Pac-12: Tim Drevno

While you were on vacation... Stanford

August, 10, 2011
The seventh of 12 quick updates on offseason Pac-12 goings on.

Stanford in a sentence
  • There's not much a team can do to improve on a 12-1 finish and No. 4 final ranking -- perhaps the best season in program history -- but the return of quarterback Andrew Luck and nice talent throughout the depth chart has folks whispering about possibilities even loftier than the Rose Bowl.
The big issue
  • There are holes to fill on the offensive line, but the chief worries are at receiver and the defensive line.
Quick hit news
  • Luck is back, but coach Jim Harbaugh is gone, and he took key members of his staff with him: defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, associate head coach Greg Roman and offensive line coach Tim Drevno. David Shaw was promoted from offensive coordinator to replace Harbaugh, while Pep Hamilton moved up from receivers coach to offensive coordinator. Derek Mason was promoted from secondary coach to co-defensive coordinator with linebackers coach Jason Tarver (Mason will call plays). Mike Bloomgren is the new run-game coordinator/offensive line coach, while Mike Sanford is the new running backs coach. Ron Crook will coach tight ends and offensive tackles.
  • The Cardinal was ranked sixth in the preseason coaches poll, its highest preseason ranking in program history.
  • Receiver is a key question: The returning wideouts combined for just 49 receptions and four touchdowns. The key player is Chris Owusu, a speedster who missed six game due to injury last season.
  • Stanford is, however, stacked at tight end. It will be interesting to see how the depth sorts itself out. Levine Toilolo won the starting job last preseason but then suffered a season-ending knee injury. Coby Fleener ended up winning second-team All-Pac-10 honors, but some thought that Zach Ertz was the best tight end this spring.
  • The Cardinal's final No. 4 ranking was its highest since 1940, when it finished No. 2 after a 10-0 season.
  • While five starters are gone on defense, the top four tacklers are back: linebacker Shayne Skov, outside linebacker Chase Thomas, free safety Michael Thomas and strong safety Delano Howell.
  • Stanford plays seven home games this season -- including a visit from Oregon on Nov. 12 -- and just four conference games on the road. It does not play Utah or Arizona State. So, yes, this is a favorable schedule.

Staff changes: Stanford

March, 7, 2011
Only Oregon and Washington didn't experience any staff turnover this offseason, so we're running through the staff changes for the other 10 Pac-12 teams.

Next up is Stanford (we're skipping Oregon State for now because its lone vacancy at running backs coach has yet to be filled). The Cardinal saw head coach Jim Harbaugh bolt for the San Francisco 49ers and the promotion of offensive coordinator David Shaw to Harbaugh's former post.

Team in parenthesis is where the departing coach ended up.

Jim Harbaugh, head coach (San Francisco 49ers)

David Shaw, head coach (formerly Cardinal offensive coordinator)

Greg Roman, associate head coach (San Francisco 49ers)
Shaw, offensive coordinator/running backs

Pep Hamilton, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks/receivers
Mike Sanford, running backs

Vic Fangio, defensive coordinator (San Francisco 49ers)

Derek Mason, associate head coach/co-defensive coordinator
Jason Tarver, co-defensive coordinator/inside linebackers

Tim Drevno, offensive line (San Francisco 49ers)

Mike Bloomgren, offensive line/running game coordinator

Reaction: Stanford still has a vacancy at tight ends coach. Defensive line coach Randy Hart, special teams coordinator Brian Polian and OLBs coach/recruiting coordinator Lance Anderson also were retained from Harbaugh's 2010 staff. Hamilton and Mason were promoted from within; Hamilton was receivers coach last season, while Mason coached the secondary. Sanford, Tarver and Bloomgren were outside hires. They came from Western Kentucky, the 49ers and the New York Jets. By promoting from within, Shaw ensured continuity from a highly successful 2010 season. His outside hires have an NFL flavor, which players tend to respect. Sanford, a former Cardinal offensive assistant in 2007 and 2008, was quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator at Western Kentucky last season. The loss of Harbaugh, who rebuilt the program from the ground-up, shook Stanford fans, but the departures of Roman, a creative offensive mind, particularly in the running game, and Fangio, who adopted a highly effective 3-4-hyrbid scheme, are nearly as big. Can the Cardinal maintain and even build on their recent momentum? That's the big question for Shaw and his staff.

Opening the mailbag: How could you forget Ricky!

December, 11, 2009
Happy Friday.

To the notes.

Kenny from Florence, Ariz., writes: You must be as blind as the rest of the Pac-10 media leaving Ricky Elmore (who DID lead the Pac-10 in sacks) off your all conference team, right?

Ted Miller: First, making these teams is never easy. There are always reasonable arguments to support guys who got left off.

I picked California's Tyson Alualu and Washington's Daniel Te'o-Nesheim as my two first-team All-Pac-10 ends over Elmore, who led the conference with 10.5 sacks.

Alualu finished third on the Bears with 60 tackles, which was the most among conference defensive linemen. He also had 7.5 sacks, 10 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles.

Elmore had 43 tackles, which ranked seventh on his team, with11.5 tackles for a loss and one forced fumble.

There seem to be three sets of numbers out there for Te'o-Nesheim. The Huskies official website credits him with 11 sacks and 14 tackles for a loss. The Pac-10 credits him with 9.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for a loss. The NCAA with 10 sacks and 13 tackles for a loss.


In any event, Te'o-Nesheim also had 37 tackles, which ranked seventh on his team. But this put him over the top with me: Five forced fumbles.

All three have good resumes, but based on the overall numbers -- and the scuttlebutt I pick up during the season -- Alualu and Te'o-Nesheim get the nod.

There's also this: Both of them are seniors. Elmore is a junior.

So we'll see him next year.

Jared from Portland writes: It seems to me that having the BCS rankings use the Coaches poll is a bad Idea. For one, the coaches are biased and benefit themselves when they rank their teams high. For example see Brian Kelly as the only coach to cast a No. 1 vote for Cincinnati. Point two is that while head coaches have a great understanding of how good other teams in their conference are, I don't think they know about the rest of the country. How many ACC games do you think Mike Riley watched this season? Why doesn't the BCS use the AP Poll which is written by guys whose job it is to watch and analyze college football 24-7?

Ted Miller: I'm with 'ya completely.

It's absurd that the sport information director, er, coaches vote is included in the BCS standings.

Back in ancient times -- you know, pre-BCS -- there wasn't a whole bunch of money at stake, so the voting wasn't viewed with as much skepticism.

Now, just imagine a coach sitting there knowing if he votes Team X two or three spots higher -- and demotes Team Y a couple of notches -- it might mean an extra $4.5 million for his conference.

That's why the coaches vote needs to remain transparent.

As for the AP poll, it pulled itself out of the BCS formula after the 2004 season.

Polls in themselves are nothing more than beauty contests that are laden with various sorts of regional biases and inconsistent methodology. Most voters spend a lot of time on their ballots and do their best. But some don't.

It's the system we have and I have little hope of it changing dramatically anytime soon.

So learn to love it.

Chris from Eugene, Ore., writes: How about the job Coach Greg Roman did for Stanford. Toby G is good, but they really did one amazing job running the ball. It always seemed Gerhart would have about 10 plays a game in which he was untouched for 5 yards downfield. Oregon, USC, ND and UW DC's had no answers and at times you wondered if it mattered who was running the ball.

Ted Miller: A good point. Stanford's young offensive line -- only one senior -- was dominating at times this year, and Roman and Tim Drevno deserve a lot of credit for that.

A lot of folks -- media and fans -- were wondering if the O-line would fall off when Chris Dalman left unexpected last year. It didn't.

Aaron from Miami writes: Why is it that voters (for all-conference teams, Heisman Trophy, etc...) are allowed to turn in the ballots before all the games have been played? I ask this because the Ducks only have one first team all-Pac 10 member. I would be curious if that would have been the case if the ballots were sent in after the Civil War. Would Masoli be first team ahead of Canfield, would it have been James ahead of Rogers? Maybe not, but it would have been nice to see. I don't want to take anything away from those two players they had amazing years and are very deserving (even after the Civil War was played), but the Ducks won the conference by two games!!! Also I have a feeling that this trend is going to end up giving the Heisman Trophy to an undeserving Colt McCoy (did you see that last game) because voters sent in their ballots early.

Ted Miller: The "why" is convenience and efficiency.

And let's face it. There are some folks who are going to vote for "their" candidate, no matter what the numbers say. Those are the sorts who got their ballots in early.

As for my take: I think all awards and honors should not be voted on before the final game. It's an award for the season, and the season is 12 games long. Waiting an extra day or two for results shouldn't be a big deal.

By the way, I think Gerhart should win the Heisman, but I'd stop well short of saying Colt McCoy is "undeserving."

Tom from Palo Alto writes: Thought you'd enjoy some number-crunching I've done on recruiting across the country -- it really validates the tough job Washington, Wazzou, Oregon, and Oregon State have.

Ted Miller: For the recruiting obsessed, Tom's considerable work will be very interesting.



Thursday, 10/2
Saturday, 10/4