Personnel Preview: Stanford Defense

IrishEyes takes a look at the key defensive personnel for Stanford.

Stanford plays a ‘3-4' defensive front and overall the defense has been very impressive through the first three games of the 2010 season. Despite winning by large margins, the Cardinal defense has only allowed 90 yards passing per game, which ranks their pass defense No. 1 in the nation. They have allowed the opposition to complete only 50 percent of their passes and have registered 11 sacks. They aren't quite as solid against the run, but the 137 rushing yards allowed per game is very respectable. Overall the Stanford defense defies the PAC-10 norm and is currently the No. 1 ranked defense in the country. Stanford shutout conference rival UCLA in the second game of the season on the road.

Defensive line

  • Defensive end, #98 Matt Masifilo (6-foot-3, 280 -pounds, Sr./Jr.): Masifilo is a steady player, but isn't real mobile, or aggressive. His doesn't appear to get great push in his pass rush. Taylor Dever should be able to handle him one-on-one most of the time. Ten career starts and has started all three games in 2010. Has five tackles this season including one for a loss. In 2009 Masifilo missed five games after suffering a knee injury early in the season, but return to register 18 tackles and a sack.

    #90 Josh Mauro (6-foot-6, 264-pounds, So.-Fr.) Mauro has been productive in the three games this season. He's been credited with seven tackles. He did not see action as a freshman.

  • Nose tackle - # 92 Sione Fua (6-foot-2, 306-pounds, Sr.): Fua is a thick, strong player that gets off the ball very well. One of the more seasoned players on defense and the stud on the defensive line. Fua has started 21 and played in 37 contests at Stanford, including all three games of 2010 and 11 games in 2009. Fua only has three tackles this season, but two of those are sacks. In 2009 he was credited with 24 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

    #99 Terrence Stephens (6-foot-2, 295-pounds, So.): Played in all three games this year and has one tackle to his credit.

  • Defensive end - #95 Brian Bulcke (6- foot-4, 275-pounds, 5th Sr.): Bulcke is a solid player and will clog this up, but he can be moved off the line.He won't generate much of a pass rush and is slow in pursuit. Bulcke has only started 11 games during his career, but he's been played in 38 games. In 2009, he was sidelined with a thumb injury after the fourth game of the season. Bulcke has nine tackle this season, including two behind the line of scrimmage.

    #49 Ben Gardner (6- foot-4, 251-pounds, So./Fr..): Has played in all three games this season and has made one tackle. He did not see action as a freshman.


  • Outside linebacker – #44 Chase Thomas (6- foot-4, 239-pounds, Jr/So..): Thomas is a converted defensive end, that really has taken well to the move to linebacker. He's a tall rangy kid that is active and has the ability to get to the quarterback. Thomas is third on the team in tackles with 12 and leads the team in sacks with 3.5. Thomas has made 11 starts at Stanford including all three contests in 2010.

    #42 Alex Debniak (6- foot-2, 233-pounds, Jr./So.): Has eight tackles in three games this season. Missed the 2009 season with a knee injury.

  • Inside linebacker – #48 Owen Marecic (6- foot-1, 244-pounds, Sr.): Marecic is the workhorse. He's a smart player that plays within the framework of the defense. He starts at both linebacker and fullback, and will use his fullback mentality to knock people around. Most of his starts have come at full back and has now taken over the starting spot at linebacker this season. He has seven tackles this season including one sack.

    #43 Chike Amajoyi (6- foot-0, 235-pounds, Sr.): Amajoyi provides quality depth. He has 17 starts under his belt. He has eight tackles this season.

  • Inside Linebacker - # 11 Shayne Skov (6- foot-3, 243-pounds, So.): Skov is a tough player with a great motor. At times he can find himself out of place, but he makes up for it with his relentless in pursuit of the ball. Skov returned to the starting lineup after missing the first two game of the season with a leg infection. He made four tackle against Wake Forest. Started seven games last season as a freshman, finishing third on the team in tackles with 62.

    #57 Max Bergen (6- foot-2, 230-pounds, Sr/Jr.):Bergen is a player and will likely see snaps against the Irish with Skov still getting his legs back. He isn't afraid to give up his body to take on offensive linemen. Bergen started the first two games of the season in Skov's absence. He's currently second on the team with 14 tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage. Prior to this season, he saw limited action.

  • Outside Linebacker – #94 Thomas Keiser (6- foot-5, 244-pounds, 5th Sr./Jr.):Keiser is solid, but not an overly aggressive player at linebacker. He tends to give ground when he takes on blockers and at times slow to react. Keiser has six tackles on the season, 1.5 sacks and an interception. He has started 18 games in a Cardinal uniform, including all three contest in 2010.

    #93 Trent Murphy (6- foot-6, 246-pounds, So./Fr.): Murphy has two tackles and a sack in two games. He did not see action as a freshman.

Defensive Backs

  • Left Cornerback – #9 Richard Sherman (6- foot-3, 192-pounds, 5th Sr.): Physically it's tough to imagine that he is able to play corner, but thus far he's been holding up. Sherman has started 15 games at cornerback including all three game this season. He is fourth on the team in tackles with nine and he has one interception. Sherman is in his second season as the starting cornerback after transitioning from wide receiver prior to the 2009 season. In 2009 his finished fourth on the team in tackles with 62. He also had two interceptions.

    #31 Barry Browning (6-foot-1, 168-pounds, Fr.): Browning has played limited minutes this season, but he has made appearances in all three game. He has two tackles on the season.

  • Strong Safety – #26 Delano Howell (5- foot-11, 198-pounds, Jr.): Howell has good speed and is aggressive in supporting the run. He's also a sure tackler. Howell has started every game this year and has seven tackles thus far. He has started 14 games during his career. In his first season as a starter in 2009, he was the team's second leading tackler with 78 stops. He also had two interceptions.

    #23 Austin Yancy (6-foot-4, 203-pounds, 5th Sr.): He's played in all three games. Yancy has three tackles and an interception this season. He started 12 games in 2007 and 19 during his career.

  • Free Safety – #3 Michael Thomas (5- foot-11, 182-pounds, Jr.): Thomas is the teams leading tackler with 16 through three games. He has three tackles for a loss. Thomas is starting for the first time in his career after playing in 25 games in his first two seasons at Stanford.

    #40 Taylor Skaufel (6-foot-1, 196-pounds, Sr.): Skaufel has played in all three games this season with one start. He has six tackles this season. Skaufel has primarily been a special teams player and career backup.

  • Right Cornerback – #27 Johnson Bademosi (6- foot-1, 197-pounds, Jr.): Like Sherman, Bademosi has the physical tools to be a very solid corner and thus far, he's held up very well. Bademosi has started all three contests this season and nine overall. In the first three games this season he has registered eight tackles.

    #6 Terrence Brown (6- foot-1, 178-pounds, So/Fr.): Brown has played in all three contests this season and has three tackles. He did not see action as a freshman. Top Stories