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December 21, 2013

Lloyd on the move



Redshirt freshman Dallas Lloyd was one of several second-year Stanford players to receive meaningful snaps in the 2013 regular season. Lloyd played quarterback in a specialty package designed to take advantage of his athletic abilities, generally alongside redshirt junior running back Ricky Seale.

But after the package lost its second fumble of the year in Stanford's win over Oregon State, it was sidelined for the final five games of the regular season. Lloyd finished the 2013 campaign with 26 rushing yards on six carries.

While appreciative of the playing time he did receive, Lloyd wasn't entirely content with his situation.

"I'm just a really competitive guy," Lloyd said. "I always have been ever since I was little. I've been working my tail off and doing all that I can to get on the field, and to play and to have a role on offense has been phenomenal. It's been great. But deep down inside I still wasn't satisfied."

So, Lloyd took matters into his own hands. Last week, he approached Stanford head coach David Shaw to discuss the possibility of switching positions.

"I trust Coach Shaw and the rest of the coaches (and) I look up to them as father figures because they're great men," Lloyd said. "So I figured I would just go up to (Coach Shaw) and have a heart-to-heart and see what he thought about me switching positions. I didn't necessarily say safety or any other position. I just said, 'Hey, coach, from father to son, what would you think about me switching positions?' So we had a great talk."

Shaw took Lloyd up on his offer, and the two sides settled on safety. Lloyd has been taking reps in the defensive backfield since the start of bowl practices.

The secondary isn't a completely foreign position to Lloyd. He said that he played defensive back his "whole life" up until his junior year of high school. And while Stanford recruited the Utah native as a quarterback, the Cardinal realized during the recruiting process that Lloyd had the athletic ability to play multiple positions at the collegiate level.

"It's something that we had talked about all the way back when we started recruiting him," Shaw said. "He was a great athlete with leadership skills and speed and toughness. You saw that when you saw him play high school quarterback. They won a state championship. He would drop back and if nobody was open he would take off and he would run people over. You've seen it a couple of times this year, he doesn't shy away from contact."

So far, Lloyd said that he transition to safety "feels natural".

"There's a lot to learn, a lot of new stuff on my plate," Lloyd said. "But that's what comes with and I'm excited. I'm looking forward to it."

Lloyd said that the most difficult part of moving to safety has been the physical adjustment.

"From dropping back and throwing the ball to backpedalling and flipping my hips and sprinting, there's a big difference," Lloyd said. "And also hitting and tackling. So that's been tough.

On the other hand, some of the skills that Lloyd acquired as a quarterback have suited him well in his move.

"As far as the smoothest transition, I would say being a deep safety you can read the quarterback's eyes, so having played quarterback I have a sense of when quarterbacks are going to throw the ball, when they're at the top of their drop, the level of their shoulders, what would be going on in a quarterback's head," Lloyd said. "That's been beneficial."

Lloyd thinks that Stanford's pro-style attack has prepared him particularly well to play defense.

"(Playing quarterback helps in my transition) a lot," Lloyd said. "Without a doubt. The offense is so complex as a quarterback you have to know everything that not only the offense is about to do, all the motions and the adjustments that we have to make, but you also have to know what the defense is doing. Having learned that as a quarterback I can take that and apply that to what I'm doing now as a safety. And also disguising coverages, this stuff is way down the road, but it's definitely going to help me."

Despite his position switch, Lloyd still might be asked to apply his knowledge of the quarterback position to the offensive side of the ball in the future. Stanford hasn't ruled out Lloyd quarterbacking offensive packages moving forward.

"He still may have a role on offense," Shaw said. "I'm not going to take that away from him necessarily. We're still going to expand that role as best we can as the years go on. But he's got a chance to get on the field on defense and in special teams."


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