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Stanford Preview 2006 - Offense
Stanford Cardinal
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 8, 2006


Stanford Cardinal Preview 2006 - Cardinal Offense

What you need to know ... The offense was awful last year with no rushing attack and not enough of a passing game. The problem was the offensive line that gave up way too many sacks and didn't adjust to the new coaching staff. If experience counts for anything, things should be far better with seven players with starting experience returning up front and, technically, 11 returning starters to the offense. The biggest boost will be in the passing game where 6-7 Evan Moore returns after injuring his hip early last year to join Mark Bradford to form a deadly 1-2 punch. Trent Edwards needs to be a senior playmaker and the type of quarterback who can carry the team on his back considering the team's average stable of running backs.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Trent Edwards
168-268, 1,934 yds, 17 TD, 7 INT
Rushing: Jason Evans
72 carries, 248 yds, 1 TD
Receiving: Mark Bradford
37 catches, 609 yds, 6 TD

Star of the offense: Senior QB Trent Edwards
Player that has to step up and become a star: Junior RB Anthony Kimble
Unsung star on the rise:
Sophomore RB Xxavier Carter
Best pro prospect: Senior WR Evan Moore
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Edwards, 2) Moore, 3) WR Mark Bradford
Strength of the offense: Quarterback, offensive line experience
Weakness of the offense:
Wide receiver depth, running back

Quarterbacks
It's time for Trent Edwards to emerge as a special player who can carry the team to wins. One of the school's biggest recruits over the last several years, Edwards has had a good career, but not a great one. He showed signs of becoming a star last season and grew into the role of team leader, and now it should all come together with a big final season and a push to become an NFL draft darling if he can stay healthy. T.C. Ostrander is an experienced and reliable number two quarterback. Garrett Moore and Tavita Pritchard need some meaningful experience going into next year when Edwards and Ostrander graduate.
The key to the unit: Trent Edwards' health. T.C. Ostrander can run the offense, but Stanford doesn't have a chance at a big year unless Edwards is under center.
Quarterback Rating: 8

Projected Starter
- Trent Edwards, Sr. - 168-268, 63%, 1,934 yds, 17 TD, 7 INT, 84 carries, 153 yds
Back for his fourth year in the mix, Edwards has had a solid career getting better and better by cutting down on his interceptions and cranking up his efficiency. He only had one really bad game last season, but that was against USC. Now he should be one of the Pac 10's best quarterbacks with his combination of size, experience and running skills. While he won't be Vince Young, he's a threat to take off for a few yards here and there. He has to stay healthy and make more big plays down the field for the offense to be more successful.

Top Backups
- T.C. Ostrander, Sr. - 39-67, 529 yd, 1 TD, 1 INT
The 6-3 Ostrander has gotten plenty of work over the last few years seeing the most time when Trent Edwards was hurt throughout 2004. He's not a special passer and he's not going to run, but he's an experienced backup who showed he can step in and be effective like he was last year going 11 for 15 against Notre Dame.
- Garrett Moore, Jr.
Moore is a good sized athlete who walked on and should be in the hunt for the starting job next year. He's a good runner who will spend the year learning and getting more practice reps.
- Tavita Pritchard, Soph.
The coaching staff needs him to emerge as a viable threat to T.C. Ostrander for the number two job. He's 6-4  with a great arm and a world of ability, but he still needs practice experience and time.

Running Backs
Were the running backs awful or was it the line or was it the offense? Stanford ran for 1,016 yards and a mere eight touchdowns averaging 2.6 yards per carry with the longest run by a running back a mere 28 yards. There's plenty of returning experience with Anthony Kimble and Jason Evans decent enough to produce far more this year now that they know the system. Nick Frank is a solid powerback who should be the short yardage specialist.
The key to the unit: Get more big plays and find a back who can crank out more than four yards a carry.
Running Back Rating: 5.5

Projected Starters
- Anthony Kimble, Jr. - 66 carries, 264 yds, 3.7 ypc, 14 catches, 145 yds, 2 TD
Kimble started the first six games of last year before getting banged up and being phased out over the second half of the year. He finished second on the team with a mere 244 yards with a high game of 77 yards against Washington State. He also led the way with 3.7 yards per carry. He's a former wide receiver with good size, speed and hands, and now he has to produce and break off more big runs.

- Fullback Nick Frank, Sr. - 42 carries, 134 yds, 3.2 ypc, 3 TD, 17 catches, 127 yds, 7.5 ypc
The former nose tackle turned into a bruising fullback and a decent short yardage runner leading the tam with three touchdowns. He was a bit raw and still needs a little more work, but he showed he can be a key piece to the offense. He was tremendous powering the ball against UCLA running 13 times for 61 yards and a score.

Top Backups
- Xxavier Carter, Soph.
Carter is big with enough speed and quickness to get in the mix. He was a tip high school sprinter in Texas and needs to show off some wheels early on.
- Jason Evans, Sr. - 72 carries, 248 yds, 3.4 ypc, 1 TD, 18 catches, 135 yds
Evans went from being an unproductive reserve with -4 yards over his first two years to the team's leading rusher. Granted, he only ran for 248 yards and a touchdown, but his steady production from the 6-10 carries a game he'll get will give the Cardinal a decent rotation. 
- Fullback Josh Catron, Soph.
A smallish fullback at 6-1 and 215 pounds, he'll have to battle with 235-pound Emeka Nnoli and 265-pound Ben Ladner for time. He has to learn how to be a good lead blocker, but he'll the former linebacker will give the offense more options.

Receivers
There's Mark Bradford, Evan Moore, and, uh, Mark Bradford and Evan Moore. The 6-7 Moore has to return healthy from a hip injury that cost him almost all of last year, while Bradford has to be an even more dangerous number one target. There's no experience whatsoever behind the top two, and there's not the talent to challenge for one of the starting slots. Kelton Lynn has speed, and now he has to show he can play. 
The key to the unit: Evan Moore has to be healthy all season long and third, fourth and fifth receivers must emerge.
Receiver Rating: 7

Projected Starters
- Mark Bradford, Sr. - 37 catches, 309 yds, 16.5 ypc, 6 TD
Bradford is a steady veteran with 108 career catches for 1,678 yards and ten touchdowns. He had a phenomenal 185-yard, two touchdown day against Arizona State and was unstoppable against Notre Dame and Oregon. He has deep play ability, but he's not nearly as flashy as other Pac 10 receivers. Even so, he led the team in yards per catch (among receivers with more than one grab).

- Evan Moore, Sr. - 1 catch, 22 yds, 1 TD
The former Cardinal basketball player quit the team to concentrate more on football, and then he got knocked out early last year with a hip injury and never returned. When healthy he's one of the nation's most dangerous receivers at 6-7 and 235 pounds with hoops hops and enough speed to be a deep threat. He projects into an unstoppable NFL tight end, but he'll pose serious matchup problems for one more year in the Pac 10.

- Tight end Patrick Danahy, Sr. - 6 catches, 49 yds. 8.2 ypc
Around for the program long enough to have a little bit of experience, Danahy came out of spring ball as the starting tight end. He has decent size and good enough hands to grow into a receiver role. He has to improve as a blocker and be more physical now that he'll see plenty of playing time.

Top Backups
- Michael Miller, Sr.
Miller started out his career as a running back before moving over to receiver. He hasn't made any big plays yet. In fact, he hasn't made any plays. However, he'll be the main backup early on behind Evan Moore.
- Kelton Lynn, Jr.
The walk-on is a high school track star still trying to find his spot in the rotation. He'll be the primary backup behind Mark Bradford and needs to grow into a reliable target.
- Tight end Jim Dray, Soph.
While he hasn't seen the field yet, the 6-5, 230-pound sophomore is due to become a key weapon as soon as he gets his feet wet. He was a top tight end recruit a few years ago with all the skills needed to grow into the team's best all-around tight end.

Offensive Linemen
There's no excuse to not be better with seven players with extensive starting experience and plenty of big options waiting in the wings. After allowing 41 sacks and getting no push for the running game in 2004, the experienced line allowed 42 sacks and was even worse in the ground attack last year. Consistency and production are needed with no one player starting every game last season. Injuries were a bit of a problem, but most of all the line was just bad. There's hope with tackles Allen Smith, Jon Cochran and Jeff Edwards sure to be better and Alex Fletcher and Josiah Vinson too experienced to struggle on the inside.
The key to the unit: All of the experience has to finally turn into production.
Offensive Line Rating: 6

Projected Starters
- OT Jeff Edwards, Sr.
He started the first four games of last year at left tackle before giving way to Jon Cochran. Pass protection has been his biggest problem, but he has 26 career starts and can play either tackle spot.
- OG Alex Fletcher, Jr.  
The versatile Fletcher opened the season at right guard and ended up at center. He was one of the team's biggest recruits a few years ago, and he needs to play like it to hold off Ismail Simpson and Matt McClernan.
- C Tim Mattran, Sr.
The former walk-on can play anywhere on the line and started most of last season in the middle with mixed results. He has the size at 6-5 and 295 pounds and he has the experience. Now he has to be consistent.
- OG Josiah Vinson, Sr.
The 315-pound senior has been a regular on the line over the last three seasons and was one of the team's steadiest performers last season at left guard. He's a good athlete with the potential to be a great all-around blocker considering his 23 starts of experience.
- OT Allen Smith. Jr.
Smith grew into one of the line's better players as last year went on. The 300-pound junior took over at left tackle in the fourth game and got progressively better. Expect him to become the line's best player very soon.

Top Backups
- OT/OG Jon Cochran, Sr. 
The 6-6, 310-pound senior is one of the team's biggest linemen and one of the most experienced with 20 starts under his belt. He hasn't progressed into the dominant pass blocker he was expected to become a few seasons ago needing to stay healthy and consistent after splitting the duties at right tackle last season.
- OG Ismail Simpson, Sr.  
The 305-pound senior has more than his share of starting experience over the years getting the call in 26 games. However, he had to battle for time last year and will have to work to get back in the mix with the more promising Josiah Vinson and Mikal Brewer pushing for the starting job on the left side.

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