanford to know Steve Jobs' son goes there, diplomats' kids.テつ Is it unusual to have a dad in the NFL?
ED REYNOLDS:テつ It's not.テつ It's funny because I think, even during my recruitment, they're talking about I'm from East Coast, like in the South, so SEC teams.テつ And you go on campuses, and if you play football, it's kind of a big deal.テつ And then if your dad played in the NFL or at that school, it was like, okay, a legacy here.
At Stanford, there's so many great things going on besides football.テつ I mean, people are making new technologies.テつ People are trying to cure cancer right on campus.テつ And they're doing this as like their daily thing.
Like I go to practice.テつ You guys are going to a lab trying to cure the world.テつ And so it's‑‑ in like the large view, large perspective, it's really miniscule, but they respect us for our craft, and we respect foam their theirs.テつ It's great, you know, just working off each other.

Q.テつ You must like that you can build your own identity without any sort of outside influence?
ED REYNOLDS:テつ It's nice.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
ED REYNOLDS:テつ It is.テつ They kind of make sure of it.テつ Our freshman year, you have to live with a nonathlete.テつ So you're not‑‑ we don't have like any type of separate football dorm or any separate athlete housing.テつ You're in there.テつ You're living with the rest of the student body.
And then from there, you kind of just build relationships, and then depending upon what your major is, you meet different people.テつ And on our team, we have guys in so many different majors‑‑ political science, bio, mechanical engineering.テつ It's just you find people in those areas and you find people who are interested in the same thing you are, and you kind of just grow from that.
So I would think so.テつ I think we have interaction with the regular student body that most schools don't have.

Q.テつ Was there any selling point for you that you thought this would be a great defensive program?
ED REYNOLDS:テつ I think it was just‑‑ you know, like I said earlier, just the guys that I met, the Richard Shermans, Mike Thomases, Delano Howells‑‑ I feel like they were all trying to reach the same goals that I was, what I was hoping to do when I got to college.
And then right at the end of my recruitment is when the staff changed, and then, you know, it was guys‑‑ I got Coach Mason, a guy who has NFL experience.テつ He's coming from the Vikings.テつ And Coach Fangio, who was in Baltimore, now with the 49ers.
So I felt like for me it was a great chance to grow as a player and also have insight from the league from those guys.テつ It was great.
So I felt like, with that transition and the guys I knew that was coming on this team, I felt like we could definitely build something because, like you said, defense has definitely been overlooked before this last run.テつ It's been great so far.

Q.テつ Wonder if I might followup.テつ Has your dad been happy with your choice?テつ You've had a great career.テつ Has he said anything?
ED REYNOLDS:テつ It was one of those things like, I think, after last year's‑‑ after last year's Rose Bowl game because last year was really the first year I really had a significant role, my first year starting.テつ He was like, You know, you made the right choice, and I was like, I think so too.テつ It's one of those.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].テつ You have a reputation as being able to read what the quarterback is doing.テつ How would you evaluate the effect your injury has had on your development as a safety, watching film and seeing the game from the sidelines perspective?
ED REYNOLDS:テつ Yeah, I mean, it's one of those things where it was a blessing in disguise almost.テつ I mean, I wouldn't wish any type of injury on anyone, and, of course, I didn't want to.テつ But it definitely‑‑ it gave me time to sit back and grow my football IQ, you know, become a real, real in depth student of the game.
I'd go meet with Coach Mason whenever I could, really learn how to watch film.テつ Freshman year, you kind of come in‑‑ I wasn't redshirted.テつ So you're kind of thrown in the fire a little bit.テつ Like, all right, these are the cut‑ups.テつ This is what you have to do.テつ But to really sit back and learn how to break down tendencies and watch quarterbacks.
During practice during that time, I would just sit back, and if there was ever a quarterback, I would watch the quarterback's drop‑backs.テつ To learn the quarterback's mechanics in that way is one thing that the order Coach Shaw would always emphasize to me when I was hurt.
And I think just being able to, during the games and the home games, being able to sit in the box with Coach Mason and hear why he was making certain calls and how he was feeling looking at just the game as a whole, as a whole defense and not just from my positional perspective, it was definitely a plus for me.

Q.テつ You talked about Coach Shaw, how he helped you out.テつ What did he preach?
ED REYNOLDS:テつ One thing for him, he likes to make references to baseball.テつ It's always, as a middle hole safety, always reading the quarterback, and it's a one‑on‑one battle.テつ Everything else is going on.テつ You have a rush in front of you.テつ You have linebackers dropping.テつ You have corners playing on the outside.テつ But really, when I'm playing the hole, it's really me versus the quarterback, and that's how I look at it.
And he was always talking about how, once you get your reads, don't second guess yourself.テつ Just steal second.テつ That's kind of his thing.テつ Going and stealing second, believing in what you see and just going for the ball and being able to understand hitches in the quarterback step or when the quarterback is taking his hand off the ball or angles of his shoulders, whether it was an intermediate pass or he was going deep.
Just little things like that that he kind of‑‑ he would drop dimes of knowledge on me during practices whenever he was coming out, which is a huge help for me in the long run.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].テつ A lot more offense against this defense.テつ Would you agree with that, or do you think that's a by‑product of last year?
ED REYNOLDS:テつ Yeah, I think it's a product of just our defensive philosophy.テつ Coach Mason and our defensive staff preach stop the run, defend the pass, and always play top down.テつ So for us, as a‑‑ you know, as back end players, it's just not giving up the explosive plays.
A lot of teams in college football live off the explosive, the 40, 50, 60‑yard touchdowns, long run or touchdown pass over the head, and that's how they‑‑ teams are scoring so quickly, and that's how‑‑ that breathes life into a football team.
So with our front seven and our pass rush that we can get going, quarterbacks can't stand back there and look for deep routes.テつ We're capping off all wide receivers.テつ So quarterbacks are forced to kind of find their outlets or throw shorter passes.
For us, it's just rallying to the ball, making sure we limit the YAC, and play the next down.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
ED REYNOLDS:テつ Right.テつ It's huge, it's huge.テつ It's one thing we've done a lot of and has been an emphasis through camp, is just being able to tackle in open space, but also feeling like you're not by yourself.テつ If you feel like you're in a one‑on‑one, just know that there's someone rallying to the ball to help you.
All you can do, if you can make the tackle, make it.テつ If you can't, just hold up long enough to where the posse can hunt and guys are running the ball.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
ED REYNOLDS:テつ I think you can't‑‑ as a team, we can't‑‑ we can't not, you know, remember last year.テつ It was a great experience.
But for us in this preparation leading up to this Bowl game, it's only been about this one game, about Michigan State, about January 1, 2014, and this Rose Bowl game, and that's it.テつ That's been our focus, and it will continue to be that way until we suit up and we play.

Q.テつ [ No microphone ].
ED REYNOLDS:テつ I mean, it definitely is a topic that will always come up, especially when you talk to alumni or donors, but in the end, as a team, we kind of just blur those out, and you focus on the task at hand, and that's all we can do.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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