Tuesday, August 24, 2010
PAC 10 2010-Stanford Cardinal
2009 Record: 8-5 (6-3)
Head Coach: Jim Harbaugh (4th season, 17-20...46-20 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: David Shaw (4th season)
Defensive Coordinator: Vic Fangio (1st season)
2009 Bowl Game: Sun Bowl, lost to Oklahoma 31-27
Offense: With Toby Gerhart gone to the NFL, QB Andrew Luck becomes the focus of the Stanford offense. Luck played very well as a freshman in 2009, but he will have a much heavier load to bear this season. The good news is that he has a solid set of receivers to get the ball to in Chris Owusu and Ryan Whalen. Owusu may be one of the best WRs in the conference and in the west, and has huge big play ability, but he has to use a little more stick 'um, as he had the dropsies at key times last season. TE Levine Tiololo is 6-8 and really proved himself in spring ball. Jeremy Stewart, Tyler Gafney, and Stepfan Taylor are all competing to replace Gerhart, but none of them have the star power. 4 starters return on the line.
Defense: The defense is under some significant reconstruction under Fangio, and several players are at new positions going into fall camp. The Cardinal will now play out of a base 3-4 set. NT Sione Fua has huge potential, but both ends will be new. 3 starters will return at LB, with emerging star Shayne Skov leading the way.The cool story at LB is that FB Owen Marecic will also start at LB, making him a 2 way starter, a cool extreme rarity in the modern era. SS Delano Howell and CB Richard Sherman are the returnees in the secondary.
Special Teams: Nate Whitaker is a good option at PK after making 16 of 22 FGs last season. He can get better with another year of experience. David Green returns at punter, but is not a lock to start over Daniel Zychlinski.
Wins: 9/4 Sacramento State, 9/18 Wake Forest, 10/23 Washington State, 11/6 @ Arizona State, 11/20 @ California
Toss Up Games: 9/11 @ UCLA, 11/25 @ Notre Dame, 10/9 USC, 10/30 @ Washington, 11/6 Arizona, 11/27 Oregon State
Losses: 10/2 @ Oregon
The schedule is not overly difficult. There are several very winnable games in the toss box if the D comes together. This schedule is taylor made for success, and 10 wins or more would not be a surprise, but the opposite can happen if the D does not progress and something happens to Luck. IN that case, 5 or 6 wins could be a reality.
Outlook: As mentioned, if the D comes together and the key players stay healthy, than Stanford could compete for a spot in the upper echelon of the conference. This has all of the potential to be a dream season in Palo Alto, but it can all fall apart very easily. Success will be a fragile thing for the 2010 Cardinal.