Stone has been a pleasant surprise
Sometimes coaching expertise is finding the right position for an athlete to play that will best suit his talents or fill a need. This is the case with red-shirt freshman defensive end Chris Stone. Stone played tight end last year and red-shirted as a true freshman, Coach Gus Malzahn approached the talented athlete in the spring and asked him if he had ever thought about playing defensive end. "I told Coach I would do whatever I could do to help the team," Stone told the media after Wednesday's practice. "I just go out every day and try to get better, work on improving and always try to play as hard as I can." Stone has been one of the biggest defensive surprise for the Red Wolves this fall. "Chris works really hard," Senior defensive end Tim Starson said recently. "He is really going to be good before his career is over here." Veteran defensive coordinator John Thompson agrees with Starson's assessment. "Chris has been a big surprise for us," Thompson said. "He plays hard and is getting better everyday." Stone is excited about this upcoming weeks game at Troy, only 45 minutes away from his hometown of Daleville Alabama. "It's going to be a big game for me," Stone said. "I have a cousin play for Troy, I know a lot of the guys on that team. We have been giving each other a hard time about this game coming up. This is a game that I really want to do well in, I have to show up and show out a little." Another reason that Stone is excited about returning close to home is the fact that his family and friends are going to get to see him play. "I have over 30 people coming to the game," Stone said. "I'm very excited about playing Troy this weekend." While Stone realizes that he is having a good season, he is quick to point out that he plans on continuing to work hard to improve his game. "Yeah I have had a pretty good season so far," Stone said. "There is always room for improvement. I'm looking forward to what Coach Malzahn is building here. Our goal is to win another conference championship, we don't want to share one we want to win another out right." Stone, a 6-foot-3, 245-pound athlete has learned a lot from some of his current teammates. "Tim, Carreathers and Draper have taught me a lot this fall," Stone said. "I have learned a lot from them. Tim is a beast out there, I want to work as hard as those guys and get better every game." Stone can't wait to return to his home state. "I can't wait," Stone said. "This is a big week for us, getting to go back home to play such a big game is very special to me."