Matt Masifilo is a defensive end, a mechanical engineering major and a Hawaii native — which means there's never a dull moment.
The Stanford senior talked to The Oklahoman's Jenni Carlson about his unique background as well as some Xs and Os leading up to the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma State.
People in Oklahoma know about the Stanford offense, but what should they know about the defense?
We run a very aggressive, disciplined defense that up front likes to get off the ball and get in the backfield. We have very physical linebackers. We have our secondary that brings the attitude to our defense.
Doesn't every secondary do that?
Exactly. They bring the juice, and it gets everyone going.
So, what do you guys on the line bring?
We bring the dirty work. That's how we've structured it from camp. The D linemen hold the shovels, then the linebackers have the toolbox and the secondary has the hard hats. It's just the hierarchical order of labor in a construction site. You have the cheap, hardworking labor up front, then the middlemen, then the boss of the office.
You've faced great offenses in the Pac-12, but what's the biggest challenge specific to OSU?
They're just a very explosive offense and also very powerful, too, especially up front. They're probably the best offensive line that we'll face all year. It's just a matter of not letting them engulf us up front.
You're from Hawaii. Any other Hawaiians on the squad?
No, but there is a guy coming in next year. The status quo is one guy at a time. (Laughs.)
As a Hawaiian, do you try to expose your teammates to anything unique or different?
Well, I bring the ability to give those guys a pig roast. Those guys got to experience some of that a couple years ago. One of the Super Bowls, we upset the whole Stanford campus and roasted a pig in front of our dorm.
Was there a pit involved?
We kind of made our own thing. That was an interesting experience.
You're a mechanical engineering major. How do you balance that with football?
You just get going. It's like momentum. If you stop, it's almost impossible to get going again. But once you get going, you don't have enough time to think about what you're doing.
Do you take fewer hours during the season, then more hours during the spring and summer?
Fortunately, Stanford's a very flexible university, so a lot of the shop classes are in the offseason. It actually works very nicely. A lot of the in-class work is done in the fall to prep for the shop work in the winter and spring. But I think with everyone doing similar things, it just kind of flows.
So, do you have the hardest major on the team?
For me, any pre-med ... I'd feel that's the hardest major. I don't want to touch that stuff. I'd flunk out of Stanford if I was a pre-med.
Last thing, I wanted to ask you about Chester McGlockton, the former NFL defensive lineman who was your position coach. He died suddenly this season. What impact has that had on you?
I think we all dealt with it in our way. We definitely mourned for awhile, and then we started to realize that Chester, when you talk about him, it just brings smiles. That's the type of person he was. He always made you laugh or always had something to say about you. We definitely miss him.