Q & A: Tyrone Willingham

Oct. 15, 2001

It has always seemed to me that stanford does not have a big advantage playing at home, unlike some other teams like the Washington Huskies and the Oregon Ducks. They seem to have a huge advantage when they play at home. The joke in Seattle is that playing down at Stanford is like playing at a neutral site. How significant do you think home field advantage is , and do you ever feel envious of other schools like Washington who seem to have a tremendous advantage at home? There is no question that a few teams in our conference have a tremendous home advantage. But a lot of teams reverse this apparent advantage by unifying their squad to be closer unit. The logic is 'us against the world' and when done with the right competitive group they now swing the advantage to themselves. Even with this tremendous mindset it is another hurdle that an opponent must climb. So envious no, for there is no better moment in sports when with your excellent play you silence the crowd.

When do you and your staff start looking ahead to next year? You will lose a great number of players after this season: Do you wait until the end of the season to access future talent? Good luck the rest of the season. I hope you stay on for a while. Thank you! We are always looking to better ourselves for the future. Yet, the foundation of our program is that our best players should play. On a few occasions I have had the wrong player executing a responsibility. But it is important that your players trust and have confidence in the fact that their skill determines who plays. In the case of most freshmen players you have to commit to playing them before they can in many case show that they are the best player. So you have to be careful in judging talent and providing opportunity.

How do you keep the team focused on just the next game? It is more complex than I will make it seem. I ask them to envision playing two teams simultaneously. The chance of winning are slim in two against one. With that simple analogy it is easier to concentrate on the next opponent.

John Elway was a excellent QB at Stanford. do you agree that Fasani is good as John Elway or close to his ability of being a greatest college QB as John Elway was at Stanford? I know we should not compare between players. It is important that I use the wise advice that you have offered. I will not compare between players. I am excited with the manner with which Randy is playing and love how he challenges himself to get better each practice and game. But success is never based on one player. It will be the team's success that determines the success of the individual and the collective success of the individuals that determines the success of the team.

I am concerned that in the last couple of games our offense has started fast but has struggled in the second half, particularly in the fourth quarter, i.e. 0 points scored in the fourth quarter in both the Arizona and USC games. I surmise that this may be because of fatigue? Are you also concerned and how do you plan to address it? I am always concerned regarding the welfare of our team and its conditioning. It is something that you always monitor as you begin and throughout the season. Not being able to score may not be a sign of conditioning deficiency. If you look at the USC game, our offense put the game on ice by holding the ball for all but 4 plays in the fourth quarter and that was thirteen of fifteen minutes. Granted we did not score but to accomplish that feat is a real testament to outstanding conditioning. The ability to not score may in many cases be traced back to what is on the mind of the team. If up by many points some teams relax and fail to score. Other teams do not make the necessary plays for a variety of reasons and fail to score. Thank you, and we will continue to look at the conditioning aspect as a potential cause.

What's the timetable on replacing the track at Stanford Stadium with seats closer to the field? The timetable has not been set. But there are thoughts that this may be a worthy project for the university at the appropriate time. We hope that all fans of Stanford at the appropriate time will lend their support.

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