Stanford's new inside linebackers coach might be in his first spring ball as a collegiate position coach, but he's not new to the Cardinal football program. Peter Hansen, son of legendary Palo Alto High School coach Earl Hansen, worked at Stanford from 2008-2010 before joining the 49ers for three seasons.
Cardinal Sports Report caught up with Hansen after a recent practice to discuss his return to The Farm and to get an early look at Stanford's 2014 inside linebacker corps.
Cardinal Sports Report: You worked in the Stanford football program for several years and then went to the San Francisco 49ers for three seasons. What was the process like of returning?
Peter Hansen: Basically I sent Lance (Anderson) a congratulatory text when I read he got the defensive coordinator job. He responded asking if I'd be interested in the linebacker job. So of course I was interested. This was the week before our last game (with the 49ers). The next week the wheels really started turning with Coach Shaw.
CSR: How do you feel like you evolved as a coach in terms of your knowledge of the game in those three years in San Francisco?
PH: Well, in San Francisco it was just all football. So every day we were in the office. Either if it was the offseason we were studying other teams or we were studying our team. So it was just football all day, every day, and to sit with guys, very experienced veteran coaches that are experts in what they do and hear their ideas every day, every time we're watching film it's almost like AP in the high school level, it was like graduate school level for a coach. It was awesome.
CSR: With the inside linebackers, you guys lost a lot with Shayne Skov and Jarek Lancaster leaving. Are Blake Martinez, and obviously A.J. Tarpley, but has Blake cemented himself as one of those starters?
PH: Nobody has cemented himself. A.J. will go with the ones every day until he proves he shouldn't, which I don't see happening. He's been an excellent starter basically his whole career. Watching the film last year, they really had four starters, a rotation of guys all going in. I'm looking for three extra guys to play with A.J. They're all doing a great job. I'm changing up the rotation every day. So it was Blake (starting during Saturday's practice), yesterday it was Joe Hemschoot. So those guys are rotating every day. Kevin Palma is getting in there. Craig Jones got in there today with Joe (with the second unit). And Noor Davis, he's doing a great job so far in the spring. Everything I've seen from those guys, and Sam Yules, I've seen those guys all do a great job, do good things, and they all have things to clean up.
Would you say there is a leading candidate for that fourth spot right now or is it too early to tell?
PH: There's not a leading candidate for the second, third, or fourth spot, no. Absolutely not. There may be in the second half of spring, but right now I'm rotating them every day. They're all doing a great job and they all have a chance.
CSR: Finally, I'm assuming you've had a chance to watch your incoming freshmen recruits on film - is there anything that stands out to you about that group, with Bobby, with Joey?
PH: They just stand out athletically. They all are very athletic. Two of them were big-time running backs, if I remember right. Athletically on defense they can do everything we do scheme-wise. So I'm very excited about them. And the way I see it, they're all going to have to compete, also. They're going to come and step foot on campus and be competing for playing time just like the rest of these guys.