Sione Fua is the man in the middle this year. The senior moves to the nose guard position in Stanford football’s new 3-4 defense. Fua was
on hand at the Bay Area Media day on Monday to discuss how things are going.
Q: Let’s start with the summer program, how did it go? How do you feel going into the season?
I think the offseason was the best I have been a part of at Stanford. We had the most work that we have done. (We have) the hardest
working strength staff. We put in a lot of hours in the weight room and on the field conditioning. We got a lot of skill work by position, so
I think we are going to be good. We are going to be ready.
Q: Going into your senior season, one of the big successes last year was the senior leadership on the team. How is it moving into that
It is definitely different. Last year I felt I was more a leader by example. Now I have to be more vocal and be that guy to rally the team. It
is definitely a different role but I am definitely growing into it.
Q: How does that manifest itself during the offseason? During the “team tech” you guys are coaching yourselves basically, how does that
Yeah, during the “team tech” there are no coaches out there, just trainers to make sure no one gets hurt. It is just the older guys, the
position leaders running the practices, doing our individual drills, teaching the younger guys, trying to get better. Basically it is just a
player run practice. The guys that have been in the program for awhile know what to do and what kind of work needs to be done. We
know how to work. We just try to help the younger guys come along and help the older guys get better.
Q: You are officially the man in the middle this year in the new defense, how is playing nose guard different for you?
Last year in the 4-3 I was just responsible for one gap. This year in the 3-4 I will be responsible for two gaps. I will be responsible for the
two A’s (gaps). For the defensive line there is a lot more responsibility top to bottom. It is definitely a challenge we are ready to take. We
are ready to make some plays as well.
Q: Have you played in the 3-4 before? Is that what you played in high school?
Yeah, last year we did have a 3-4 package. My true freshman year with Walt Harris we played the 3-4 so it is a lot of the same techniques
that we ran before. I am pretty used to it so far.
Q: How is the transition going so far? Obviously you are not out there for fall camp yet but through spring and summer, how is it going?
I think it is going well so far. I think the biggest thing is learning the expectations of the new coaches. The new coach wants different
things, small technique differences that are big for him. I think it is going well so far. For the nose guard it really is not that hard. You are
just in there trying to blow up the center, trying to get penetration every play. I think it is hardest for the defensive ends who have to drop
in coverage, keep containment, shooting a lot of gaps. It is probably hardest for them. For me it is not that bad. I am just the big man in
the middle trying to knock people back.
Q: You talk about technique differences, what kind of things are you working on?
Footwork, hand placement, just small things that make a big difference for defensive linemen. Coach (Randy) Hart has a little different
coaching technique from Coach (Lance) Anderson. But so far it has helped me become a better player and I think it will pay off during the
Q: You have four new coaches on defense, how is that transition going?
They are awesome. They are really involved. Our coaches last year were awesome, but I think these coaches are better. They really know
the game, they are really experienced guys. The thing I really like about them is they are really involved. They really care, they are in
there getting their nose dirty. They are really involved with the players. They really want us to succeed and be the best that we can.
Q: On the defensive line it is pretty cut and dry with you, Matt Masifilo and Brian Bulcke, but there is not a lot of experience behind you.STANFORD FOOTBALL CLIPS – August 12, 2010
What do you see happening on the second and third teams behind you?
That is the big thing we focused on this offseason, getting those younger guys ready to play. Terrence Stephens, Josh Mauro, Ben
Gardner, a lot of those younger guys that did not get a lot of experience last year because they redshirted, are really going to have to step
up this year. So far in the offseason they have stepped up really well in learning the new defense. They are just going to have to keep
progressing throughout camp and be able to contribute during the season because they are going to have to play this year.
Q: The defense has taken some hits in the last couple of years for not being up the task. There is a lot of pressure on you. For Stanford to
take the next step it needs to be on the defensive side of the ball. You have new aggressive coach, how do you take that challenge?
We are definitely taking it to heart. People have been saying that the defense needs to get better, so like you are saying, for us to go to the
next level. So we are definitely taking it to heart. We want to be the strength of the team. We want to win games 3-0 while the defensive
just shuts them out. We want to shut everyone out and be the strength of the team. We want to be physical every game and be relentless
and be a defense that is feared in the Pac-10.
Q: A couple of days ago Coach Harbaugh was talking about the aggressiveness of the defense. “If we are going to give up a score it is
going to be in three plays not ten plays.” Do you feel that you are going all out and if a big play happens that is fine but you will make
some plays along the way as well?
Exactly! We are going all out. We are going to attack this year. We are coming after teams this year. If we do give up big plays it is okay.
We are going to recover and we are just going to get after it every game and let the chips fall where they may.
Q: The goal obviously is the Rose Bowl. If Stanford is playing there on January 1st, what has gone right for you on defense this season?
Turnovers! Turnovers win games, turnovers win championships. We have to be running to the ball. We have to be swarming. We have to
by physical. If we can do those things, then we will be good.
Q: Owen Marecic is playing on defense as well as offense, what do you think of that?
If anyone can do it, Owen can do it. He is one of the best conditioned athletes on the team. He is relentless. He goes hard both ways. I
respect him for taking on that role and being able to step up and play.
Q: Have you asked Coach (Tim) Drevno to see if you can get in at guard or tackle or anything? (smile)
I tried that last year. I think we have a lot of offensive line recruits this year, so I am good there (on defense).
Q: You played offensive line in practice?
I played a little bit of tight end. They tried to put me in the extra tight end packages. But that was out after about two practices. (laugh)