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August 15, 2012Cardinal Sports Report caught up with Randy Hart after practice on Tuesday to discuss the state of Stanford's defensive line. Hart discussed the depth at the position as well as the progress of the true freshmen.
Cardinal Sports Report: To start, Coach Shaw mentioned that David Parry has already been assigned Tyler Gaffney's old scholarship. How has David developed in the past few years here?
Randy Hart: He came in the program first off as a good football player. He chose Stanford and Stanford's very lucky to have David. He's a very smart young man. He's dedicated to what he does and he works hard. As a result he's great to have around. He pushes the guys around him and he elevates the play of everybody here and as a result he's going to play a lot of football when he's here.
CSR: This is Terrence Stephens' final camp on The Farm. How has he continued to grow on and off the field?
RH: Maturity has set in a little bit. And also the concern and probably fear of, 'Oh my god it's my last year.' He's done a great job of preparing himself for this year. He's set the table with good preparation, he's done well in the weight room, which he always has. He's learning more football and again he tends to take a positive role with the team, so we're excited to have him.
CSR: Have you determined a starter at Matt Masifilo's old defensive end spot?
RH: It'll still be open. Henry Anderson's doing a great job right now. We expect Josh Mauro to do a great job, Chuck Hopkins to do a great job. Those are positions I believe we'll play more players this year as we settle some youngsters down, get them out, get them playing hard. I think the tempo of college football has dictated that more often you have to play more people, so I don't think we're concerned with playing just those ones out there. We're going to try to get the twos and get the good roll around going.
CSR: But Anderson's the leader at this point?
RH: If we had to name a leader today and put someone out there, if we were playing today we'd probably do that, but that's not to say by the 7:30 meeting tonight it might not change.
CSR: With Charlie Hopkins, what's the latest with him? I know there were some health issues in the past, how's he doing?
RH: Still coming back. He had the knee surgery his senior year of high school. He came back and is coming back, still. He had a little shoulder ding, a little work on that coming back around, but again it's all because he's pushing himself doggone hard and doing a good job in the weight room and getting better.
CSR: Could he be a rotation player?
RH: Of course. I would love to get more of a rotation going on. We went a couple years without recruiting a defensive lineman so now there are some youngsters coming up that we're excited to get them as they get their experience and earn the right to get on the field, to play them.
CSR: Terrence Stevens and David Parry seem like they're a solid one-two punch at the defensive tackle, but what have you seen from Lance Callihan and Anthony Hayes? Will either of them have a chance to get on the field?
RH: They always do (have a chance). As they click and get better and mature, they've come out of their redshirt year plus one. Neither one of them is happy with their performance so far, so I would expect them to continue the competition because they see Terrence leaving, they see opportunity to move up. I would think that having the intelligence that they have that they would continue to work like they are.
CSR: What have you seen from the quartet of true freshmen defensive linemen?
RH: Confusion. They work hard, they're getting to work harder. They don't understand the tempo of college football yet, but we don't expect them to. They are freshmen. I'm a guy that kind of liked that freshman orientation period where they can learn the system one time through without the shock of Cameron Fleming and David Yankey and those guys coming after them, because that tends to confuse you not only physically, but then when you don't know what to do mentally you get a little bit confused there too.
CSR: Are any of the four more college-ready than the others?
RH: I wouldn't want to answer that. After the first scrimmage, after we get in some battle situations where its down and distance and game situation, I'd rather answer that then, but right now we're kind of installing still and trying to establish the mental part of the game as well as improving the physical.
CSR: Position-wise though with the true freshmen, Aziz Shittu, Jordan Watkins and Nathanael Lohn are at end and Ikenna Nwafor is kind of a hybrid?
RH: (Ikenna's) either/or. We never want to put a guy at the inside nose position depending on his quickness and ability to handle the snap. It happens faster when you're inside. When you're outside at the tackle position it happens much slower. You have to be quick-footed and have the ability to bend inside, so one of those four guys or two of those four guys could move inside at some point in time but right now I would say that Ikenna Nwafor has a great opportunity because he does have a motor and an ability to move.
CSR: Have any of the other four spent time at the tackle?
RH: Lohn probably has a little bit every now and then because of our package they wind up in there, so they're all going to get a turn to see what they do in there. Body type, body weight, how big they get, things like that will affect it as well, which of course is over a long time, not just today.