2013 Stanford Spring Football Analysis
Stanford Cardinal 2013 ...
Head Coach: David Shaw
Why To Get Excited … the Cardinal proved last season that it has staying power, capping an unexpected Pac-12 championship run by beating Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. The program is soaring under head coach David Shaw, both on Saturdays and on Signing Day. While there are roster gaps that need to be filled during the offseason, Stanford possesses the confidence and the right mix of veteran personnel to repeat as the league champ.
8/31 OPEN DATE
9/7 San Jose State
9/14 at Army
9/21 Arizona State
9/28 at Washington St
10/12 at Utah
10/26 at Oregon State
11/2 OPEN DATE
11/16 at USC
11/30 Notre Dame
Why To Be Grouchy … yeah, the blueprint is working on the Farm, but not necessarily because of the potency of the offense. RB Stepfan Taylor leaves behind enormous shoes to fill, and the team has a dearth of quality targets in the passing game after tight ends Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo opted for the NFL Draft. Oh, and as terrific as QB Kevin Hogan was down the stretch in 2012, he still has a lot to prove as a pure dropback passer who can convert on third-and long.
The Number One Thing To Work On Is … the passing attack. There’s a sense that Stanford will continue to run the ball with authority, while standing tall on defense. And why not? The team will again be terrific at the point of attack. Still, now that the target on its chest has doubled in size, the Cardinal can help its chances of repeating by improving through the air. Hogan must evolve as a passer, and a few receivers have to emerge now that last year’s top four pass-catchers are gone.
Non-Conference Games: San Jose State, at Army, Notre Dame
Games Against The South: Arizona State, UCLA, at USC, at Utah
Realistic Best Case Record: 10-2
Worst Case Record: 6-6
Likely Finish: 8-4
Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: San Jose State, at Army, Arizona State, at Washington State, Washington, at Utah, UCLA, California
Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Oregon State, Oregon, at USC, Notre Dame
Schedule Analysis: San Jose State isn’t a pushover – the Cardinal found that out to open up the 2012 season – but a 2-0 start is likely with a trip to Army to follow. The Pac-12 schedule starts up with a good test hosting Arizona State, and things aren’t that bad over the first half of the season going on the road to play winnable games against Washington State and Utah wrapped around a home game against Washington. Beat the Huskies and get by UCLA at home in a Pac-12 championship rematch, and Stanford should be 7-0 before going to Oregon State.
The second half of the season is a bear starting with the trip to Corvallis. There’s a week off to rest up and get ready for the back-to-back showdowns hosting Oregon and going to USC. The Cal game is the one break, but that’s always an emotional rivalry, and then comes what should be another epic battle against Notre Dame.
Team Concerns For 2013: For all the great results and for all the production, there were several soft areas on the 2012 Cardinal that need improving. Kevin Hogan might be a great-looking young quarterback, but the passing game has to be more efficient and more effective despite losing several of the main targets including tight end Zach Ertz. The running game needs some of the young stars to rise up like last year's star recruit, Barry Sanders Jr., but losing Stepfan Taylor will still sting. The secondary needs to be a bit tighter despite the loss of corner Terrence Brown, and it would be nice to cut down a bit on penalties after getting tagged 85 times.
The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Linebacker. It's not a superior class compared to recent hauls, but the Cardinal came up with some nice gets led by receiver Francis Owusu and guard Dave Bright for the offense. However, with the recent run of great tight ends, the program hasn't had a problem getting its share of good prospects, bringing in Greg Taboada, Austin Hooper and Eric Cotton. The best overall recruits are on defense with Peter Kalambayi out of North Carolina and Kevin Palma two tough guys for the interior, and Sean Barton a nice option for the outside.
2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 10. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. Stanford was terrific over the last few years partly because the lines were strong, partly because Andrew Luck was Andrew Luck, and partly because Jim Harbaugh did a terrific job of recruiting. David Shaw brought in a nice class last year, especially for the defensive front, but he has to upgrade the athleticism and speed at receiver. He’s getting enough variety for the receiving corps to come up with a few instant options to help keep the Luck-less passing attack rolling.
2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 25. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. The big splash will be about Kevin Hogan, with the hope that he’ll be ready to challenge for the starting job next year if and when Mr. Luck is done with his architecture career, and Remound Wright and Kelsey Young are dangerous backs who should add more flash than the Cardinal backfield has had in a while. David Shaw’s first class focused mostly on defensive linemen with two big, talented tackles in Lance Callihan and Anthony Hayes, and three good-looking defensive ends led by 6-6 Charlie Hopkins. The star of the defense, though, will either be middle linebacker James Vaughters or safety Wayne Lyons.
2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 25. That Class Was
Heavy On ... Quarterbacks.
Talk about being a salesman, not only did Jim
Harbaugh successfully pitch top quarterbacks Brett
Nottingham and Dallas Lloyd away from UCLA and
Miami, respectively, but he also was able to sell
them on Stanford even though Andrew Luck is the
unquestioned starting quarterback for the next three
years. Throw in the almost certain departure of
Harbaugh to bigger and better things some time in
the next five years, and it'll be interesting to see
how this class progresses. The defense got the bulk
with Blake Lueders a special end and Devon
Carrington a safety who'll end up starring in the
secondary sooner than later.
2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 21. That Class Was
Heavy On ... pass-catchers. If the Cardinal is going to continue this forward push that started when Jim Harbaugh was hired, it needs to improve offensively. Like, now. This class provides some exciting weapons for whenever QB Andrew Luck takes over the offense. Stanford bagged a pair of four-star wideouts, Jamal Patterson and Jemari Roberts, to go along with easily the best collection of tight ends in the country. Both Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo are massive targets, who could have gone just about anywhere.