"On the Spot" with DE Thomas Keiser [#94]
The Bootleg's "Emeritus" caught up with
sophomore defensive end Thomas Keiser after practice Thursday. One of the most pleasant surprises of the 2008
season, the Wexford, Pennsylvania product emerged as a bit of a sack-master,
recording six sacks in his first season of play. There have been a lot of terrific defensive ends at Stanford, but few can say they started their Cardinal careers with such promise.
On-Field, Post-Practice Interview on August 13,
The Bootleg: We are here with 2008 Football Writers
first-team freshman All-American Tom Keiser, a redshirt sophomore defensive
end. Tom, can you talk about your evolution as a player, you are now in your
third year in the program - how have you changed your body since you arrived? You
were already close to your current size,
Tom Keiser: I came in pretty
heavy, then my freshman year I lost a little weight and then after that
season I gained it back, so I came into my first season playing
at 251...I am now up to 258 or 259. I got a little leaner and I think I am built
a little better than when I came in.
TB: So core training or what has
been your focus in the offseason?
TK: You know, honestly, it has just been working hard
in the weight room, doing whatever gets put in front of me and starting to go
for it. I work with the guys in my position group, the defensive line
guys train together.
TB: Are you allowed to divulge what your reps were from the
team tests the other day?
TK: (Laughing) No, I can't!
talk about the defensive ends vs. the defensive tackles - are you "socially
distinct" or is the entire defensive line a single community?
TK: The defensive line is
really tight. We take a lot of pride in trying to be the strongest part of our
defense and we work for it every day. We have ups and downs, but we always get
out there and try to make the best of our situation. We have a lot of pride and
we just go for it!
TB: Many fans think of you as a "pass-rush guy", noting
your back-to-back sacks against San Jose State, which some may recall
came in a three-man rush situation. That was your coming-out party. Talk about
your run-stopping skills. Do you pride yourself equally there?
TK: Yes, definitely. You've
got to stop the run to get the opportunities to go rush the pass I have
always have confidence in it. It's just something that I know is the most
important step for the defense first. If someone is running on you and they
don't respect you, you have to stop that before you can go have fun with
TB: Do you d-line guys take any
special pride in getting to the quarterback with a three-man rush? Any extra
TK: Our coaches tell us to get to the quarterback no
matter what you've gotta do - with a three-man rush, five-man rush, whatever it
is, just get home!
will be stepping into big shoes left by Pannel Egboh - he was literally taking
up a lot of space last year - Who are some of the young guys that will step
up to help solidify our edge rotation?
TK: I expect (redshirt freshman) Chase Thomas to step up
big. Obviously, we already have two solid guys in Erik Lorig and Tom McAndrew,
we have good steady guys there. And I think Chase will be able to contribute. He
has been working hard and I think he's gunning for a good season.
got a start at Notre Dame last year in just your second year in the program,
Pretty heady stuff - the folks back home must have been fired up about that,
TK: Yeah, it was a
great experience. That is a cool atmosphere to go play in and a great
opportunity. Lorig was the other starter that day and he told me there
isn't any difference between starting and playing. I went out there and started
moving and I had a good time.
TB: Now you weren't the guy
getting all chippy with the Irish players at the end of that game?
TK: (Laughing) Nah, I don't
talk on the field at all! Not at all.
TB: Having gotten as much playing
time as you did, do you feel that serves as an inspiration for the redshirt
freshmen looking to contribute? You are proof positive that a young player, even
on the line, can find his way onto the field early.
TK: Yes, definitely. I think
our coaching staff tries to make the point that if you work your butt off and
give it all you've got, then they are going to play you- and I took that to
heart, training before my redshirt freshman season and I was just one of those
guys that was able to do that. I know there are a lot of redshirt freshmen this
year that are going to be doing the same thing.
TB: As an East Coast man, have you made that
adjustment to the Left Coast? Are you feeling comfortable out here?
TK: I'm comfortable out here, but
I think I will always be an East Coast/Midwest kind of guy.
TB: Not moving straight to LA
when school and football are over?
TK: No, I'm
TB: Quick question - you are one of the guys who "works", right?
It is fair to say "YOU WORK!"?
TK: Yes, "I WORK".
Notice any difference from East Coast vs. West Coast football? Are things out
here more or less intense?
TK: I got a little
more of an "intense" feeling on the East Coast, but the "athletes" out here are
a little better than in the East, so it sort of equals out. West Coast
football just isn't what I was used to. It wasn't as much just "run at
you", "smash-mouth" football all the time, you've got a little more "finesse"
TB: Any opponents or tough opposing players up against
whom you look forward to going?
TK: I look forward to going against
everyone this year. I know everyone comes out and will try challenging us. It is
just fun each week preparing for each opponent.
TB: We look forward
to a big season.
TK: So do I. Thank you.
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After Thursday's practice, The Bootleg checked in with redshirt sophomore DE Tom Keiser, one of the more welcome surprises on defense last year. He is set to start opposite honors candidate Erik Lorig, but don't be surprised if this pretty serious young man continues to make a name for himself and for the 2009 Stanford Cardinal! We can't win of we don't stop the run and we will be relying on #94!