Spring Scrimmage #2 Report

Much fan and media attention was turned to the star-studded gathering at the preceding Alumni Game, but we were sure to take down the play-by-play for all 13 series of Saturday's scrimmage at Stanford Stadium. Presented here is the most detailed analysis and recap on the planet of the action in the Cardinal's second live scrimmage this spring, where the offense ruled the day running and passing.

For the second straight scrimmage, the story was the offense having their way with the defense.  Typical scrimmage rules give a minimum number of plays to an offensive unit before they leave the field, whether their work is cut short by success or failure.  The first-team offense scored so quickly to start this scrimmage that they stayed on the field for three straight series.  All three finished with touchdowns, the first two taking three and five plays each to move 70 yards.

The combined first and second units of the offense scored on their first six possessions - four touchdowns and two field goals.  Not until the seventh series did the defense fight back, though they did enjoy an impressive run from that point forward.  The defense stopped the offense the next four series, twice with fumbles and twice with stops on third down.  The offense finished the day afterward with one touchdown each by the first and second units, with a defensive stop mixed in between.  Of the three series in this scrimmage where the defense made a third-down stop, two of those series were significantly aided by a handful of offense penalties.  It could be argued that the offense stopped themselves.

Penalties and the two fumbles aside, it was a day of unmitigated success for the offense.  They racked up 588 yards, with a multitude of double-digit gainers.  The running game managed 10 plays of 10 yards or more, while the passing offense connected for another 13 plays for double-digit yardage.  The fade patterns were particularly successful against man coverage by Stanford's cornerbacks, for touchdowns and big gainers.

The overall passing efficiency on the day was astounding.  Fifth-year senior quarterback T.C. Ostrander threw 14-of-15 on the afternoon with two touchdowns, and he did not record an incompletion until his 13th attempt.  That was a throw-away he made to avoid taking a sack on the first play of his last series, which finished with a touchdown.  Ostrander spent most of the scrimmage dissecting the defense on short-to-medium patterns.  The only passing plays longer than 15 yards in his first seven series were not downfield throws.  A 42-yarder to fifth-year senior Mark Bradford was a short out pattern, which he beat his cornerback in the open field after the catch and took the distance.  A 17-yarder to sophomore Richard Sherman also scored a touchdown but was an intermediate pass across the middle and run in for the score.

Redshirt freshman Alex Loukas saw the lion's share of time on the field for the second-team offense, leading four of their five series.  His first two series each started with superlative plays - perhaps the two biggest highlights of the scrimmage.  A bootleg run on his very first play left the defense stunned as he raced down the left sideline for 45 yards before being tackled out of bounds.  It was the second time in two scrimmages this spring that Loukas' feet knocked off our socks.  Stanford's trio of quarterbacks can all run well (though Ostrander has moved away from those plays this spring), but Loukas is head and shoulders above his position mates in foot speed.  The first play of his second series was a deep fade thrown down the right sideline to classmate Stephen Carr, connecting for 45 yards.  Loukas also was efficient on the day, hitting 11-of-14 passing for two touchdowns.

Redshirt sophomore Tavita Pritchard had misfortune on a couple of fronts.  He only played one series, and his unit was besieged by penalties.  His final stats showed 2-of-2 passing and two negative plays on the ground, but a pair of offensive penalties wiped away a super 33-yard touchdown and a nice nine-yard scramble.  In his one series, Pritchard's teammates committed five offensive penalties.

The combined mere four incompletions and zero interceptions by the three quarterbacks across the breadth of the scrimmage is great news for the offense but disquieting for the defense.  Short, medium and long plays all converted.  It was a poor day all-around for Stanford's cornerbacks, with none of them having good performances.  Fifth-year senior Nick Sanchez on the first team and redshirt freshman Tyler Porras on the second team were particularly picked upon by the passing game.

On the ground, it was a heavy day of work for two men.  Fifth-year seniors Jason Evans and Emeka Nnoli combined to take all of the tailback carries across the first- and second-team offenses.  Each ran in a short-yardage touchdown, and each ran multiple times to the third level of the defense.  Evans had the biggest gainers, ripping off runs of 17 and 53 yards his first two touches on the day.  He finished with 15 rushes for 134 yards (8.9 yards per carry), and he looked fast with his cutbacks - in both speed and decision-making.  Nnoli was less prolific at 18 carries for 80 yards (4.4 ypc), and he also put the ball on the ground with a lost fumble.

Last week I criticized the defense harshly for poor tackling, though that was not the culprit today.  The broken tackles for extra yardage were very rare and dramatically improved from the first scrimmage.  The explanation for the Stanford defense being sliced and diced in this scrimmage lies with players being in position.  Whether that is a matter of players still learning an entirely new defense, or it is a reflection of their athleticism, remains to be seen.

In the receiving game, the ball was spread broadly among the wideouts who were healthy.  The one surprise was the near shutout for the two tight ends who looked so impressive a week earlier.  Redshirt sophomores James Dray and Ben Ladner went without a reception until Dray caught a two-yard touchdown on the final play of the scrimmage.  The tight end receiving load was picked up wonderfully by redshirt junior Austin Gunder, who was silent last scrimmage but caught five balls on Saturday for 41 yards.  Reinforcing the importance of the tight end in this 2007 offense, Dray and Ladner were co-starters both on the field for the opening play of the scrimmage.  Two-tight end sets were frequent throughout the day.

Also hauling in five receptions each were Sherman and redshirt freshman Marcus Rance, making their respective dents for the first- and second-team offenses.  Both also caught touchdowns and averaged 10 yards per reception.  Rance showed nice playmaking on fade patterns, and Saturday was a breakout performance for the youngster.  Sherman flashed his speed and playmaking ability receiving and running the ball, though he had a major miscue on a fumble when he carried the ball loosely after a short reception.  Carr had just two receptions of record, though he was second on the team with 61 yards.  The redshirt frosh also had a 33-yard touchdown taken away by a penalty.  Bradford led all Stanford pass-catchers with 78 yards on his three receptions.

It was a little surprising and disappointing to not see any meaningful production throwing to the backs.  Two of three passes completed to backs went for losses.

In the special teams arena, there were two periods of designated work - punting and kickoffs.  Both were reasonably successful though limited in how much they demonstrated to us.  Most notable was the perfect day kicking by fifth-year senior Derek Belch, who is surging this spring.  His performances are improving with each week, and he looks nothing like the erratic mass of last spring.  On this day, Belch converted all six extra points and hit both of his field goal attempts.  The second came from just beyond 50 yards, and he admittedly did not strike the ball nearly as powerfully as his leg is capable.  The low-arcing kick went through, though, to the delight and surprise of the fans and his teammates.  Belch showed a flash of kicker's confidence, turning away immediately to celebrate with holder/punter/friend Jay Ottovegio while the ball was just rising in the air.

SCRIMMAGE PLAY-BY-PLAY

1st Team Offense vs. 1st Team Defense
(Quarterback = T.C. Ostrander)

1st & 10 @ own 30:  17-yard run by Jason Evans (tackle by Carlos McFall)
1st & 10 @ 47:  11-yard pass completion to Austin Gunder (tackle by Wopamo Osaisai and Udeme Udofia)
1st & 10 @ opp 42:  42-yard pass completion for a touchdown to Mark Bradford (against Nick Sanchez, missed tackle; play-action by Ostrander; short pass and long run)
Extra point good by Derek Belch (Jay Ottovegio hold)

1st Team Offense vs. 1st Team Defense
(Quarterback = T.C. Ostrander)

1st & 10 @ own 30:  53-yard run by Jason Evans (tackle by Carlos McFall)
1st & 10 @ opp 17:  1-yard run by Emeka Nnoli (tackle by Erik Lorig and Bo McNally)
2nd & 9 @ 16:  13-yard pass completion to Austin Gunder (tackle by Carlos McFall and Peter Griffin)
1st & Goal @ 3:  No gain on run by Emeka Nnoli (tackle by Udeme Udofia)
2nd & Goal @ 3:  3-yard run for a touchdown by Emeka Nnoli (two backs, three tight ends)
Extra point good by Derek Belch (Jay Ottovegio hold)

1st Team Offense vs. 1st Team Defense
(Quarterback = T.C. Ostrander)

1st & 10 @ own 30:  6-yard run by Richard Sherman on an end-around (tackle by Pat Maynor; defeats Wopamo Osaisai in open field with stiff-arm)
2nd & 4 @ 36:  10-yard run by Jason Evans (tackle by Bo McNally)
1st & 10 @ 46:  10-yard run by Jason Evans (tackle by Peter Griffin and Wopamo Osaisai)
1st & 10 @ opp 44:  9-yard pass completion to ?? (tackle by Bo McNally and Nick Macaluso)
2nd & 1 @ 35:  11-yard run by Emeka Nnoli (tackle by Carlos McFall)
1st & 10 @ 24:  No gain on pass completion to Richard Sherman (tackle by Nick Sanchez)
2nd & 10 @ 24:  7-yard pass completion to Austin Gunder (tackle by Pat Maynor and Erik Lorig)
3rd & 3 @ 17:  17-yard pass completion for a touchdown to Richard Sherman (against Carlos McFall; dragging across middle)
Extra point good by Derek Belch (Jay Ottovegio hold)

2nd Team Offense vs. 2nd Team Defense
(Quarterback = Alex Loukas)

1st & 10 @ own 30:  45-yard run by Alex Loukas (tackle by Thaddeus Chase; play-fake bootleg)
1st & 10 @ opp 25:  No gain on run by Emeka Nnoli (tackle by Thaddeus Chase)
2nd & 10 @ 25:  3-yard run by Emeka Nnoli (tackle by Emmanuel Awofadeju and Tom McAndrew)
3rd & 7 @ 22:  10-yard pass completion to Nate Wilcox-Fogel (tackle by Brian Bulcke)
1st & 10 @ 12:  2-yard run by Jason Evans (tackle by Sione Fua and Brian Bulcke)
2nd & 8 @ 10:  3-yard run by Emeka Nnoli (tackle by Brian Bulcke)
3rd & 5 @ 7:  Pass incomplete intended for Ben Ladner (break-up by Austin Yancy)
4th & 5 @ 7:  25-yard field goal good by Derek Belch (Jay Ottovegio hold)

2nd Team Offense vs. 2nd Team Defense
(Quarterback = Alex Loukas)

1st & 10 @ own 30:  50-yard pass completion to Stephen Carr (against Tyler Porras; tackle by Tyler Porras)
1st & 10 @ opp 20:  2-yard run by Emeka Nnoli (tackle by ??)
Timeout by the defense
2nd & 8 @ 18:  4-yard pass completion to Austin Gunder (tackle by Fred Campbell and Tyler Porras)
3rd & 4 @ 14:  9-yard run by Emeka Nnoli (tackle by Thaddeus chase and Austin Yancy)
1st & Goal @ 5:  5-yard pass completion for a touchdown to Marcus Rance (against Tyler Porras; fade pattern)
Extra point good by Derek Belch (Jay Ottovegio hold)

Punt Team Work

37-yard punt by Jay Ottovegio from own 45-yardline to the 18
44-yard punt by Jay Ottovegio from own 45-yardline to the 11

1st Team Offense vs. 1st Team Defense
(Quarterback = T.C. Ostrander)

1st & 10 @ own 30:  1-yard run by Jason Evans (tackle by Udeme Udofia)
2nd & 9 @ 31:  11-yard pass completion to Richard Sherman (against Wopamo Osaisai)
Pass interference penalty against Wopamo Osaisai for 15 yards negates the play
1st & 10 @ 46:  1-yard loss on pass completion to Jason Evans (tackle by Nick Sanchez and Wopamo Osaisai)
2nd & 11 @ 45:  11-yard run by Jason Evans (tackle by Bo McNally and Austin Yancy)
Personal foul face mask penalty against Erik Lorig adds 15 yards to the play
Peter Griffin injured (ankle) on the play
1st & 10 @ opp 29:  1-yard loss on pass completion to Josh Catron (tackle by Nick Macaluso)
2nd & 11 @ 30:  4-yard run by Jason Evans (tackle by Chris Horn)
3rd & 7 @ 27:  Quarterback sack by Erik Lorig for loss of six yards
4th & 13 @ 33:  50-yard field goal good by Derek Belch (Jay Ottovegio hold)

1st Team Offense vs. 1st Team Defense
(Quarterback = T.C. Ostrander)

1st & 10 @ own 30:  5-yard pass completion to Richard Sherman, fumble forced by ?? recovered by Pat Maynor and returned 13 yards (tackle by Alex Fletcher)

2nd Team Offense vs. 2nd Team Defense
(Quarterback = Tavita Pritchard)

1st & 10 @ own 30:  2-yard loss on run by Tavita Pritchard (pressure by Brian Bulcke; tackle by C.J. Easter)
2nd & 12 @ 28:  11-yard run by Emeka Nnoli (tackle by Robert Polk)
3rd & 1 @ 39:  1-yard run by Emeka Nnoli (tackle by Landon Johnson)
Illegal procedure penalty on the offense for 5 yards negates the play (incorrectly spotted 4 yards by officials)
3rd & 5 @ 35:  10-yard pass completion to Marcus Rance (tackle by Thaddeus Chase; play-action by Pritchard)
1st & 10 @ 45:  False start penalty on the offense for 5 yards
1st & 15 @ 40:  23-yard pass completion to March Rance (against C.J. Easter; fade pattern)
1st & 10 @ opp 37:  4-yard run by Emeka Nnoli (tackle by C.J. Easter)
1st & 10 @ 33:  33-yard pass completion for a touchdown to Stephen Carr (Pritchard flushed out, rolls right)
Penalty against the offense for 5 yards negates the play
1st & 15 @ 38:  9-yard run by Tavita Pritchard (tackle by Thaddeus Chase)
Illegal procedure penalty on the offense for 5 yards negates the play; loss of down? may be error by officials
2nd & 20 @ 43:  False start penalty on the offense for 5 yards
2nd & 25 @ 48:  5-yard run by Emeka Nnoli (tackle by Landon Johnson)
3rd & 20 @ 43:  Quarterback sack by Emmanuel Awofadeju for loss of seven yards

Kickoff Team Work

Derek Belch kickoff from own 30-yardline to 11
Derek Belch kickoff from own 30-yardline to 13 (out of bounds)

1st Team Offense vs. 1st Team Defense
(Quarterback = T.C. Ostrander)

1st & 10 @ own 30:  No gain on run by Jason Evans (tackle by ??)
2nd & 10 @ 30:  2-yard run by Jason Evans (tackle by Pat Maynor)
Penalty against the offense declined by the defense
3rd @ 8 @ 32:  6-yard pass completion to Richard Sherman (tackle by Nick Sanchez)

1st Team Offense vs. 1st Team Defense
(Quarterback = T.C. Ostrander)

1st & 10 @ own 30:  5-yard run by Jason Evans (tackle by Nick Macaluso)
-- Missing plays for 13 yards--
2nd & ?? @ 48:  2-yard run by Jason Evans (tackle by Pannel Egboh)
3rd & ?? @ 50:  5-yard pass completion to Mark Bradford (against Nick Sanchez; runs out of bounds)
1st @ 10 @ opp 45:  No gain on run by Emeka Nnoli, fumble forced by Chris Horn and recovered by Nick Sanchez

1st Team Offense vs. 1st Team Defense
(Quarterback = T.C. Ostrander)

1st & 10 @ own 30:  Pass incomplete (throw-away; pressure by Emmanuel Awofadeju and Erik Lorig)
Offensive holding penalty on the offense for 10 yards declined by the defense
2nd & 10 @ 30:  22-yard pass completion to Richard Sherman (against Nick Sanchez)
1st & 10 @ opp 48:  18-yard run by Jason Evans (tackle by Nick Sanchez and Udeme Udofia)
1st & 10 @ 30:  3-yard loss on run by Jason Evans (tackle by Nick Macaluso)
2nd & 13 @ 33:  31-yard pass completion to Mark Bradford (against Nick Sanchez; runs out of bounds)
1st & Goal @ 2:  2-yard run for a touchdown by Jason Evans
Gustav Rydstedt injured (elbow) on the play
Extra point good by Derek Belch (Jay Ottovegio hold)

2nd Team Offense vs. 2nd Team Defense
(Quarterback = Alex Loukas)

1st & 10 @ own 30:  4-yard pass completion to Marcus Rance (tackle by Tyler Porras)
2nd & 6 @ 34:  1-yard run by Emeka Nnoli (tackle by Landon Johnson)
3rd & 5 @ 35:  6-yard pass completion to Marcus Rance (tackle by Tyler Porras)
1st & 10 @ 41:  5-yard run by Emeka Nnoli (tackle by ??)
Off-sides penalty on the defense for 5 yards negates the play
1st & 5 @ 46:  Quarterback sack by Derek Hall for loss of seven yards
2nd & 12 @ 39:  False start penalty on the offense for 5 yards
2nd & 17 @ 34:  Pass incomplete (throw-away; pressure by Chris Horn and Brian Bulcke)
3rd & 17 @ 34:  6-yard pass completion to Austin Gunder (tackle by Tom McAndrew and Brian Bulcke; screen pass, poor blocking)

2nd Team Offense vs. 2nd Team Defense
(Quarterback = Alex Loukas)

1st & 10 @ own 30:  21-yard pass completion Nate Wilcox-Fogel (against C.J. Easter; fade pattern)
1st & 10 @ opp 49:  Pass incomplete (intended for Marcus Rance)
2nd & 10 @ 49:  2-yard run by Emeka Nnoli (tackle by Sione Fua)
3rd & 8 @ 47:  4-yard run by Alex Loukas (bootleg; tackle by Pannel Egboh)
4th & 4 @ 43:  10-yard pass completion to Josh Catron (tackle by C.J. Easter)
1st & 10 @ 33:  11-yard pass completion to Stephen Carr (tackle by Thaddeus Chase)
1st & 10 @ 22:  11-yard run by Emeka Nnoli (tackle by Tyler Porras)
1st & 10 @ 11:  9-yard run by Emeka Nnoli (tackle by Austin Yancy and Emmanuel Awofadeju)
2nd @ 1 @ 2:  2-yard completion for a touchdown to James Dray (against Bo McNally; against six-man defensive line)
Extra point good by Derek Belch (Jay Ottovegio hold)


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