In The Huddle With ... Tight Ends Coach George McDonald

Nov. 19, 2004

This is the 13th and final installment of a weekly column that takes you inside the minds of Stanford's assistant football coaches. Each week we have conversed with an assistant coach to provide an inside look at a particular area of the team. This week we sit down with tight ends coach George McDonald.

The author of this column would like to extend her gratitude to all of Stanford's assistant football coaches for their participation and enthusiasm for this column.

by Janelle Kwietkauski

JK: Can you talk about the play of the tight ends this season as a group?

GM: I think that they played pretty well this season. The corps improved their receiving and blocking skills. Overall, I think that the whole group has done a good job to date this season.

JK: Alex Smith is now Stanford's career leader in receptions by a tight end with 106 (a record he set when he passed Bob Moore's mark of 100 at Arizona State on November 6). He also leads the team with 51 receptions and 676 receiving yards this season. Can you talk about his play?

GM: Alex does a nice job helping both the passing game and the running game. I'm excited that he has achieved the career reception record (for tight ends). I'm glad he was able to get into the record books in his senior season. He has one more game in his collegiate career, and I'd like to see him add to his impressive career statistics.

JK: In our previous conversation, you mentioned Matt Traverso's blocking ability. Can you talk about how important Traverso's blocking has been?

GM: Matt has been very important to the team. He has done a great job helping the team be more effective in the running game. He has also been a great asset in pass protection. His blocking ability allows more people to run (pass) routes.

JK: Stanford is playing No. 4 California in the 107th Big Game this Saturday. Can you talk about the importance of this game?

GM: The game is important because it is the last football game of the season. This game is also the last opportunity for the seniors to play with the team. The game is also important because of the historic rivalry between Stanford and Cal.

JK: What are your expectations of the tight ends for this week's Big Game?

GM: I expect them to be physical. I want them to play with passion and enthusiasm. They need to play sound and execute well. Although this is the big rivalry game, my expectations of my players are no different than for any other game.

JK: What does it mean to you to be a part of the tradition of the Big Game, which is tied (with Purdue-Indiana) for the 10th oldest rivalry in college football?

GM: This is a great opportunity for me. I used to watch the Big Game on television when I was growing up. Now, I am working with people like Tom Williams, Ken Margerum, and Dave Tipton; who have all played in the Big Game. It is a great honor to be a part of such a historic rivalry.

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