In the Trenches With Stan Daniels
April 16, 2006
Offensive guard Stanley Daniels will be counted on to anchor the Husky line in 2006. The senior from the San Diego area recently sat down to talk with gohuskies.com contributing writer Andre Bayard about the team's progress, goals for his final year of donning the purple and gold, and what he'll miss most about being a Husky.
GoHuskies.com: So how is spring practice going so far?
Stanley Daniels: Pretty good. It's pretty exciting, we're getting after it a lot.
GH: What have you done in the off season to prepare for Spring Practice and the upcoming season?
SD: We all worked out as a team pretty much. We were all here. I don't think anybody went home, and anytime we did go home we worked out. Our winter conditioning program was pretty good. We all basically just worked out, stayed here and hung out.
GH: You will be entering your fifth year at UW and finally you have some consistency within the coaching staff. How important is that for you?
SD: It's very important because if you change your offensive line coach then that means you have to basically change your technique because every coach has his own technique. So, with after a solid year with Coach Denbrock that means I don't have to change my technique and I can get comfortable with his technique and just get better. Now I have to just perfect it.
GH: How has it been working with Kyle Benn as the temporary offensive line coach while Mike Denbrock has been out?
SD: Kyle's great. He is a great coach; he was a great player, obviously. We have all the confidence in the world in him. No one doubts anything he says because we know he's been there and done that.
GH: Are you ready to take on one of the leadership roles for this team?
SD: I think I already have. I think it's a daily challenge--to stay consistent in being a leader, and getting myself up and getting the team up, and tightening up my game and getting everyone else's morale and enthusiasm up. I think I kind of have already stepped into that, whether I wanted to or not. It's just how it is.
GH: The team had to replace Joe Toledo, Brad Vanneman, and Robin Meadow from the offensive line. Has it been hard to make the transition in filling their spots?
SD: No, it wasn't a hard transition because I was lucky enough to have played with Vanneman and Meadow for two years before they (graduated), so I learned a lot from them. Clay (Walker) has been starting since he was a freshman, so between Clay and I, we both have a lot of experience. And with that, we have very good leaders on the offensive line. I think we'll be just fine.
GH: How has the new offensive line been able to work so well together?
SD: I think that the '02 class is a tight class, and we have always been that way so, it has just been that much easier for us to lead them and do what we do. We have been doing it for such a long time that it kind of rubs off on the team, just to be tight, and that's how we all are.
GH: How do you think this team is going to fare in the upcoming season?
SD: I think we are going to do very well. A lot of people in this city and the country overlook us and that's fine. I think, come midseason, everyone will be jumping back on the boat and the people who are jumping back on will see how much success we are having under Coach Willingham. When you buy in completely to what he wants, what he asks of us, success comes automatic, and that is what we are doing right now.
GH: What are your personal goals for the season?
SD: My personal goal is to be the best guard in the Pac-10, and if that happens then winning will come.
GH: In practice you go up against the UW defensive line. What is your assessment of their progress?
SD: We have a real good defensive line. Donny Mateaki, Brandon Ala, I'm not sure when Jordan White-Frisbee will be back, but he is a force. Greyson Gunheim is extremely good. Our defensive line is going to be very talented, very fast. They are also very big, and Coach Hart is a legend!
GH: After last season, was there anything specific that you knew you had to work on to improve before the 2006 season?
SD: I knew I had to work on being more consistent because there were times last year when I would dominate, and times when I wouldn't. There were times when I would have a good play, and then a bad play. Or I would have five good plays and two bad plays. That is just inconsistency, (me being) a little bit young, a little bit new technique, but I just knew that I had to work on being more consistent.
GH: Do you feel like you have improved in that area?
SD: I think that I have definitely improved a lot on my consistency. I need to work on my technique and footwork more, and that all comes with time. Come time for the season, with the pace we are at right now, I think I will be just fine.
GH: Getting back onto the field, did anyone surprise you with how much they had improved during the off-season?
SD: Daniel Te'o-Neshheim surprised me last year when he first came and this year he has too. He is very talented. You see him and you don't think he's that big, but then he hits you and you're like `this kid is strong, he's got a motor.' Our line-backing core is really good. Some of those young guys surprised me. Ben Ossai, has surprised me a little bit. He's trying to move his way up on the depth chart at left tackle and he is doing a very good job. We have a lot of talent on our team.
GH: With this upcoming season being your last, what are you going to take from your experience?
SD: Everything. I will take everything, because it has been a journey for me. From coming in, going to the Sun Bowl my freshman year, qualifying for a bowl and not being able to go, and two years without a bowl, and now this year fighting to go to a bowl. It is just an excellent experience because you come into a place that has been successful, and you're here for some of the not so good times, and you fight back. Hopefully this year we reach that accomplishment of going to a bowl game, a big bowl game.
GH: What are you going to miss the most about the UW?
SD: I think I will miss the stadium, the tunnel, walking around underneath the stadium, all of the people that you never really see in the training room, the equipment room. Stuff like that, definitely.
GH: If one of your friends were to describe your personality and character, what do you think they would say about you?
SD: I think they would say that I'm real big, real quiet, but not really quiet at all, kind of funny, kind of silly at times. My mom used to call me a quiet giant when I was younger, that's kind of how I am now.
GH: What are your plans for the future? Do you see yourself pursuing a career in the NFL?
SD: Everybody has NFL dreams, but right now I am just trying to take it step-by-step, part-by-part, and all those things will come. Ultimately, I want to be extremely successful and not have to be worried about all of the things I was worried about when I was younger.
GH: When it is all said and done, what do you want to have accomplished in your life?
SD: When it's all said and done, I just want to be able to sit back in San Diego, with however many kids I have, and not have any regrets about anything. That's what I want to do.