Pac-12: Drew Terrell

Stanford Cardinal season preview

August, 13, 2013
We continue our day-by-day snapshots of each Pac-12 team heading into the 2013 season in reverse alphabetical order with the Stanford Cardinal.


Coach: David Shaw (23-4)

2012 record: 12-2 (8-1 Pac-12 North)

Key losses: RB Stepfan Taylor, TE Zach Ertz, TE Levine Toilolo, OLB Chase Thomas

Key returnees: QB Kevin Hogan, OT David Yankey, LB Shayne Skov, LB Trent Murphy, DE Ben Gardner, S Ed Reynolds

Newcomer to watch: Stanford loves to rotate its linebacking corps, and outside linebacker Peter Kalambayi is impressive. He was a five- or four-star recruit, depending on which service you follow, and was one of the highest-rated OLBs in the country. He has a strong chance to play his way into the rotation.

[+] EnlargeDavid Shaw
Brian Murphy/Icon SMIStanford coach David Shaw has smiled a lot since Kevin Hogan became the starting QB late in the 2012 season.
Biggest games in 2013: The eyes of a college football nation will be tuned in on Thursday, Nov. 7, to see Oregon’s trip to Palo Alto. But there are plenty of big games before and after that -- including Arizona State (Sept. 21), Washington (Oct. 5), UCLA (Oct. 19), USC (Nov. 16) and the finale against Notre Dame (Nov. 30). If the Cardinal repeat as conference champs, they will have earned it.

Biggest question mark heading into 2013: It might have been the running back situation and the fact they have to replace Taylor. But Tyler Gaffney’s return from professional baseball adds experience and depth and bolsters a committee that should be able to mimic Taylor’s production. Receiving production, however, is still up in the air. Five of the top six receiving options from last year are gone -- including tight end Zach Ertz, Taylor and Drew Terrell. Ty Montgomery was sensational in 2011 and if he returns to form, could be a bona fide stretch-the-field threat. Behind him are a host of talented, but mostly unproven players. Look for Devon Cajuste, Michael Rector, Kodi Whitfield and freshman Francis Owusu (yes, that name should ring a bell), to work into the rotation.

Forecast: Expectations have never been higher for the Cardinal as they enter the year a preseason top-5 team. This is a veteran-heavy team that’s built to win tight games and grind opponents down in the fourth quarter.

The offensive focal point will be the progress of quarterback Kevin Hogan, who took over last season and went 5-0 as a starter -- including a 4-0 mark against Top 25 teams. He’s got one of the top offensive lines in the country -- headlined by All-American David Yankey -- protecting him, and a stellar defense has his back. Often forgotten is fullback Ryan Hewitt, who returns as one of the best in the country.

The running back group will be interesting to watch. Coach David Shaw strayed from his preferred by-committee method last season as Taylor carried 322 times -- most of anyone in the Pac-12. But he was that reliable. Gaffney, Anthony Wilkerson, Barry Sanders et al should all contribute and carve out their niche in the offense.

Aside from the aforementioned receiving position, many are eager to see what tight end Luke Kaumatule can do stepping in as a full-time player. The Cardinal were spoiled the past few years with Ertz, Levine Toilolo and Coby Fleener. Now it’s Kaumatule’s turn to carry the torch for what has been the nation’s most productive tight end-driven offense the past couple of years.

There are no real weak spots on Stanford’s defense. Five of the front seven are back from last year -- including DE Ben Gardner, ILB Shayne Skov and OLB Trent Murphy. The defensive backfield features, arguably, the nation’s top safety tandem in Ed Reynolds and Jordan Richards and Usua Amanam doesn’t get as much credit as he deserves as an outstanding nickel.

As noted above, the Cardinal play a very difficult schedule -- including four straight rivalry games to close out the season. This may seem daunting, and it is. But the Cardinal could have as many as 18 juniors or seniors in the starting 22, so chances are there isn’t a situation they haven’t seen or played through before. That experience will be invaluable as the Cardinal look to defend their conference title and try to make a run to another Rose Bowl -- or beyond.

Biggest shoes to fill: Stanford

March, 18, 2013
Starters in, starters out. That’s college football. Players’ eligibility expires, and they leave for the rest of their lives, whether that includes the NFL or not.

And they leave behind shoes of various sizes that need to be filled.

Our concern with this series? The biggest shoes -- in some cases Shaq-like size 23s.

Biggest shoes: TEs Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo

These guys rate a tandem because Ertz was a unanimous All-American, Toilolo was a towering No. 2 and they represented one of the great innovations during Stanford's rise into the nation's elite: The "Big" formations featuring multiple tight ends who catch the ball like receivers and block like tackles. When you toss Coby Fleener in there from 2011, and you recall how special that troika was. And now all three are gone and no tight end remains on the roster who has caught a pass. This is further notable because both Ertz and Toilolo could have returned this fall. Ertz's decision to leave wasn't a surprise. He's a potential first-round NFL draft pick. Toilolo's was, and more than a few folks think he made a mistake, surrendering an opportunity to be the lead guy, and answer questions about his inconsistent hands. It also doesn't help that the Cardinal lost their Nos. 2 and 3 receivers, running back Stepfan Taylor and receiver Drew Terrell. But the void isn't just about catching the ball. Stanford's tight ends have played a key role in the rise of a dominant power running game. While the offensive line should be strong again this fall, it's questionable if the "Big" formations will be as fearsome, at least the tight end options.

Stepping in? Sophomore Luke Kaumatule

Kaumatule, a 6-foot-7 Hawaiian, certainly looks the part, and he is the early leader after a strong first spring session, though he's still learning the ins and outs of the position. Coach David Shaw also moved senior Eddie Plantaric and junior Charlie Hopkins, former defensive linemen, to the position, and senior Davis Dudchock brings veteran leadership and knowledge. Sophomore Alex Frkovic is trying to come back from a knee injury and sophomore Chris Harrell is promising but needs to get bigger and stronger. It's important to keep in mind that Stanford isn't looking for just one guy. It would like at least three to step up because it has plenty of designed plays with three on the field at the same time. Another thing to keep in mind: Stanford is deep at fullback, led by former tight end Ryan Hewitt, who at 6-foot-4, might be the tallest fullback in the nation. There's no reason that when Shaw says, "Give me a big, nasty guy who can run and catch," he won't finger a fullback for the role.

PASADENA, Calif. -- A nip-and-tuck defensive battle was expected in the 99th edition of the Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio. And neither Stanford nor Wisconsin disappointed as the Cardinal downed the Badgers 20-14. Here's how it all went down in Pasadena:

It was over when: Stanford’s Usua Amanam recorded the first turnover of the game when he intercepted Wisconsin’s Curt Phillips with two minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Turning point: An interference penalty while Drew Terrell attempted to fair-catch a punt gave the Cardinal great field position with about 10 minutes left in the game. The drive resulted in a 22-yard field goal from Jordan Williamson and a 20-14 Stanford lead.

Game ball goes to: While this certainly wasn’t the cleanest game for Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan (12-of-19, 123 yards), he kept plays alive with his feet, rushing for 54 yards on seven carries, and he didn’t turn the ball over. As we saw, even one turnover can make the difference.

Unsung hero: After taking quite a beating following last season’s Fiesta Bowl, Williamson turned in a solid performance, hitting field goals of 47 and 22 yards.

What it means for Stanford: It’s a bit of good news for the Pac-12, which has had a disappointing bowl season. The Cardinal, playing in their third BCS bowl game in as many years, get to wash away a bit of the bad taste from last season’s Fiesta Bowl loss.

What it means for Wisconsin: The Badgers now are 0-for-their past three Rose Bowls, and the Big Ten has won just one Rose Bowl Game since 2000. It also caps a disappointing day for the conference, which saw Michigan, Nebraska and Purdue all go down.

Pac-12 player of the week

December, 3, 2012
Stanford wide receivers have played second fiddle to the tight ends and backs in recent years. So when a Cardinal receiver has a career day -- especially in a conference championship game -- it's worth the recognition.

Stanford senior Drew Terrell caught four balls for 70 yards and a touchdown in helping the Cardinal win the Pac-12 championship and advance to the Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio for the first time since 1999. All were career highs.

Now, when you look at some of the wide receivers in the Pac-12 -- a lot of whom get four catches, 70 yards and a touchdown before breakfast -- that doesn't seem like much. But make no mistake -- Terrell was a game-changer on Friday night.

He caught a 26-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter that tied the game at 24-24 after the Bruins had taken the lead on their previous possession. On UCLA's next possession, the Cardinal defense forced a three-and-out, and Terrell returned the ensuing punt 18 yards to the UCLA 43.

That set up Jordan Williamson's decisive 36-yard field goal.

In a game where two A-list running backs were on display, it was Terrell who led all receivers with his 70 yards and 17.5-yard average. Worth noting, too, that his touchdown came on a third-and-15. Terrell has caught 13 balls on third down this year and converted each one for a first down.

PALO ALTO, Calif. -- It didn't matter to Stanford that everyone was handing the Pac-12 to either USC or Oregon in the preseason. But, of course, it did. It didn't matter to Stanford that many expected the Cardinal to take a significant step back after losing quarterback Andrew Luck, the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft. But, of course, it did.

That's the twin engine that drives Stanford. It's contradictory only on the surface. Stanford doesn't pay attention to what you think because that chip is already on its collective shoulder. It's part of the program's culture. It doesn't care what you think but -- just in case -- it's certain you doubt them.

Yet here the Cardinal are, headed to the Rose Bowl as the Pac-12 champions after beating UCLA 27-24 on Friday, gutting out a victory over a foe that looked a lot tougher than it did six days earlier in a 35-17 defeat. The Cardinal is headed to a third consecutive BCS bowl game with a chance to finish a third consecutive season in the final top 10.

Surely that will convince the naysayers that the most elite academic institution playing FBS football is also elite on the gridiron?

"They probably still won't give us credit," outside linebacker Chase Thomas said. "They never have. They just don't get it. They counted us out before the season after Andrew left. They counted us out when [coach Jim] Harbaugh left. And when [running back Toby] Gerhart left."

While you might quibble with Stanford not getting credit -- it has finished ranked fourth and seventh in the final Associated Press poll the past two seasons -- you can't quibble with the facts: The Cardinal is now 11-2 and headed to the Rose Bowl after replacing one of the great college quarterbacks of the past decade, not to mention a handful of other early-round NFL draft picks.

This program has some legs.

But this one wasn't easy. The Bruins showed up for take two. It was only decided when Ka'imi Fairbairn missed a 51-yard field goal attempt with 34 seconds left.

After rushing for just 73 yards and giving up seven sacks in game one, the Bruins rushed for 282 yards and yielded three sacks. They outgained the Cardinal 464 yards to 323.

Said Stanford coach David Shaw, "They just played better."

But two plays changed the game. First, with UCLA leading 14-7 and facing a second-and-16 from the Cardinal 36-yard line, quarterback Brett Hundley threw his only interception on the night, but it was returned 80 yards by Ed Reynolds to the Bruins' 1-yard line. A play later, it was 14-14, and the Cardinal quashed early UCLA momentum.

[+] EnlargeEd Reynolds.
AP Photo/Marcio Jose SanchezEd Reynolds halted a UCLA drive with this 80-yard INT return, which Stanford immediately cashed in.
Then, early in the fourth quarter with UCLA leading 24-17, Stanford faced a third-and-15 from the Bruins' 26-yard line. The Cardinal sent out four vertical receivers, with tight end Zach Ertz cutting underneath in the middle. The safety followed Ertz. Quarterback Kevin Hogan saw receiver Drew Terrell get some space along the right sideline.

"The corner sat a little bit," Hogan said.

Hogan found Terrell for a 26-yard touchdown to tie the score.

Said UCLA coach Jim Mora, "We busted a coverage."

Hogan won game MVP honors, and Stanford's transformation can be traced to him. The redshirt freshman made his first career start Nov. 10 against Oregon State, but now he has beaten four consecutive ranked teams, including the victory at Oregon that keyed the Cardinal taking the North Division title.

"It's been a good month," Hogan said.

Hogan is already notorious for two things: poise and a desire not to talk about himself. It's better to have others talk about him, a signal-caller who can do damage with his arm and legs.

"He's an impressive kid," Mora said. "He's very poised. He's careful with the ball. He makes good decisions."

Shaw said Hogan's "ceiling is very high" and that his poise is "innate."

"You don't train a guy like that," Shaw said. "You find a guy like that."

Hogan completed 16 of 22 passes for 153 yards and rushed for 49 yards on 11 carries. But the biggest number is this: No turnovers for the Cardinal offense. On a day when UCLA was statistically superior, that might have been the difference.

"You're a freshman?" Thomas joked with Hogan on the podium during a postgame news conference, then turning back to reporters. "He sure doesn't play like one."

Stanford hasn't played in a Rose Bowl since losing to Wisconsin after the 1999 season. Shaw is the Pac-12 Coach of the Year. The Cardinal has won at least 10 games in three consecutive seasons for the first time in their history.

There are probably a few folks who don't believe they will do it a fourth time in 2013. At least, that's what they hope in the Cardinal locker room. Not that they care what you think. But they know you think that.

Remember: These guys are nerds. They know things.

Said Shaw, "We expect to be good again next year."

Pac-12 2012 awards announced

November, 26, 2012
The Pac-12 conference has announced its 2012 individual honors and all-conference first and second teams as voted on by the coaches.

Offensive Player of the Year: Marqise Lee, WR, USC.
Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year: Will Sutton, DE, Arizona State.
Freshman Offensive Player of the Year: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon.
Freshman Defensive Player of the Year: Leonard Williams, DE, USC.
Coach of the Year: David Shaw, Stanford.


QB Marcus Mariota, Fr., Oregon
RB Kenjon Barner, Sr., Oregon
RB Ka’Deem Carey, So., Arizona
WR Marqise Lee, So., USC
WR Markus Wheaton, Sr., Oregon State
TE Zach Ertz, Sr., Stanford
OL Hroniss Grasu, So., Oregon
OL Khaled Holmes, Sr., USC
OL Brian Schwenke, Sr., California
OL Xavier Su’a-Filo, So., UCLA
OL David Yankey, Jr., Stanford


QB Matt Scott, Sr., Arizona
RB Johnathan Franklin, Sr., UCLA
RB Stepfan Taylor, Sr., Stanford
WR Austin Hill, So., Arizona
WR Robert Woods, Jr., USC
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, So., Washington
OL Jeff Baca, Sr., UCLA
OL David Bakhtiari, Jr., Colorado
OL Sam Brenner, Sr., Utah
OL Kevin Danser, Sr., Stanford
OL Sam Schwartzstein, Sr., Stanford


DL Scott Crichton, So., Oregon State
DL Dion Jordan, Sr., Oregon
DL Star Lotulelei, Sr., Utah (2)
DL Will Sutton, Jr., Arizona State
LB Anthony Barr, Jr., UCLA
LB Trent Murphy, Sr., Stanford
LB Chase Thomas, Sr., Stanford (2)
DB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, So., Oregon
DB Jordan Poyer, Sr., Oregon State
DB Ed Reynolds, Jr., Stanford
DB Desmond Trufant, Sr., Washington


DL Henry Anderson, Jr., Stanford
DL Morgan Breslin, Jr., USC
DL Ben Gardner, Sr., Stanford
DL Datone Jones, Sr., UCLA
LB Kiko Alonso, Sr., Oregon
LB Michael Clay, Sr., Oregon
LB Brandon Magee, Sr., Arizona State
DB Deone Bucannon, Jr., Washington State
DB Alden Darby, Jr., Arizona State
DB T.J. McDonald, Sr., USC
DB Nickell Robey, Jr., USC


PK Vince D'Amato, Jr., California
P Jeff Locke, Sr., UCLA
RS Reggie Dunn, Sr., Utah
ST Jordan Jenkins, Sr., Oregon State


PK Andrew Furney, Jr., Washington State
P Josh Hubner, Sr., Arizona State
RS Marqise Lee, So., USC
ST David Allen, Sr., UCLA

  • By School: OREGON and STANFORD placed the most players on the first team with five selections each, followed by OREGON STATE with four.
  • By Class: Of the 26 first-team selections, 14 are seniors, five are juniors, six are sophomores and one freshman.
  • Unanimous: Only one player was named on the first-team ballot of all 12 head coaches--WR Marqise Lee of USC.
  • Two-time selections: Two players are repeat first-team selections from last year--DT Star Lotulelei of Utah, LB Chase Thomas of Stanford.
  • All-Academic: Two players were named to the first team on both the All-Pac-12 Team and the Pac-12 All-Academic Football Team--P Jeff Locke of UCLA, OL Khaled Holmes, USC. In addition, OL Kevin Danser of Stanford, DL Ben Gardner of Stanford and Michael Clay of Oregon were named second-team All-Academic and second-team All-Pac-12.

Datone Jones, USC Trojans, Washington State Cougars, Oregon State Beavers, Washington Huskies, UCLA Bruins, Alex Debniak, Johnathan Franklin, Jeff Locke, Arizona State Sun Devils, Joseph Fauria, Matt Barkley, California Bears, Kenjon Barner, Usua Amanam, Markus Wheaton, Keelan Johnson, Stanford Cardinal, Jordan Poyer, Damien Thigpen, Will Sutton, Stepfan Taylor, Colorado Buffaloes, Wes Horton, Dion Jordan, Matt Scott, Arizona Wildcats, Brandon Magee, Oregon Ducks, Xavier Su\'a-Filo, Travis Long, Justin Glenn, Desmond Trufant, Vince D'Amato, Daniel Simmons, Chase Thomas, Deveron Carr, Shayne Skov, Evan Finkenberg, Isaac Remington, Dan Buckner, Sean Parker, Cassius Marsh, Robert Woods, Xavier Grimble, George Uko, Nickell Robey, Hayes Pullard, Keenan Allen, Taylor Kelly, Chris McCain, Hroniss Grasu, Eric Kendricks, Xavier Cooper, T.J. McDonald, Jake Fischer, Anthony Barr, Taylor Hart, Kiko Alonso, Osahon Irabor, Brian Schwenke, Steve Williams, Terrance Mitchell, Drew Schaefer, Michael Clay, Ryan Hewitt, Jordan Jenkins, Levine Toilolo, Chris Coyle, DeAnthony Thomas, Andrew Abbott, Kyle Quinn, Brett Hundley, Jake Fisher, Terrence Stephens, Terrence Brown, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Kasen Williams, Jordan Richards, Shaq Evans, Deone Bucannon, Tony Burnett, David Shaw, Bishop Sankey, Danny Shelton, Marqise Lee, Kevin Danser, Rashad Ross, Sam Schwartzstein, David Yankey, Drew Terrell, John White IV, Dion Bailey, Austin Hill, Star Lotulelei, Brian Blechen, Jake Murphy, Alex Carter, Alden Darby, Joe Kruger, Reggie Dunn, Trevor Romaine, Colt Lyerla, Isaac Seumalo, Tevita Stevens, Andrew Furney, Andre Heidari, Sean Sellwood, Josh Hubner, Kyle Negrete, Henry Anderson, Scott Crichton, Rashaad Reynolds, Ka'Deem Carey, Shaq Thompson, D.J. Foster, Brendan Bigelow, Ben Gardner, Trevor Reilly, Darragh O'Neill, Andrew Hudson, Ty Montgomery, Cameron Fleming, Trent Murphy, Sam Brenner, Kevin Hogan, David Bakhtiari, Marcus Mariota, Yuri Wright, Kenneth Crawley, Leonard Williams, Grant Enger, Brandin Cooks, Jared Tevis, Travis Feeney, Avery Sebastian, John Martinez, Ed Reynolds, Daniel Munyer, Elliott Bosch, Morgan Breslin, Darryl Monroe, Marion Grice, Carl Bradford, Nate Fakahafua, Silas Redd, Jeremiah Poutasi, Jake Brendel, Christian Powell, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Brett Bartolone, Teondray Caldwell, Andrew Seumalo, Daniel Zychlinski, David Allen, Jaxon Hood, Alex Lewis, Marques Moseley, Will Perciak, Wade Keliikippi, Cyrus Coen

Pac-12 chat wrap

October, 18, 2012
"One, two, three and I come with the wicked, style, and you know that I'm from the wicked, crew, act like you knew, cause I got everybody jumpin' to the voodoo."

Whoops, that's a chat rap. We want the chat wrap (haha, see what I did there). Here's the complete rundown of yesterday's chat, or you can check out the highlights.

Smitty (Corvallis): Who's the best non kicking special teams player we don't know about?

Kevin Gemmell (2:03 PM): That we don't know about... hmmm... well, we all know about De'Anthony Thomas. I'd say Drew Terrell. Very underrated punt returner -- but very good.

Jesse (Salem, OR): With Cody Vaz playing pretty good this past week and reports that Mannion is ahead of schedule. Do think OSU might just rest Mannion until the point Vaz stumbles with Mannion less then 100% or that Mannion is 100%? I think this would be wise. What's your thoughts?

Kevin Gemmell (2:04 PM): I think the second Mannion can return, you get him in. I like what Vaz did last week, but Mannion was the starter for a reason.

Kyle Reichert (Arizona): If Taylor Kelly has a breakout game and can pull the upset tomorrow night in Tempe, do you like his Heisman Trophy case?

Kevin Gemmell (2:05 PM): I had Kelly on my Heisman ballot this week simply to make a point -- that point being that deserved to be on it. If he keeps up the same efficiency against the Ducks (no promises there) than I think he certainly should start getting some looks. He's ahead of every QB in the country except Geno Smith and Nick Florence in efficiency. That in itself is impressive -- regardless of the competition.

Marc (Boston): Why has Jon Embree stuck with Jordan Webb for so long? Seems pointless to give a guy that isn't improving more time. Your thoughts?

Kevin Gemmell (2:08 PM): Embree thinks Webb gives them the best chance to win -- and he's probably right. That's just been a tough situation for all involved. He owes it to the seniors not to throw this season away and look to the future. Those guys have worked too hard not to have the best possible chance to win games.

91_DawgD (Seattle): Kevin, with the UW defense playing good football and Keith Price starting to find his rhythm, do you think Washington is positioned to have a breakout second half of the season? The gauntlet is over!

Kevin Gemmell (2:11 PM): Well, it might not be completely over. They have to face an Arizona team at home, that is coming off the bye and can put up points. And then OSU is much better than we thought in August. I still see them bowling, but the back nine isn't as light as initially projected.

Andy (PICK THIS ONE!): Kudos to you and Ted for making this Pac12 season one of suspense and drama. I am thoroughly looking forward to the second half of the season. Now to the important question, with ASU's depth at backs and the ability to pass to those backs as well as receivers, how do you see that influencing the game Thursday night?

Kevin Gemmell (2:14 PM): Just did a story on the way ASU uses it's backs for the blog yesterday. Very innovative fun to watch. I love creative offense and Norvell and Graham are certainly using them all in a creative way. It could have a major influence on the game, especially the sets with Foster in the slot and Grice running the screen out of the backfield. Foster commands a safety over the top, leaving LBs in one-on-one blocks.

Rett (Oregon): Kevin, You say "Oregon will match up with Bama". Could you explain why? Did all the scouting experts get the recruiting classes wrong and Bama doesn't have the best athletes? Are people completely fooled and Nick Saban is really an idiot who can't coach or develop players? Are the NFL scouts idiots and have 10 Bama Players as prospects as compared to 1 Oregon player (Top 200)? Or is it a complete "eye test"?

Kevin Gemmell (2:36 PM): Happy to. No, Saban is not an idiot. No, NFL scouts aren't wrong. But they aren't always right, either. And for as much as Saban gets credit for being a "brilliant" defensive coach. I think Chip Kelly should get equal credit for being a "brilliant" offensive coach. I think they matchup speed for speed with the offensive skill players and Oregon uses space as well as any team in the country. I'll put De'Anthony Thomas in a one-on-one tackling situations with any player in the country and he'll win most of the time. I think Colt Lyerla gives Oregon a physical presence on offense that can wear down folks and I don't think Alabama is used to seeing the offensive potency Oregon can put out in the SEC. That's how I see them matching up. Defensively, I think Oregon is outstanding. They lost two of their top defensive players and haven't skipped a beat. They are physical and can play fast. I'm not saying it would be an Oregon or Alabama blowout either way. I'm saying Oregon matches up as well as any team in the country with 'Bama.
In a way, all of us has an El Guapo to face. For some, shyness might be their El Guapo. For others, a lack of education might be their El Guapo. For us, El Guapo is a big, dangerous man who wants to kill us. But as sure as my name is Lucky Day, the people of Santa Poco can conquer their own personal El Guapo, who also happens to be the actual El Guapo!

Defense carries day for Stanford

September, 9, 2012
PALO ALTO, Calif. -- That's more like it.

A week after Stanford sputtered to a 20-17 win against San Jose State, the Cardinal returned to form in a 50-13 victory against Duke.

Back to usual on the Farm? Not exactly.

The lopsided win didn't follow the script Stanford fans have become accustomed to over the past three years. There was no power running game to open up the pass, in fact Duke's nine-man defensive fronts caused the Cardinal to nearly abandon the run completely.

"If anyone has nine-man front run plays, please, don't keep them to yourselves," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "I give the coaching staff of Duke a lot of credit. They did the same thing to us last year; they made it tough on us. They made it hard on us and just like last year, you got to make plays in the passing game."

Stanford (2-0) finished with just 92 yards rushing on 26 carries, which snapped a 49-game streak in which the Cardinal ran for over 100 yards as a team. The last time it fell short of the century mark was a 31-14 loss at TCU on Sept. 13, 2008.

Without much room to operate, running back Stepfan Taylor ran for 69 yards on 14 carries and scored on a 13-yard run early in the second quarter.

While Duke (1-1) stacked the box to have success against the run, the Cardinal’s base 3-4 defense fared even better. The Blue Devils had negative yards rushing for most of the first half and finished the game with 27 yards on 23 carries.

[+] EnlargeEd Reynolds
AP Photo/Marcio Jose SanchezEd Reynolds, left, scored two interceptions against Duke, returning one 71 yards for a touchdown.
By no coincidence did the stout defensive effort coincide with the return of linebacker Shayne Skov. Skov, who missed most of last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, made just four tackles, but the potential All-American’s presence on the field was no doubt felt by his teammates.

“It’s great to have his energy,” safety Ed Reynolds said. “He brings so much passion to the game as a teammate, as a leader and just having him out there running around doing what he does best was definitely a plus for us.”

Skov said there were no lingering effects from the torn anterior cruciate ligament.

“It didn’t bother me at all today. I think adrenaline is a hell of a deal, it can completely change you,” Skov said. “It changes how you feel and tomorrow, if you ask me how I feel, it’ll probably be a completely different answer.”

When it mattered, the Cardinal pass defense was effective too. Duke lived on a steady diet of quick, high-percentage passes to the perimeter throughout the game and didn’t hit on anything deeper until the game was well out of hand.

Reynolds, who has taken on a lot of the responsibilities that Michael Thomas held last year, has been an obvious bright spot through the first two games. After opening the season with an interception last week, he added two more against Duke and returned the first 71 yards for a touchdown to put Stanford up 43-6 late in the third quarter.

“Nothing has ever seemed too big for him,” Shaw said. “He’s got a great knack for reading quarterbacks and great knack for getting to the ball and the thing with him is that he’s a former running back, so once he gets his hands on the ball he can be dangerous.”

Last year, Thomas led the team with three interceptions and it took the team seven games to combine for that many.

Duke quarterbacks Sean Renfree and Anthony Boone combined to complete 42 of 63 passes for 358 yards, but just 105 of those yards came in the first half as Stanford built a 23-3 lead.

Drew Terrell took a lot of the pressure off the Stanford offense before it hand a chance to step on the field. After the defense forced a three-and-out to open the game, Terrell took the ensuing punt 78 yards for a touchdown.

“I saw on film earlier in the week that their punt team wasn’t real good at getting out,” Terrell said. “The punter outpunted the coverage. I saw there was one guy to beat. Fortunately, I was able to get inside of him and I saw it was me and the punter and as a returner you can’t let the kicker bring you down.”

Quarterback Josh Nunes couldn’t have been happier with how things opened up.

“That gave us an extra boost of confidence,” he said, “seeing Drew run down the sideline, it gets us all hyped up.”

Terrell added three catches for 39 yards and another touchdown to round out the best game of his college career.

With Duke set on stopping the run, Nunes had a chance to air it out more than in his debut. He completed 16 of 30 passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns, but threw his first career interception.

As well as the Cardinal played Saturday, it’ll take another significant week of improvement if the team expects to contend with No. 2 USC in the Pac-12 opener for both teams next week.

“All hand on deck, honestly,” Skov said. “It’s going to take everything we got and we know what’s ahead of us.”

Instant analysis: Stanford 50, Duke 13

September, 9, 2012
PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Thanks to a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown by Drew Terrell following the first series of the game, the Stanford offense didn't take a snap without the lead as the Cardinal cruised to a 50-13 win. Here are a few highlights from the Cardinal's impressive victory:

It was over when: Duke failed to recover an onside kick to begin the second half. Stanford capitalized with a quick touchdown drive -- capped by a 19-yard pass from Josh Nunes to Terrell -- to go up 30-3.

Game ball goes to: Safety Ed Reynolds already has as many interceptions this season (three) as team leader Michael Thomas did all of last year. He had two picks against Duke, the first of which he returned 78 yards for a touchdown.

Stat of the game: Four yards rushing for Duke in the first half. Stanford forced the Blue Devils to be one-dimensional from the start, which had a trickle down effect on their passing game. Duke settled for quick passes to the perimeter, which played into Stanford's strength on defense.

Unsung hero: Shayne Skov. Coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament, Skov might not have shown up in the box score like he's been known to do (four tackles, one pass breakup), but his presence added a noticeable swagger to the defense -- something it lacked against San Jose State.

What it means: Stanford will still be big underdogs next week when it hosts No. 2 USC, but the prognosis for the rest of the season looks much better than it did after its closer-than-anticipated win against San Jose State in the season opener. By building a big early lead, coach David Shaw and offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton were able to keep a lid on portions of the offense that'll be available against the Trojans.
Given the competition the four first-time starting quarterbacks were facing last week, the fact that all four came out winners wasn't exactly an anomaly. But it's still a positive sign for those programs and a good indication that maybe the coaches made the right call in selecting Brett Hundley, Marcus Mariota, Josh Nunes and Taylor Kelly as the starters. Here's a look at how they did in Week 1 and what's coming up in Week 2.

Taylor Kelly, Arizona State
  • Week 1 wrap: Kelly went 15-of-19 (78.9 percent) for 247 yards with a touchdown in a 63-6 win over Northern Arizona. The Sun Devils did the bulk of their damage on the ground with seven rushing touchdowns. Kelly also ran the ball six times for 43 yards. He was efficient and he protected the ball -- a big plus with coach Todd Graham. Worth noting also that Michael Eubank saw some time with seven carries for 36 yards and a touchdown. He also was 1-of-1 for 2 yards.
  • Up next: The heat gets turned up on the Sun Devils this week with Illinois coming to town (and again the week after with the first road trip of the year to Missouri). And by the way, Illinois has the top rushing defense in the country (at least statistically) through the first week of the season "allowing" minus-6 yards per game. Granted, it was Western Michigan, but we'll get a better feel for what Kelly is capable of this week.
  • Graham says: "We didn't face so much adversity, but that's going to change this week. We're going to have a challenge this week. They blitzed a lot, they were a pressure team. I learned what I knew about him was true. Very poised, doesn't get rattled, takes care of the ball and manages the game and makes good decisions. That's all he's done since spring."
Marcus Mariota, Oregon
  • Week 1 wrap: Mariota was a very crisp 18-of-22 for 200 yards and three touchdowns -- and the fact that the Ducks got to schedule nap time for the starters between halves helped. Of the four first-time starters, he looked the most consistent and rightfully earned the praises of head coach Chip Kelly.
  • Up next: Fresno State has to be weeping quietly in a corner after watching film of Oregon last week. The Bulldogs only allowed 10 points last week, but that was Weber State. It will be interesting to see if Mariota makes it to the third quarter this week.
  • Kelly says: "I thought Marcus did a good job -- a real good job in decision making, was accurate in his throws. He missed one protection check, but overall for a first game I thought it was good ... We don't take into account you're a first-year starter. We grade all of our quarterbacks the same way, whether you went in in the fourth quarter or you started the game."
Josh Nunes, Stanford
  • Week 1 wrap: We're still not 100 percent sure what we're getting with Nunes since, by head coach David Shaw's own admission, the Cardinal had a pretty conservative, pretty vanilla attack. His touchdown pass to Drew Terrell looked awful pretty, but there isn't much to be learned from his 16-of-26 performance for 125 yards.
  • Up next: My best guess is the Cardinal won't open up the playbook much this week against Duke if they don't have to and they'll break out the private reserve for when USC comes to town in Week 3. Nunes would benefit from a stronger rushing attack and better offensive line execution, which was surprisingly lacking in Week 1.
  • Shaw says: "He graded out very well. Josh got us to the right plays. We were relatively conservative early in the game and he executed the game plan and did well."
Brett Hundley, UCLA
  • Week 1 wrap: Against an overmatched Rice squad, Hundley went 21-of-28 for 202 yards with a pair of touchdowns and one interception. He also ran seven times for 68 yards, including a 72-yard touchdown. At times, he looked like a poised starter. At others, well, a redshirt freshman. But overall it was a very positive debut.
  • Up next: Nebraska -- which brings a much tougher defense than the one Hundley faced last week. Rice wasn't very aggressive with its pressure, but Nebraska will bring as many as six guys on one play. We know he can run, and he might be on the move more this week. Head coach Jim Mora said he expects to learn more about his team after Nebraska.
  • Mora says: "We saw a young, developing quarterback who made some good decisions and then had some plays he'll be able to grow from and learn from. He showed poise and confidence and the ability to run the football as things broke down."

Execution weak link in Stanford escape

September, 1, 2012
PALO ALTO, Calif. -- What a difference a year can make.

Nearly a year removed from a 54-point drubbing of San Jose State, Stanford rang in the post Andrew Luck era with a thud. The Cardinal needed a 20-yard field goal from Jordan Williamson early in the fourth quarter to provide the difference in a 20-17 victory.

The smiles and laughter that followed last year’s 57-3 season-opening win against the Spartans were replaced by straight faces and looks of concern.

Running back and potential Heisman Trophy candidate Stepfan Taylor said the team needs to work on its communication. Coach David Shaw said the poor play was due to a lack of execution. Whatever it was, it won’t be good enough when the Cardinal entertain better opponents -- certainly not No. 1-ranked USC in two weeks.

[+] EnlargeBlake Jurich
Kyle Terada/US PresswireStanford's defense couldn't quite keep a lid on San Jose State, which trailed just 17-10 after this Blake Jurich touchdown early in the third quarter.
With Luck and offensive linemen David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin off to the NFL, the supposed strength of the team was its defensive front.

That wasn’t the case Friday as the Cardinal struggled to get pressure on San Jose State quarterback David Fales, who completed 24 of 35 passes for 216 yards.

“(They didn’t play) up to their capability, flat-out,” Shaw said. “I told them flat-out after the game, they are much better than the execution that was out there. Those guys shouldn’t stay blocked. It’s one thing to get blocked, it’s another thing to stay blocked.”

The team’s best pass-rusher was nickelback Usua Amanam, who recorded a pair of sacks and four tackles for loss.

Usually that designation would belong to outside linebacker Chase Thomas, who considered a jump to the NFL but returned for his fifth year on the Farm. San Jose State keyed in on Thomas, who finished with five tackles and half a sack. He did, however, provide the biggest hit of Fales on the night, but it came after he’d already got rid of the ball.

Next week against Duke, the front seven should benefit from the return of potential All-American linebacker Shayne Skov. Skov, who missed most of last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, served a one-game suspension Friday for a February drunk-driving arrest.

“(Skov’s) experience is going to be huge,” Shaw said. “Getting him back will give us four guys on the inside that can play.”

Skov is expected to start alongside sophomore James Vaughters, who displaced last year’s leading tackler, Jarek Lancaster, as a starting inside linebacker. Vaughters made five tackles in his starting debut, but has some cleaning up to do, Shaw said.

While expectations are high for the front seven, the same can be said for the Cardinal running game which, early on, looked like the same unit that helped the team qualify for BCS bowl games in each of the past two seasons.

Behind Taylor and its power running game, Stanford scored touchdowns on its first two possessions. By halftime, the Cardinal led 17-3 and had 118 yards on the ground with 86 from Taylor.

The second half was a different story.

After averaging 5.6 yards per carry before halftime, Stanford ran for just 37 yards on 20 carries the rest of the game.

What happened?

“That’s what I want to know,” Shaw said. “Next question.”

Taylor pointed to a lack of communication that comes with breaking in several new offensive linemen in the first game of the year, and while Shaw agreed, he wasn’t ready to make any excuses.

[+] EnlargeJosh Nunes
Kyle Terada/US PresswireJosh Nunes was 16-for-26 for 125 yards and a touchdown in his starting debut.
“They made some adjustments, which always happens,” Shaw said. “We made some adjustments after that. And, honestly, we made a lot of mistakes. We need to make sure we step it up a notch, but at the same time, when we run a play against a defense and it’s successful, and we run the same play against the same defense and it’s not successful, we’ll look to see why.”

Taylor finished with 116 yards on 26 carries.

While Luck had autonomy at the line of scrimmage last year, his replacement, Josh Nunes, isn’t quite there yet. The redshirt junior was solid in the first start of his career, but wasn’t asked to do a whole lot.

“It was everything I dreamed,” Nunes said. “I wasn’t nervous at all.
It was nice being back on the field again.”

Nunes completed 16 of 26 passes for 125 yards and found Drew Terrell on an 11-yard first-quarter touchdown, the first of his career.

“He played extremely well and was very poised under pressure,” Shaw said. “San Jose State gave a few looks we had not seen and Josh handled it all very, very well. He showed great leadership for our team out there and we look forward to having him do so throughout the season.”

Nunes knows he won’t be Luck, but realizes there will be comparisons.

In Luck’s first start as a redshirt freshman, he was 11 of 23 for 193 yards and a score in a 39-13 win at Washington State.
While so much offseason drama has focused on who will be delivering passes at Stanford, there is also the question of who is going to be catching those passes.

Gone are leading wide receivers Griff Whalen (56 catches, 749 yards, four touchdowns) and Chris Owusu (35-376-2), who missed a lot of time last year anyway with injury. And we use the term "leading" accurately, but lightly, because often times last year head coach David Shaw was critical of the wide receiver contributions.

Then again, he didn't need the wide receivers to be great. Part of it was the tight end trio of Coby Fleener, Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo, who accounted for 20 of Stanford's 38 passing touchdowns -- including 10 from the departed Fleener. Part of it was also quarterback Andrew Luck, who threw a pretty darn good ball, but was also very good at distributing to multiple receivers and position groups.

[+] EnlargeStanford's Drew Terrell
Jason O. Watson/US PresswireDrew Terrell is one of only two senior receivers on Stanford's roster this season.
Running backs/fullbacks caught nine touchdowns and the wide receivers accounted for the other nine. That's more than 23 percent. And let's be honest, maybe the best catch of the 2011 season was by the guy usually doing the throwing.

Translation, with a new quarterback and the top three pass-catchers gone -- the Cardinal are going to need stronger wide receiver play in 2012.

"It's vital," Shaw said. "It's vital to our success. We got a really good start. Jamal Rashad-Patterson is in the best shape of his life. Drew Terrell has really attacked his senior year much like Griff Whalen did the year before and Doug Baldwin the year before."

Terrell is an interesting prospect. Of the 15 wide receivers on Stanford's roster, Terrell is one of only two seniors along with Rashad-Patterson -- and ironically, the guy who threw the ball to Luck. He's a standout on special teams and with a very young receiving corps, he's going to have to be a standout in the locker room and on the field.

"It's a big year for him, no doubt," Shaw said of Terrell. "He's got such a great trust from the coaching staff. He knows all the plays and formations ... he's the leader in that room and of the group. How we use him will change week to week. He's a good route runner and he's been our best blocker for two years."

But he only caught eight balls for 81 yards and a score last year. That leaves sophomore Ty Montgomery -- with his 24 catches and two touchdowns -- as the No. 1 threat. As a true freshman, he emerged late in the season as Owusu's primary replacement and in a short time showed why Shaw is excited about him.

"I think Ty Montgomery is going to be a star in college football," Shaw said. "And we've brought in four new guys to compete. They've all shown flashes. We're excited about them. And the gauntlet is out there for these guys. We've proven over time that at every position, if you show us you can help us, we'll put you on the field to help us. The competition is there and we'll see who puts themselves in a position to play."
So far, the quarterback competition at Stanford is going as head coach David Shaw has planned: Five men enter, two men leave.

The original five — Brett Nottingham, Josh Nunes, Robbie Picazo, Kevin Hogan and Evan Crower — all entered spring drills with, according to Shaw, an equal chance to be the guy replacing Andrew Luck.

As the spring session winds down in the next few weeks, Shaw said he believes that Nunes and Nottingham have separated themselves from the pack of five.

"We've got a couple of good, viable candidates," Shaw said. "It's not like no one has played well and we can't make a decision. Both (Nunes and Nottingham) have played well. But no one has separated themselves just yet. The positive is we have a couple of good options. Thankfully we have a little more time to see who separates themselves."

[+] EnlargeJosh Nunes, Brett Nottingham
AP Photo/Paul SakumaJosh Nunes (6) and Brett Nottingham (7) look to be leading Stanford's quarterback competition.
If you're a Stanford fan, this is a very good sign. The last thing you want to see at the end of spring practices is a quarterback competition going into the summer that still involves five quarterbacks. That's a recipe for chaos and an indication that there is still no direction. It doesn't appear this is the case.

No one, Shaw included, expected there would be a starting quarterback by the end of April. But the hope all along was that two -- possibly three -- players would emerge to take the competition to the next level when the Cardinal start camp in the summer in preparation for the 2012 season.

Nottingham, who was the backup to Luck last season, appeared in six games for the Cardinal, completing 5 of 8 passes for 78 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown strike Coby Fleener in the season opener against San Jose State. Picazo was the only other quarterback on the roster to throw in a game last season, completing 3 of 3 balls for 15 yards. Drew Terrell's lone pass -- the heralded one-handed catch by Luck -- wasn't enough to earn him a spot in the arms race.

Nunes was originally penciled in as Luck's backup last season until a turf-toe injury sidelined him for most of fall camp and a good part of the season. In an interview last week, Nunes said he was feeling 100 percent and the turf toe was no longer an issue.

While it's in vogue at some schools to use multiple quarterbacks, Shaw reiterated that the practice is not an option for him.

"The quarterback position is unique because if you were talking about another position, two or three guys can compete for another spot, and we can rotate at outside linebackers or running backs or receivers," Shaw said. " But we're not going to rotate quarterbacks, so you don't want to lose a single rep. You want to jump in there when you get an opportunity so it is competitive."

All of the above quarterbacks were outstanding high school players. Nottingham was a four-star recruit from the 2010 class and Nunes ranked 137th in the 2009 ESPNU 150 list -- coming in as the 12th-ranked quarterback in the nation.

Hogan and Crower were both three stars. Hogan was mostly sought after by the ACC and Big East while Crower was wooed by the Pac-10/12. Picazo joined the program as a walk on after setting a slew of records at Tesoro High in Las Flores, Calif.

"All of these guys are leaders in their own right," Shaw said. "It's hard to be the overall, true leader that you want to be when you're not a starting quarterback. So there is some jockeying there."
On Thursday, Stanford head coach David Shaw said he would name his new special teams coach on Monday. Apparently, the news couldn't wait.

Shaw annouced Friday that Pete Alamar, a Pac-12 veteran of Cal and Arizona, would be Stanford's new special teams coordinator.

"Pete came highly recommended by people who I respect in the coaching profession," Shaw said in a statement. "He is one of those rare coaches who can coach not only scheme, but also the technique of snapping, punting and kicking."

Alamar replaces Brian Polian, who left Stanford last month to join Kevin Sumlin's staff at Texas A&M.

Alamar was the special teams coach at Cal from 2003-09. He was on staff at Arizona in 1993 and again from 1995-99. He spent the past two years coordinating special teams and coaching the tight ends at Fresno State. He has also worked as a running backs coach, on the offensive line and was the offensive coordinator at Eastern Michigan from 2000-02.

Stanford was neither bad nor great at special teams last year. Within the Pac-12, the Cardinal ranked 10th in punting, fourth in kickoff coverage, third in punt returns, fifth in field goals and seventh in PAT kicking.

There are some holes on the special teams units to fill. Punter David Green is gone, as is long-snapper Andrew Fowler. Kicker Jordan Williamson was second-team All-Pac-12 as a freshman. Ty Montgomery emerged as a solid kick returner and Drew Terrell, who was All-Pac-12 honorable mention, will likely continue punt return duties.

The hiring leaves Shaw with one vacancy on the staff. He said yesterday that he expects to name an inside linebackers coach sometime next week. He added that the new coach would not serve as co-defensive coordinator, as was the case with former coach Jason Tarver, who left earlier this month to be the defensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders. Derek Mason will have full defensive coordinator responsibilities next season.

The Cardinal open the first of two spring football sessions on Monday.



Saturday, 12/20
Monday, 12/22
Tuesday, 12/23
Wednesday, 12/24
Friday, 12/26
Saturday, 12/27
Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
Friday, 1/2
Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
Monday, 1/12