Offensive Depth Chart Analysis

With Stanford's 15 spring practices now in the rearview mirror, we finally have the first official depth chart of 2007. We start by taking you through the offense, which is listed two-deep at every position and three-deep at one spot that might surprise you. Also included is commentary and analysis on all the positions and personnel, including a few key players not listed you need to know.

T.C. Ostrander - Sr*
Alex Loukas - Fr*

Note:  Not listed is Tavita Pritchard (So*), who we have been told by both head coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator David Shaw is dead even with Loukas for the backup job behind Ostrander.  Loukas was ahead through the meat of the spring but faded at the end, while Pritchard made significant strides.  Ostrander is the unquestioned starter at this position and the leader of this offense, enjoying a blockbuster spring until one crummy (and publicly displayed) performance in the Spring Game.

Running Back
Anthony Kimble - Jr*
Toby Gerhart - So*

Note:  Not listed are Jason Evans (Sr*), who had a good spring, and Tyrone McGraw (Fr*), who was limited by injury this spring but finished with a bang.  Kimble is the unquestioned starter and leader of this group, and it is a testament to what Gerhart showed on film last fall that he is slotted second on this depth chart.  Don't count out Evans and McGraw from the rotation, however, simply because this position is only listed two-deep.

Emeka Nnoli - Sr*
Sam Weinberger - Fr*

Note:  Successful position switch, moving Weinberger from linebacker to fullback.  He has a long way to go, but he competed successfully enough to move himself into the backup position.  Maybe more important was the fire he lit under Nnoli, who came alive this spring and addressed several areas needing improvement.  He is now focused on becoming a better blocker, and he saw heavy work carrying the ball the second half of the spring as well.

Wide Receiver
Mark Bradford - Sr*
Stephen Carr - Fr*

Note:  Bradford didn't have a blistering spring, while he continued to recover from his foot surgery last fall.  He is not a concern and remains a candidate for top Pac-10 honors next season.  Carr is more notable here, having an excellent spring and earning the #4 spot among Stanford's wideouts, according to offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach David Shaw.  He showed good hands and route running this spring and was a pleasant surprise.  Not listed is Kelton Lynn (Jr*), who is right there with Carr and will provide playing depth at wide receiver this fall.  He has speed and is a very smart player.

Wide Receiver
Evan Moore - Sr*
Richard Sherman - So

Note:  Moore was even less healthy than Bradford this spring and only found himself fully in the mix of practices the final week.  His physical condition and confidence running and pushing off his foot prevented him from exploding to the ball when we did see him in action, but that is not the Moore we will see in the fall.  Sherman had a super spring, flashing highlight plays on deep patterns throughout the month.  He remains plenty raw, however, with a world of technique and understanding still to gain at the position.  This wide receiver duo plus Bradford is the strength of the offense and of the Stanford team this year.

Tight End
James Dray - So*
Ben Ladner - So*
Austin Gunder - Jr*

Note:  As wide receiver is the strength of the offense, tight end is the surprise.  Dray had a good month and held down the starting job, but both Ladner and Gunder had breakout springs.  Ladner went from a scout team fullback to essentially a co-starter with Dray after just a couple weeks of work.  He impressed with his speed, hands and toughness - the only down note being an ankle sprain that limited him the last week.  Gunder was an afterthought at this position just a few months ago but showed great routes and hands in the receiving game this spring.  Any two of these three can take the field and make plays for Stanford this fall.  And not even listed is Matt Traverso (Sr*), who was out most of the spring working back to physical condition.  He is the best blocker among Stanford's tight ends and a proven playmaker in the receiving game.  This position has the best depth on the offense all of a sudden, and if you don't believe us, take note that this is the only position listed three-deep on the entire offensive depth chart.

Left Tackle
Allen Smith - Jr*
Bobby Dockter - Jr*

Note:  Smith is enjoying a breakout year with his intensity, play and leadership.  He has awakened and is becoming the player the Cardinal community hoped they landed when signing him as a prep All-American.  More surprising was the step forward by Dockter, who had an awakening of his own.  The combination of coaching staff change and position switch (from offensive guard) helped light a fire and significantly strengthened Stanford's tackle depth.  Dockter has the feet to play left tackle but also can give depth on the right side.  There is a marked gap between Smith and Dockter, but at least the latter is now moving forward full steam ahead.

Left Guard
Mikal Brewer - Sr*
Gustav Rydstedt - Jr*

Note:  This is one of two open and intriguing position battles on the offensive line.  Brewer holds down the job for now, with his experience and athleticism.  But Rydstedt was a fantastic surprise this spring after being moved from the defensive line.  His feet, athleticism and nastiness displayed a lot of promise.  He is just learning the position, though.  It remains to be seen how far he is from playing readiness, but Rydstedt greatly excited the staff this spring.  He also remains a viable supplier of depth on the defensive line and could see action on either side of the ball this fall, depending on the health of the respective lines.  Not listed is Preston Clover (Sr*), who is a utility sub for this offensive line able to play either guard, center or right tackle.

Tim Mattran - Sr*
Bert McBride - Fr*

Note:  Mattran is back for a sixth year, providing a good deal of experience and the mental wherewithal to make the pre-snap calls for the offensive line.  He is the brains of the offensive line and sets them up.  Mattran had a steady but not superb spring.  More noteworthy was the surge by McBride, who took some snaps with the first team offense this spring.  His help and continued development at center allows others on the offensive line to compete at guard and tackle positions.

Right Guard
Alex Fletcher - Jr*
Andrew Phillips - Fr*

Note:  No surprise to see Fletcher starting for a third straight year.  After playing center last season, he did have to make the adjustment this spring to the steps at guard.  He worked closely with offensive line coach Chris Dalman particularly on his pass sets and improved throughout the spring.  Fletcher is a perfect match for this coaching staff and is stepping up as one of the top leaders of the offense and football team.  Phillips has the strength and physical ability to be an imposing blocker, and he showed that this spring when he knew who to block.  His challenge is in the mental side of the game, learning reads and who to block - also making plays in the second level.

Right Tackle
Ben Muth - Jr*
John Kyed - Fr*

Note:  This position joins left guard as the other question mark on the offensive line.  Muth played almost the entire spring with the first team, and he did make strides.  But that had equally as much to do with the abject lack of bodies to compete with him.  Kyed broke his hand in the opening days of spring ball, and not listed is Chris Marinelli (So*), who is expected to provide fierce competition with Muth this August.  Marinelli had shoulder surgery in the off-season, so the new staff has yet to work with him at all.

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