Sunday, September 4, 2011
Stanford helmet stickers: Week 1
By Kevin Gemmell
PALO ALTO, Calif -- One mantra you're going to hear each day from Stanford coach David Shaw is that it's all about the team. But that's the beauty of helmet stickers. We get to name our own stars of the game:
Andrew Luck: The quarterback's performance was more Heisman-worthy than I think the numbers suggest. He was 17-of-26 for 171 yards with two passing touchdowns and another on the ground. Nothing wrong with a 65 percent completion percentage. But you take away three drops (all extremely catchable) and his percentage jumps up to 73 percent -- exceeding last season's total of 70 percent. He played a smart, turnover-free game. And while he didn't do anything to set himself apart in the Heisman race, he certainly didn't do anything to hurt himself.
Henry Anderson: The 273-pound defensive end gets a sticker for not only recovering a fumble and returning it 37 yards to the San Jose State 1-yard line, but also for his postgame comments, which were hilarious. To sum up, he picked up the ball, started running, and couldn't believe that after two seconds he was still running and hadn't been tackled yet. If not for a great hustle play by SJSU's Chandler Jones, the big man would have been dancing in the end zone.
The run defense: The front seven looked really tough -- and not just because they were playing a lesser opponent. They had good penetration, plugged the gaps and held San Jose State to -2 yards rushing through three quarters. They played fast. Scary to think how fast they'll be four, five, six weeks from now.
Bonus sticker to Shaw: His players saw fit to give him a game ball for his first career victory. Who are we to argue? He did a fantastic job rallying the team when no rally was needed. He made useful halftime adjustments that bore fruit and didn't succumb to a Week 1 collapse. If he didn't have it already -- and nothing leads us to believe he didn't -- he earned the respect of his team. That in itself is worth a sticker.