Stanford Scouting Report

As I broke this game down I came away with two thoughts, woeful and valiant. The Stanford offense is just woeful, and the defense was valiant. Injuries have decimated the Cardinal ranks of play makers, putting terrible stress on their defense, which actually played their best game of the season.

Stanford vs UCLA Scouting Report

Terribletr, aka Terry, whom you may have heard on power hour Tuesday, gave the listeners a great explanation on the stress that occurs on football players, physically and mentally, over a season. If you missed it, download the power hour from Tuesday, October 3. Please, no ezmails on the fact that Terry is a much more polished speaker than I am. At any rate, I have not seen a team that suffers more from those two stress factors than Stanford. This is one beat up football team.

Notre Dame leads the Stanford series14-6, and even though there have been some losses to the Cardinal at inopportune times, and some games that were close that shouldn't have been, the Irish are on a four game winning streak against Stanford, and unless an apocalypse occurs it will be extended to a five game winning streak.

I've eliminated the hash tendencies of passing and running selections in this report, as college coaches are generally adept at balancing their attack all over the field. I'll do this until I find a team that is thoroughly left or right dominated in a part of their offense…like maybe ND?

Relevant Stats from Stanford vs UCLA

Scoring by quarters:
UCLA 7 0 7 17 31

Stanford 0 0 0 0 0

First downs: Stanford – 11, 4 rushing 7 passing, 0 penalty

UCLA – 18, 6 rushing 12 passing, 0 penalty

Third Down Percentage: Stanford: 4 of 13 31%

UCLA: 8 of 17 41% ( 0 of 1 on 4th down)

Total Yardage: Stanford: 166 yd, 49 rushing, 117 passing

UCLA: 389 yd, 166 rushing, 223 passing


Toby Gebhart: 12 att., 32 yd, 2.7 ypc, longest 8 yd

Jason Evans: 4 att., 21 yd. 5.2 ypc, longest 8 yd

Emeka Nnoli: 1 att., 4 yd

Trent Edwards: 14 att., -8 yd, -0.6 ypc

Passing: Trent Edwards: 12 of 23, 117 yd, 3 INT, sacked 7 times for -56 yd


Richard Sherman: 4 for 50 yd, 12.5 avg., longest 29 yd

Kelton Lynn: 3 for 25 yd, 8.3 avg., longest 10 yd

Emeka Nnoli: 2 for 9 yd, 4.5 avg., longest 6 yd

Toby Gerhart: 1 for 14 yd

Jim Dray: 1 for 11 yd

Micheal Miller: 1 for 8 yd

Stanford Special Team Stats:

Punting: 7 for 260 yd, 37.1 yd avg., 3 returned for 32 yd, 10.7 avg.

Kick offs: 1 for touchback

Punt returns: 3 for 4 yd

Kick off returns: 3 for 29 yd

Field Goals: 1 miss from 40 yd

Quick Kick: Edwards, 1 for 54 yd

Penalties: 3 for 26 yd

Time of Possession: Stanford 30:23 UCLA 29:37

Cardinal Offense:

This is not you're a-typical Walt Harris offense. Having had lean years as a coach, low talent levels, and no depth, I sympathize with him. It's hard on the coaches and the players, far more than on the fans, to hit the field week in and week out with such dim prospects for a win.

When your hopes are high on offense, as Stanford's hopes were at the onset of the season, and it all falls apart, you have a shattered football team offensively. Coach Harris, in his second year at Stanford, came into a program with little depth, and the injuries that occurred to his offense bear that out statistically. The Cardinal total offense in its past four games has gone down hill in each game. Starting with the second game and through to UCLA this past Saturday their total offense reads as 418, 344, 195, and 166 yd.

I believe that the third quarter is critical in a contest where, after 30 minutes of play, you usually see most of what the other staff has planned, and what the other team brings to the game. Stanford has been outscored 50-3 in the third quarter which, to me, is a telling stat.

The primary reason for the declining offense can be traced to injuries to their receiver corps. WR, Mark Bradford, who averaged 16.5 YPC last year, WR, Evan Moore, Jr., injured last year as well, but averaged 15.5 YPC before being injured this year, and TE, Matt Treverso, who averaged 11.7 YPC last year. They have been replaced by two walk ons at WR in, Kelton Lynn, # 86, 6'2, 190 lb, 14 receptions, for 11.6 avg., and 1 TD, Micheal Miller, #88, 6'1", 195 lb, 4 receptions, for a 9.8 avg., and 0 TD, and TE backup, Jim Dray, 6'5", 240 lb, 11 receptions, 8.7 avg,.1 TD. It was apparent from watching the tape that the new kids are just not polished receivers, cut routes short, adjust poorly to the ball in flight, don't com back well for the ball, and as a result there isn't much of a vertical passing game for Stanford. An offense that features too many hitches, outs, curls, slip screens, and quick screens that doesn't occasionally stress the defense vertically will cause the DBs and LBs to jump routes, which the Bruins clearly did on two interceptions.

The other problem for Standford's offense is the offensive line. Veteran members of IrishEyes, and any devout Notre Dame fan know the reason for that deficiency. Despite an aggregate of 142 starts, they don't move people in the running game, and allow far too many sacks for their experience. They are neither a strong or athletic unit.

Trent Edwards, the Cardinal signal caller is having a character testing year. Last year he had a QB rating of 139, 17 TD passes against 7 interceptions despite being sacked 3.8 times a game. This year his rating is 122, and it has been slipping quickly due to the load he has to carry in an offense that's depleted of playmakers. He's only thrown 6 TD passes, and five of those came in the first two games. He's been sacked an average of 4.2 times a game, six by UCLA before mercifully being lifted with five minutes left in the game. He's been intercepted six times, three by UCLA, and lost two fumbles to UCLA, one that went for a score. Another stat that indicates Cardinal offensive woes is that Edwards has quick kicked once in each of the past two games, the last one for 54 yd.

Stanford's running game averages only 87 yd a game with freshman Toby Gebhart, #7, 6'1", 238 lb, getting the bulk of the carries with a 4.2 YPC, but it was only 2.7 YPC against UCLA. The team YPC average is 2.6.

Offensively, the Stanford Cardinal does not stretch the field like Norte Dame does. Their offensive line splits against UCLA looked to be only one foot apart, as they really pack it in tight. That tells me that the Stanford staff, while perhaps favoring such an alignment, may have done so because their OL isn't very athletic, and they need less of a gap to protect. Note, if you have a tape of the ND-Purdue game, that the splits between Harris, Santucci, Sullivan, and Morton, are wider than those of Stanford, but that Young is not split nearly as far from Morton, possibly to protect Young's inexperience. You only need to go to the replay of West's TD to see said lines splits by the Irish and how they widen the field.

Many times the Cardinal split end is only at a five yard spilt from the tackle, the flanker only five yards from the TE, and when they do employ three wide receivers, they usually are only spread from one hash line to inside the opposite yard line number. At times, if they are in the middle of the hashes, their formation barely passes the hash lines on either side.

Stanford favors a one back set, two backs in the I formation, and will also go with two tight ends. Most runs originate straight ahead or off tackle. There is the occasional toss play as well. Stanford didn't pull or trap anyone against UCLA that I saw, even on the toss plays. The only running play that stood out is they have the little jet play that ND ran for a first down against Purdue with Walker on first down. No reverses or anyone passing the ball other than the QB were seen vs UCLA.

Stanford Defense:

At the beginning of this report I stated that the Stanford defense was valiant. I stand on that. Those kids played their guts out in the first half and through the third quarter. The punt team gave up a blocked punt for a score in the first quarter, and the Bruins didn't score till 2:45 of the third quarter. Until that second score they stopped UCLA on an interception inside the 20, and had a goal line stand inside their three yard line, blunting a seventeen play drive by the Bruins. Stanford's defense had come into the game giving up an NCAA worst of 312 yards rushing per game, but held UCLA to 166 yards. They swarmed, fought, and tackled with a lot of fire, but eventually wore down due to the size of the Bruins and the lack of their offense's production.

An indication of Stanford's defensive improvement, despite a game giving up 534 yd, and in all others giving up over 450 yd each time, is they held UCLA to 389 total yards bearing up under an offense that let them down. Also the Bruins' Chris Markey came into the game averaging 7.1 yards per rush, but Stanford held him to 4.9 yd. They only sacked the Bruins' QB, Olson, once, but they hit him hard and repeatedly many times throughout the game.

Stanford plays a 3-4, with one LB aligning at the LOS or moving back to have four LBs across the formation. Sometimes they give a 5-2 look bring the outside LBs up near the LOS.

A few reports back I assailed the production values of ABC and their directors. Fox Sports Network is far worse with a love of starting a play with a tight shot of the QB as the ball is snapped, and when they widen out no safeties, and often no corners appearing in the picture. Even as a play unfolds they have problems pulling back as the LBs dropping in pass coverage pass out of the picture most of the time. Additionally, in this game, I was burdened with the shrill tones and constant gab of Len Berman. I feel for west coast viewers if this is what Fox does consistently. Rudy Martzke, where are you when needed? Rant being over, the only thing I was able to see in coverage was initial alignment in cover 2 and the end result of the play. Even their replay was lousy.

Stanford obviously had nothing to lose this game, nor will they the rest of the season, so they risk anything in the effort to make plays. Safety blitzes, corner blitzes, and LB blitzes abound. Nothing startling, but they come fired up with their blitzes, and will even blitz a DB and OLB from the same side. They pursue well as a team, the LBs drop deep when they aren't blitzing, and they caused UCLA problems with short routes over the middle.

Their best LBs, # 55, Micheal Okwo, 6', 220 lb, who is banged up, with a cast on one hand, but still hustles, and OLB Pat Maynor, #44, 6'2", 215., possibly their best blitzer.

CB, Tim Sims, #14, 5'11", 190 lb, is a firey guy, appears to be the best DB athletically, at least against UCLA, and seemed to be on his own most of the game. The other three DB's average over 6'2" in height which could foster some interesting battles vs McKnight and Samardzjia on any jump balls.

Stanford Special Teams:

The Stanford field goal kicker, # 13, Aaron Zagory, has the leg, but not the accuracy as he is 3 of 6 in field goals this year. He missed his only attempt in the Bruins game, a forty yard attempt, by the closest of margins, directly over the goal post's outer spire.

The punt return game has netted a ranking of 117th in the nation at 1.33 yd per return. Only Temple 's -1.40 is worse.

The kick off return game has had a revolving door of returners that averages 15.33 yards per game and an NCAA rank of 115th. In the UCLA game the returner caught the ball a yard deep, was cautioned by the up man to stay in the end zone, but stepped over the goal line and had to bring it out, getting only to the five. This sort of event sums up their special team return play.

Punt coverage allows 9.7 yd per return, with one TD against them, with an NCAA rank of 72nd.

Kick off coverage allows an average of 24.56 yd per return, but no TDs, and are ranked 105th in the NCAA.

Analysis & Wish List:

Last week I said Purdue was banged up, and in some areas they were, but a better term for Stanford might be smashed up. Truly, a football team that has been through a lot of bad breaks with the injury bug. Even those wounded who are sucking it up and playing, as football players do this time of year, would appear to be more damaged than those on the Irish nursing some wounds, but still suiting up. I can't help but feel for these kids as Harris attempts to build up his depth via recruiting, a recruiting that has spiraled down under the last two regimes.

The Irish are in far better shape physically and have far better talent in all three phases of the game. Only a super effort by Stanford and the Irish making mistakes could keep this game close for any length of time.

I'm interested in seeing if the Stanford CB's play a press coverage on Rhema and Shark or hang back.

I expect one of the return teams to break one.

I'd like to see two halves of complete football by all units, no matter who's in the game.

I'd like to see a major effort made in running right by the Irish.

I'd like to see Prince with double digit carries.

I'd like to see West in a pass pattern or two. (unless, of course Coach Weis is saving that)

I'd like to see the young OLs rotated in unless they are saving them a year of eligibility.

My pick will be on the Members Board as usual. Top Stories