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December 30, 2013
Rose Bowl Media Day: Lance Anderson
Cardinal Sports Report caught up with Stanford outside linebackers coach Lance Anderson at Rose Bowl Media Day to discuss Trent Murphy's career on The Farm and some of the players who will replace the All-American in 2014.
Cardinal Sports Report: This will be Trent Murphy's last game. How much has he grown and developed, and what's really allowed him to blossom into one of the best defensive players in the country?
Lance Anderson: I think his physical development where he's gotten bigger, gotten stronger, but at the same time probably become quicker. He's more athletic, bends better. Aside from the physical part of it, he's a student of the game. He wants to perfect his craft. He gets in, he studies the offensive linemen he's playing against. He works on all of his techniques and tries to become the very best. He has football IQ and he understands the game and wants to be good.
CSR: Have you guys gotten any more information about how the NFL views him at this point?
LA: I've heard a ton of different things. I saw some of the mock drafts where they've got him going late in the first round. I think one of his real strengths is he has so much versatility. He could be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, he could be a 4-3 end. But I think the thing I hear from some NFL people and scouts is they're not exactly sure what he is. And that's why some of them don't want to get too excited, because they're just not sure exactly what he's going to turn into. But I think that versatility is going to pay off well for him and I really think he could play in a 3-4, he could play in a 4-3.
CSR: Trent is leaving, but you have a bunch of other guys coming back next year. Has anybody really taken a step forward for you in bowl practices and even towards the end of the season?
LA: I think Kevin Anderson has really made progress this season. We've seen some of that on the field. He's got more and more playing time as the year has gone on. I think he's going to make a big jump. If he makes the same improvement he did this year from last year, does the same thing next year, he's going to be a really good football player. Joe Hemschoot moved to outside linebacker during the year, which is not always an easy transition, but he's given us some good things at the position. I think having him for a full offseason, a full spring ball, he has the ability to give us some things that Alex Debniak did in the past. James Vaughters is a tough, physical kid. Has some great strength. There are things he needs to work on like some of his pass rush ability and some coverage things in space but I think he'll do that in the offseason and I expect him to take another jump next year. Early on in the bowl practices we gave the young guys a lot of reps, Mike Tyler, Peter Kalambayi. I love the way those guys compete. They want to be good football players. I think they have the tools. They just have to get better with their individual techniques, learn the defense better. I think those two guys have bright futures here as well.
CSR: Speaking of Kevin Anderson, what type of player is he? Is there a comparison? What does he bring, what does he do well?
LA: The best thing he does is he plays with a great motor. Plays super hard on every play. That's why we've gotten a couple of the penalties he's got this year, (some of his hits) have been a little late. That's how he plays. We like that, we just have to make sure he's smart about that. He's a good pass rush guy, too. I don't know that he's in the category that Trent is in or what Chase Thomas got to, but Kevin Anderson has some great pass rush ability and I think we're going to see that in the next couple of years.
CSR: I know when I asked you a few months ago you guys were still on the fence about whether Joe Hemschoot's move to outside linebacker would be permanent. Is there more of a lean in one direction or the other?
LA: I think we're leaning more towards making it permanent. He may be a little bit smaller than some of the other guys, but like I said, I see some things in him that I saw in Alex Debniak. I think he brings some things to the position that's a little different than some of the other guys. His ability to play in space, his coverage ability, he's getting better as a pass rusher. He had a nice sack against Arizona State. I think that stuff will come. I'm hoping it's going to be a permanent move. I like what he brings to the position.
CSR: With Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook, some folks have compared some of what he does to some of what your quarterback does, Kevin Hogan. What do you think of that comparison, and a nutshell overview of their passing game?
LA: I see some similarities there. Early in the year Michigan State was playing three different quarterbacks. Now they've really settled in on Cook. I think he's playing with more confidence right now. He's an athletic kid like Hogan is. For a kid who's a pretty good sized kid he runs pretty well. He makes some plays with his feet. He buys some time. He can be a threat running the football when things break down, which Kevin can do as well. I think they've gotten much more efficient in their pass game as the year has gone on. They've got some really good receivers and he's done a nice job getting the ball to those guys.
CSR: So you guys went to Disneyland earlier this week. You don't strike me as a roller coaster guy, but are you a roller coaster guy?
LA: I do like the roller coasters. We had a good time.
CSR: What was the highlight of the Disneyland trip?
LA: It was just fun going around with the kids. They love it. We like Space Mountain, California Screamin', that kind of stuff. I'm not a really patient guy so standing in lines is not for me. Whatever rides we could do with the fast pass and get on quick, that's what we did.