Stanford Football: Meet a Cardinal

Meet a Cardinal: Jonathan Martin

November, 25, 2011
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Sophisticated and strong. Well-spoken and wall-like, Jonathan "Moose" Martin has been a Stanford staple at left tackle, watching the blindside of quarterback Andrew Luck for the past 35 games.

One of the top offensive tackles in the country, Martin currently sits at No. 8 on Mel Kiper Jr.'s Big Board. He was the 44th-rated offensive tackle coming out of Harvard-Westlake High school in North Hollywood, Calif.

The Classics major was a first-team All-Pac-10 selection last season and was named to the first-team Playboy All-American squad in the preseason.

A little bit more about the 6-foot-6, 306-pound Martin.
  1. You're a Classics major, so you're well-versed in ancient worlds. If there was one ancient culture you could live in for a day, what would it be? I think it would be cool to check out a lot of different cultures. But going back to Rome in the heyday of the Roman Empire and seeing what Caesar was up to would be pretty cool.
  2. So what's the toughest class you've taken at Stanford? Anything that didn't have to do with reading. I'm not the best at math compared to reading and writing, so I would have to say any math class that I've taken.
  3. This one has become a favorite among the guys and readers. If you could trade places with anyone on the team for a day, who would it be? I would say one of the punters. They have it pretty easy. All they do is sit around and stretch all practice and then kick a couple of balls. Other than that they are just sitting around relaxing.
  4. If there was a movie made about you, who would be the leading man? I think I'd like to play myself. Maybe I could try my hand at acting.
  5. Then answer this -- 10 years from now, where will you be? Winning an Oscar? Haha, no. I'm going to be a graduate of some law school yet to be determined and I'm going to be an attorney.

Meet a Cardinal: Stepfan Taylor

November, 18, 2011
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Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor is on the verge of his second consecutive 1,000-yard season. Heading into Saturday's game against Cal, he has 990 yards on the year and he's averaging 99 yards per game -- chances are he's going to get it.

The Pac-10 honorable mention back last season, who hails from Mansfield, Texas, is on pace to break last year's rushing mark of 1,137 yards. Taylor was one of the most sought-after recruits in the country coming out of Mansfield High and was rated as a top-25 running back by several publications.

Also a basketball standout in high school, the junior is majoring in science, technology and society.

If you were picking the pre-game movie, what would you chose? It would either be "The Waterboy" or "Money Talks" (the one with Chris Tucker and Charlie Sheen). I love "The Waterboy."

If you could trade places with any person on the team for a day, who would it be and why? Probably David DeCastro. It would be cool to be that big. Well, now that I think about it, probably Andrew Luck. It would be interesting to see what that guy goes through in a day. It probably gets annoying with all of the questions everyone asks him, but I'd just like to see it for a day.

What was the last piece of technology you bought? I got an iPod Touch. I play "Angry Birds." "Hanging with Friends." Pretty much play games and listen to music.

What's the toughest class you've taken at Stanford? Probably, one of the classes I'm taking now, CS-101 is pretty tough. The midterm was really hard. A lot of stuff on there was real detailed and you have to remember a lot. It was a tough midterm overall.

Finish this sentence. Ten years from now I will be ... Enjoying my life with my family. I will be happy.

Meet a Cardinal: David DeCastro

November, 11, 2011
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PALO ALTO, Calif. -- After five consecutive weeks of talking to defensive players, we move back to the offensive side of the ball and get to know a little more about guard David DeCastro -- widely regarded as the best run-blocker in the 2012 NFL draft class and a likely first-round draft pick.

DeCastro
DeCastro
The 6-foot-5, 312-pound DeCastro, who hails from Bellevue, Wash., is one of the main reasons why Stanford has one of the toughest rushing attacks in the country. He bullies opposing linemen and when the Cardinal need one or two yards or are at the goal line, it's usually DeCastro they are running behind.

Considered one of the top offensive linemen in the country coming out of high school, the managment, science and engineering major was also a state champion in the shot put.

If you could trade spots with any guy on the team, who would it be? Ooo, gosh. I'd pick Andrew (Luck). He's got a pretty easy job, sitting back there and tossing balls around. Must be nice to just sit around and toss footballs.

You're picking the pre-game movie, what do you pick? (Jarek) Lancaster went with "Gladiator". I would say "Gladiator," but we've already seen it like three times and it's two and a half hours long. I'd say anything we haven't seen before that is an over-the-top action movie. Something short. Something sweet, so no one is bored.

If there was a movie made about you, who would be the leading man? Who is the guy from "Avatar?" Sam Worthington. He's pretty bad-a**.

What's the toughest class you've taken at Stanford? CS-103, computation and logic. It's the hardest class in my major. It's pretty tough. A lot of proofs. A lot of logic stuff. It makes you think outside of the box.

You were a track guy in high school. There are so many guys on the team who do multiple sports. Did you ever think about doing track in college? No, it was just for fun in high school. I got away with being big and I could throw a metal ball far. They are paying me to go here so I'm giving 100 percent attention to football.

Meet a Cardinal: A.J. Tarpley

November, 4, 2011
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A.J. Tarpley has been playing well since his field time increased after the injury to Shayne Skov. But he made a huge splash in last week's triple overtime win over USC.

So here's a little more about the redshirt freshman from Plymouth, Minn.

On the year, Tarpley has 33 tackles, one for a loss, half a sack and two forced fumbles. He also logged his first career interception last week against USC and recovered the fumble in the end zone in overtime that locked up the win for the Cardinal.

[+] EnlargeAJ Tarpley
Gary A. Vasquez/US PresswireA.J. Tarpley's fumble recovery in the end zone sealed Stanford's triple overtime win over USC.
The 6-2, 235-pound Tarpley doubled as a tight end in high school, catching 12 balls for six touchdowns (pretty good ratio). His father played football at Georgia Tech and his brother plays for Ole Miss.

You are a football legacy. Is there some pressure that goes along with that? There used to be back in high school, when I started playing varsity when my brother was on the team. But I don't really look at it like that. I don't see it as pressure.

What's the toughest class you've taken at Stanford so far? I would say it's Economics 1A because I had no previous experience with it. It was a difficult class.

Are you moving closer to picking a major? I'm just broad right now, trying to figure out what's best for me.

If you could trade places with one person on the team, who would it be and why? I guess everyone would say Andrew Luck -- so yeah, I guess Andrew Luck just to see what it would be like to throw the ball anywhere I wanted and to be that guy for a day.

Last week Jarek (Lancaster) said there is too much pressure being Andrew Luck so he went with one of the tight ends. I was thinking that. Second choice would be David DeCastro. Would be cool just to be one of the strongest guys out there mauling people every play on the defensive line.

If there was a movie made about you, who would be the leading man? I would say Sylvester Stallone since people say I look like Rocky.

You're a big twitter guy. How many followers do you have and how much time do you devote to it? I think it's something like 600. I don't really worry about it. I had one in high school to keep up with old friends and it's just a fun little thing to let people know what's going on.

Meet a Cardinal: Jarek Lancaster

October, 28, 2011
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After contributing in all 13 games last season as a redshirt freshman -- mostly on special teams, linebacker Jarek Lancaster has taken center stage this season following the injury to Shayne Skov. He's gone from backup to starter and has performed very well — he's tied for the team lead with 33 tackles on the year.

[+] EnlargeJarek Lancaster
Jason O. Watson/US PresswireStanford linebacker Jarek Lancaster is tied for the team lead in tackles after taking over for injured starter Shayne Skov.
The former prep quarterback/defensive end from Helotes, Texas, was also an accomplished track athlete in high school, participating in the hurdles, triple jump, long jump and mile relay.

Lancaster, a psychology major, has also logged two sacks this season.

  1. You were a quarterback in high school. If you were called upon to play quarterback on Saturday, could you handle it? (Laughs) I'm no Andrew Luck. I think I'll leave it at that.
  2. You're a psych major. How would you diagnose the current mental state of the team? We're definitely determined and we're focused. We're taking it one game at a time, which is nice to see. We're trying to keep our nose to the grind and not listen to any of the stuff that's in the media. Coach reminds us that every game is important. Determination and focus is where I'd say this team is at mentally.
  3. If you could trade places with one person on the team for a day, who would it be and why? Ooh, that's a tough one. Last week Ben Gardner picked Andrew Luck: That's an obvious answer. There is way too much pressure that goes with that. I think maybe I'd take one of the tight ends (Coby) Fleener, (Zach) Ertz or (Levine) Toilolo. They are the ones that score all the touchdowns and get the ball thrown to them. I think it would be pretty good to be one of those guys for a day.
  4. If you were picking the team movie the night before the game, what would you pick? I would definitely have to go with "Gladiator." I don't think there is another movie that gets you more pumped about going into battle with your guys than that movie.
  5. What's the toughest class you've taken at Stanford? The class I'm in right now, Introduction to Perception, it's the toughest class I've been in so far. There is such a broad range of how our eye works and the process of sending things to the brain and why we perceive the world as we do. I just took my midterm in that class. It was a doozy.

Meet a Cardinal: Ben Gardner

October, 21, 2011
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Stanford's high-motor, mullet-toting defensive end Ben Gardner is the subject of this week's Meet A Cardinal. He's been, perhaps, the biggest surprise on the defense with his never-quit determination to make plays in the backfield and get to the quarterback. On the year, he has 17 tackles, including 6.5 for a loss and 2.5 sacks. He's also logged two pass breakups, two quarterback hits, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble.

The third-year player (redshirted in 2009) hails from Mequon, Wis., and is pretty formidable with a set of golf clubs.

    [+] EnlargeStanford's Ben Gardner
    Matt Kartozian/US PRESSWIREStanford defensive end Ben Gardner plays a good game of golf and totes a mean mullet.
  1. I understand you lettered in golf in high school. How often do you hit the links and are you the best player on the team? I am the best player on the team. I'm not afraid to admit that. I don't get out as much anymore. This summer I played probably three times. In the spring I played with my grandpa in Palm Springs for a few days. But other than that, it's mostly football at this point in my life. Hopefully someday I'll get back to being able to play more golf.
  2. I've got to ask, is there some inspiration with the hair? It started as a joke last training camp. I had some pretty long hair and I cut in a mullet for training camp. Everyone thought it was funny and liked it and they convinced me to keep it for the season. It started to get longer and turned into a real mullet. Everyone convinced me to keep it for another season so I'm sticking with it for the rest of this year. Everyone says I'm trying to go with the Jared Allen look. Not a bad guy to model after if you're a defensive linemen.
  3. If you could trade lives with one guy on the team for a day, who would it be and why? Definitely Andrew Luck, just to feel what it's like to throw the ball 70 yards with no effort. I can barely throw it 20 yards and I can't throw a spiral at all. So I would love to feel what it's like to have a rocket arm for one day.
  4. Describe the feeling when you get a sack to someone who has never experienced that: It's one of those feelings that is tough to describe. A lot of times the guy is about to throw it and you're not sure if you sacked him or just got a hit on him. When you see the ball in his hands on the ground, you're just all fired up and you want to let out a roar. It's like a lion taking down its prey.
  5. Finish this sentence. My teammates would describe me as the guy most likely to ... : Probably get made fun of everywhere we go for my mullet. The fans at Washington State were riding me all game long and they had some pretty good jokes. It was pretty funny.
  6. I've got to follow up then. What was the best one-liner you heard? From a lady, actually, behind the Washington State bench. She yelled 'Hey Gardner! Who cut your mullet? Did your mom do it for you in your trailer?' When our offense scored to put us up by 28, I actually turned around and gave her a little wave goodbye and said 'happy homecoming.'

Meet a Cardinal: Johnson Bademosi

October, 14, 2011
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Whether it's on the track, the rugby field or the football field, cornerback Johnson Bademosi knows that speed is essential. That's why the multi-sport, multi-talented athlete doesn't like to slow down for very long.

In high school, he played for the U-17 and U-18 USA Rugby national teams. He also earned all-conference honorable mention for Stanford's track team. He hasn't ruled out rugby completely and says he might take a stab at it when it becomes an Olympic sport in 2016.

[+] EnlargeStanford's Johnson Bademosi
Jason O. Watson/US PRESSWIREStanford cornerback Johnson Bademosi says his rugby background serves him well on the football field.
The senior history major from Silver Spring Md., leads the Cardinal in solo tackles (18) and is tied for the team lead with four passes broken up.

  1. How have your rugby skills translated to football? Rugby is a lot of fun because everyone gets to handle the ball. Tackling is a big part of the game. I play out in the wing so it's a little bit like running back, so they swing the ball to me and trying to get loose on the sidelines. I'd say tackling, being physical. In rugby, you have to ruck and drive over people.
  2. You also do track. What are the advantages of being in another sport? It's cross-training. You get to meet different people and get different coaching. It's the Stanford experience. You use that speed to close on balls and close on defenders and you get to compare yourself to other guys in the conference.
  3. You're a history major. If you could live in any era, which would it be? That's a hard question. There is so much stuff going on. I was recently talking about the Persian Empire in one of my classes, so if I could experience what they were doing, that would be pretty cool.
  4. How many Facebook friends do you have and what was your last update? I don't really know. I stay pretty low-key on the social networking. I don't get on too much.
  5. Finish this sentence, 10 years from now, I hope to be ... ? I hope to be continuing my career in the NFL or maybe perhaps, however long that goes, being in business school or having some kids. Anything can happen at this point.

Meet a Cardinal: Terrence Stephens

October, 7, 2011
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PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Anyone who has ever met Terrence Stephens knows these two things about him: 1) He's not shy and 2) He likes to talk. That makes him a perfect candidate for Meet a Cardinal.

The 6-foot-2, 295-pound big nose guard has five tackles on the year, including 2.5 tackles for a loss, half a sack and he's broken up a pass. In the 3-4 scheme, his job isn't to bring down runners, it's to eat up blockers. And he's been fantastic at it since stepping into the starting role this year.

The junior psychology major comes from Gaithersburg, Md., where he played at Quince Orchard High school.
  1. What's the hardest class you've taken so far at Stanford? Intro to Perception. I'm a psychology major and it's all about the brain and how the brain is working. It's mind-boggling. I did pretty well. I could have a few more this quarter that could be a little more interesting and difficult. But you have to take the challenge like you do on the field.
  2. Who is your role model and why? My mom. She's a single parent and I'm an only child. A lot of people have their fathers growing up and I didn't. I had my mom for that. She was my mom, my dad -- she was the rock in my life. The things she did and the sacrifices that she made to make sure I'm in the position I am now makes her the only candidate to be that role model. She comes out to every home game. She's been an inspiration my whole life so I can't give anybody credit but her.
  3. What's your greatest football moment? It was the state championship game my junior year in high school, 2007. We were playing in the Baltimore Ravens stadium. We were down by 29 points and came back to win 36-30. It was crazy.
  4. What about you would surprise people? I'm a very overt type of person. There are a lot of things people wouldn't be surprised about. But one thing is that in the future I want to work with children with autism and other disabilities and go to law school. That has been my goal outside of football, is to make sure I give back.
  5. If there was a movie made about you, who would be the star? It would most likely be Ving Rhames.

Meet a Cardinal: Zach Ertz

September, 29, 2011
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PALO ALTO, Calif. -- The talented tight end has caught a touchdown in every game this season and in six straight games dating back to last year. At 6-foot-6, 252 pounds, he's a fantastic blocker and his speed and height make him one of Andrew Luck's favorite targets in the red zone.

The redshirt sophomore from Monte Vista High (Danville, Calif.) has nine catches for 127 yards and three touchdowns this season -- including a long of 24. He entered the Stanford program as one of the top-rated tight end prospects in the nation and has not disappointed. He's majoring in management science and engineering.
  1. What's the last piece of technology you bought?I bought an iPad2 over the summer and I love it. So far I've been watching a ton of Netflix movies on it.
  2. What's the one thing people might not know about you? I have three brothers. I'm the oldest.
  3. How many Facebook friends do you have and what was the last thing you posted? I guess probably like 1,400. It might have been a post of some kind about the Dallas Cowboys. I don't really use Facebook that much anymore. I'm more into Twitter.
  4. What was the last movie you saw and what did you think? I saw "Warrior." It was fantastic.
  5. If there was a movie made about you, who would be the star? Hmm, I don't know about that. I guess I've heard that I look like Channing Tatum.
Coach's quote: "Zach's got great body control and great hands," said Stanford head coach David Shaw. "He does some things naturally that you don't have to coach."

Meet a Cardinal: Coby Fleener

September, 15, 2011
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PALO ALTO, Calif. -- He's big, he's fast and he's a touchdown-catching machine. Tight end Coby Fleener is picking up where he left off last year. He only has five catches so far this season, but three of them have gone for touchdowns, and he's second on the team with 116 receiving yards. His 60-yard touchdown reception against Duke is the longest play of the season. The hybrid tight end, who is majoring in science, technology and society, also boasts some pretty decent basketball skills. But his 6-foot-6, 254-pound frame has made him a nightmare for opposing secondaries.

What was your best moment as a player: It was the UCLA game last year. We went into the huddle and [quarterback] Andrew [Luck] didn’t get the correct signals. And because of the personnel that was called, I knew, and was able to call the play in the huddle. That was my shining moment to call a play in the huddle.

What was the last piece of technology you bought: I tried to buy a tablet PC. It’s supposed to be coming, but I haven’t gotten it yet. Hopefully it will be very cool.

I know you don’t get many of them, but if there is a day off, no football, no school, what are you doing? Lounging around watching either football or a movie. Just enjoying time with family and friends.

Who is the best basketball player on the team? Is it you? I don’t think it’s me. We’ll see. We’ll have to wait until the offseason to find that out.

Are you a better blocker or a better receiver? I’m a better receiver. I’ve had to work harder on my blocking in order to get it where it is now. We’re really focused as a tight end group on our blocking. All three of us are more naturally geared toward receiving. It’s been a focus this offseason to really hone our blocking skills to make sure we can open those holes for the running backs.

Meet a Cardinal: Delano Howell

September, 8, 2011
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PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Last year, Delano Howell led the Cardinal with five interceptions from the strong safety position. He was also second on the team in total tackles (138).

A converted running back, he commands the secondary with quiet leadership and a heavy hand, starting 23 games over the past two seasons.

He's also an accomplished track and field athlete. He earned Pac-10 honorable mention honors last season in the long jump.

In Saturday's season opener against San Jose State, he had four tackles, including three solo. He's majoring in science, technology and society.
  1. What's your pregame ritual? "I pray. Listen to my music. I won't talk about what's on my playlist, but I don't have any crazy rituals. But I always make sure I pray before the game."
  2. What's your best moment as a player? "Without a doubt, winning the Orange Bowl. That's the best so far. But I'm sure there are going to be many more great moments to come."
  3. What's the last movie you saw and what did you think? "I saw 'Thor.' I thought it was tight."
  4. If there was a movie made about you, who would be the star? "Ah, man. Will Smith. I think he'd be pretty funny as me."
  5. What is one thing about you that people don't know? "I love bowling. I absolutely love bowling."
Coach David Shaw says: "He's just a physical presence at the safety position. I don't think he says a whole lot. But when he does communicate, guys listen because he's a very serious, mature person. He's been that way since he's been here."

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