Bootleg Exclusive: Offensive Playbook

Stanford’s 300-page playbook is renown for its unmatched complexity, and as such, represents a major obstacle to newcomers who hope to see the field. In this Bootleg exclusive, however, we have managed to obtain a copy of the playbook, and present it in its entirety today to our most loyal subscribers.

Stanford’s offensive coordinator is unique in that he calls the game not from the booth, like most of his peers at a major college or professional level, but from the field itself. One advantage of this system is that it allows for the necessary room for Coach Mike Bloomgren to throw a dart at the Cardinal's patented play-calling chart:

Now, if the playbook were so straightforward, Stanford players would be able to master it in less than 24 months of dedicated study. Of course, it’s not that simple. Whichever region the dart hits corresponds to a specific play. We are proud to present, only The Bootleg, the exclusive scoop of this fabled system, a testament to Stanford ingenuity and innovation at its finest.

Stanford offense playbook
1. Wildcat
2. Fade in the end zone
3. Punt in opposing territory
4. First-down run up the middle
5. Third-and-long run
6. Bring in third-stringer for his one designated package play per game – opponents will never see this coming!
7. QB doesn’t see hand-wavingly open receiver
8. Throw to triple-covered Montgomery
9. Throw right to the other team
10. QB pats, pats, pats – gets sacked
11. Panicked timeout with play clock running down
12. Give to 190-pound back in heavyset formation
13. Seven-step WR drop (not as complicated as it sounds – after taking seven steps, the receiver just drops the ball)
14. QB takes open receiver off his feet
15. McCaffrey’s one touch per half
16. Bad snap
17. QB happy feet for needless two-yard scramble
18. Third-down punt (first seen in 2005 playbook)
19. Bounce pass (first seen in 2012 playbook)
20. Stall in red zone
Miss dartboard entirely – Screw it and hope the defense scores
Step over line – Procedural penalty (Delay of game, 12 men on the field, illegal substitution, illegal formation… take your pick.)

Of course, there are some areas of the dartboard that hit all too infrequently, but are great successes whenever they do come through. The Stanford playbook is no exception:

Double-score ring: Play action to tight ends

Triple-score ring: Feed McCaffrey in space

Outer bullseye: Two minute drill – time to go hurry-up and actually move the ball (and then abandon the no-huddle forever after)

Inner Bullseye: Anything at all involving a fake – punt, field goal, surprise onside kick or two-point conversion, you name it. Hasn’t been hit in years.

Previously, Stanford fans had viewed the 2014 offense as a disjointed mélange of unconnected plays seemingly chosen at random, an in-the-dark groping for something, anything that might work. By providing this critical insight into the Stanford playbook, however, we hope the Cardinal community sees that there is more to picking plays than meets the eye. Calling football plays is less of a science than it is an art, and if nothing else, we hope Cardinalmaniacs walk away with an appreciation for the artistry necessary to make the Stanford offense go.

P.S.: Stay tuned, as we will soon reveal more must-haves for any Stanford football fan. Straight out of the coaching staff’s game closet, it’s…

Bingo: Similar to the dartboard motif, but with 75 options instead of 25. The expanded repertoire makes room for even more Stanford offensive staples, such as the checkdown, the center for a field-goal attempt, and the “Fiesta Bowl special”. Hey, no one said the Stanford playbook was simple.

Guess Who: Are you a Stanford running back who just gained two yards up the middle? How’d you know?!

Go Fish: Do you have an incoming quarterback recruit? Nope? Go fish!

Are you fully subscribed to The Bootleg? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our award-winning website. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with (sign-up)!

The Bootleg Top Stories