Stanford Football: Joseph Fauria

Pac-12 2012 awards announced

November, 26, 2012
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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.

FIRST-TEAM OFFENSE

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

SECOND-TEAM OFFENSE

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

FIRST-TEAM DEFENSE

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

SECOND-TEAM DEFENSE

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

FIRST-TEAM SPECIALISTS

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

SECOND-TEAM SPECIALISTS

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

ALL-PAC-12 HONORABLE MENTION
NOTES
  • 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.
Tags:

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More firsts for UCLA's maturing QB

November, 21, 2012
11/21/12
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Jim Mora and Noel Mazzone like to talk about Brett Hundley and all of his "firsts" as UCLA's starting quarterback; the first time he led his team back from an early deficit; the first time he orchestrated a game-winning drive; the first time he bounced back after throwing a bone-headed interception.

In a season of firsts, Hundley is about to experience a few more.

First in the Pac-12 against the run; first in the Pac-12 in total defense; first in the Pac-12 in scoring defense; first in the nation in tackles for a loss. Those firsts belong to Stanford's defense. The Cardinal are only second nationally in sacks and rushing defense, so I guess Hundley catches a break there.

"And that's after playing Oregon," UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said -- while probably shaking his head and rolling his eyes on the other end of the phone. "That puts a lot of pressure on him because they are great against the run and that's going to put pressure on him to make plays.

"As far as a group -- as seven guys -- it's the toughest we've seen. We've played some good fronts. But when Stanford brings in other guys, you don't notice. It seems like they just keep bringing guys in. As a group, it's his biggest challenge of the year."

[+] EnlargeBrett Hundley
Cal Sport Media via AP ImagesStanford's rugged defense looks likely to test just how comfortable Brett Hundley is in UCLA's offense.
No doubt Hundley and the Bruins' offense will be tested by a Stanford unit that last week did what no other team in the country had been able to do in 2012: stop the Oregon offense. And as a result, the Cardinal find themselves in position to lock up the Pac-12 North Division on Saturday in Pasadena, Calif., and force a rematch with the Bruins six days later in the conference title game.

"Wow," UCLA coach Jim Mora said when asked about Stanford's defense. He followed it with a long, nervous laugh. "They are very physical. They play with tremendous technique. They play with their shoulders square. They are excellent at disengaging. And then I think probably the most impressive thing is the way they pursue the football. They really play hard."

You'd think he was talking about the '85 Chicago Bears. Well, Mazzone actually made that comparison, too. But UCLA isn't exactly a pushover on offense.

The Bruins, winners of five straight for the first time since 2005, are playing some of the best football in the conference. In his past four games, Hundley is completing 76 percent of his throws for 1,057 yards with 11 touchdowns to just two interceptions.

"I think he is getting better at hanging in there, keeping his eyes downfield versus the rush and reading through his progressions," Mora said. "I think he's also, in conjunction with that, he's also more comfortable in knowing when to run and knowing where his escape routes may be. I've always felt like he was poised -- although he's improving in all areas as he gets more experience -- I felt like he improved with timing and accuracy. He's continued to do that. But the thing I see the most is his pocket awareness."

Even though the Bruins have already locked up the South Division, there are still implications to this game. Should UCLA win and Oregon State beats the Ducks in the Civil War, the Bruins would host the conference title game with a shot at the Rose Bowl on the line. A UCLA loss means they are in Palo Alto next week in a rematch. A UCLA win coupled with an Oregon victory means they are in Eugene, Ore., for the conference championship.

And despite his team's potent defense, Stanford head coach David Shaw has his concerns about what Hundley can do.

"You see a guy in high school and you always wonder whether he'll be able to do in college what he does in high school," Shaw said. "He's one of those guys that you see in high school -- you say, 'Yeah,' he's going to be able to do it. He's big, he's strong, he's athletic. He's got a nice release. He throws an accurate ball. He gets out of trouble. He's a very, very good football player."

And for perspective on the maturity of the freshman quarterback, check with his tight end, Joseph Fauria.

"Is he a freshman? I forgot," Fauria said tongue-in-cheek following Saturday's win over USC that locked up the South Division for the Bruins. "He seems like he's 28 years old out there the way he owns the huddle. The way he owns the backfield. The look in his eyes. The drive. The leadership. The qualities that an elite quarterback has, he has. It's awesome to be playing with him and catching the rock from him."

Pac-12's 1,000-yard receivers

June, 8, 2012
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We've looked at the potential 3,000-yard passers and the 1,000-yard rushers in the Pac-12 over the last few days. But this is the conference of wide receivers -- a place for Biletnikoff's boys to run free and unabated up and down the field. So who's going to be in 2012's 1K club?

First, here's last year's 1,000-yard receivers:
With only four returning 1K receivers coming back from last season -- and two of them are on the same team -- how does that bode for the rest of the teams in the conference?

Arizona: The Wildcats lose their top three receivers from last year -- including headliner Juron Criner and his 956 receiving yards. Big boy Dan Buckner (6-foot-4, 214) returns after 42 catches and 606 yards last year, when he averaged 14.4 yards per catch. But the Wildcats will run the ball more this year. Buckner will likely improve on his numbers, but reaching 1K will be tough.

Arizona State: Another team shifting its mentality from pass first to run first, and they lose their top receiver in Robinson. Jamal Miles had 60 catches and six touchdowns last year, but only 361 yards. His yard total should go up as the No. 1 guy, but with more focus on the run game, 1,000 yards might be a stretch.

[+] EnlargeKeenan Allen
Jason O. Watson/US PresswireWith quarterback (and half-brother) Zach Maynard more comfortable, Keenan Allen could put on a show for Cal during his junior season.
Cal: Keenan Allen. Yes. Quarterback Zach Maynard reportedly had a great spring and looks more comfortable in the offense -- and Allen might be the best all-around receiver in the conference (that phrase will be written a couple of times throughout this post). The Bears will lean heavily on Allen and he'll reward them with another 1,000 yard season.

Colorado: Prior to Paul Richardson's injury, it still would have been 50-50 with a new quarterback. But without their top receiving threat it leaves relatively inexperienced players like Tyler McCulloch and Nelson Spruce in the mix. The quarterback position is still in flux and with a pretty good offensive line and a talented running back in Tony Jones, the Buffs' focus will probably be more ground-based.

Oregon: Whether De'Anthony Thomas reaches 1,000-1,000 is a debate for another day. But I like his chances of 1,000 yards receiving. He caught 46 balls for 605 yards and nine touchdowns last season. Coach Chip Kelly finds creative ways to get Thomas the ball in space and then he just takes off. He'll make the new quarterback look good and suck up receiving yards in the process. My crisp $1 bill says yes to 1K.

Oregon State: Markus Wheaton returns after catching 73 balls for 986 yards. He's an extremely gifted wide receiver who is often forgotten among the Pac-12's A-list of pass catchers. But he shouldn't be. Sean Mannion should be more steady in his second year and as Brandin Cooks develops opposite Wheaton, it should open up more opportunities. He'll break 1K this season.

Stanford: Run-first team. The top three receivers (which includes tight end Coby Fleener) are gone and the leading, returning receiver is fullback Ryan Hewitt. Even if Andrew Luck were back it would be tough. The Cardinal spread the ball around so much that it's unlikely one guy would get all the catches. Wide receiver Ty Montgomery, however, is a rising star in the conference and should have a very good season. He's Stanford's best chance at 1K.

UCLA: If the Bruins can get the quarterback spot situated and if they take to the new pass-happy offense relatively quickly, there is a good chance someone could emerge as a 1K receiver. Joseph Fauria is the strongest pass catcher, but Shaq Evans and Ricky Marvray will have plenty of chances to emerge.

USC: Yes and yes. Robert Woods and Marqise Lee are two of the best wide receivers in the country and with the quarterback they have throwing the ball, there is no reason to think both won't return as 1,000-yard receivers. This one is a no-brainer.

Utah: The Utes were dead last in the conference last year in passing offense. That's expected to change with new offensive coordinator Brian Johnson taking a more aggressive approach and quarterback Jordan Wynn staying healthy, they hope. When DeVonte Christopher did catch the ball (42 times) he made the most of it with one of the league's highest averages per catch (15.8). But running the ball is still going to be Utah's bread and butter. The numbers will improve, but a 1K receiver will be tough.

Washington: This is a tough call. Quarterback Keith Price has another year of experience, but there is so much distribution in the Huskies offense -- which includes a tight end who should see the ball at least five to seven times per game -- that there might not be a chance for one guy to separate himself. Kasen Williams and James Johnson both have big-play potential -- which might be part of the problem because they could take yards away from each other. And without Chris Polk running the ball, teams might not be as quick to send safeties down to defend the run.

Washington State: Not if, but when. Marquess Wilson, last year's yardage runner up is in a system that's tailor-made for him. Of the league's top receivers -- Allen, Woods, Lee, Wheaton -- Wilson might be the best of them all (doesn't that make for a fun debate?). There are plenty of other good receivers at Washington State. But Wilson is the guy. He'll clear 1K about the time you're recovering from your Halloween candy hangover.
PALO ALTO, Calif. -- How important was Shayne Skov to the Stanford defense?

Consider: The linebacker didn’t play in the second half against Arizona and missed Saturday’s contest against UCLA while nursing a season-ending knee injury, and he’s still tied for the team lead in tackles. That’s how far ahead of the curve he was as a run-stopper.

But in his stead are Jarek Lancaster and A.J. Tarpley. The day after coach David Shaw announced Skov would miss the year, he proclaimed that Lancaster and Tarpley would rotate in at the starting spot. It was Lancaster who got the call against UCLA and, for the most part, he held his own.

They both took the ah-shucks approach when asked about their performance in Stanford’s 45-19 win over the Bruins. Yet both agreed that there is a lot of work still to be done.

“I thought they played well,” Shaw said. “I’ll watch the film and really evaluate it. Lancaster is slippery. He slides in there and makes some tackles. A.J. did a good job running over the top and making some plays as well.”

Lancaster made a standout play on UCLA’s opening drive. On second down at the Stanford 2-yard line, Lancaster stuffed UCLA running back Derrick Coleman. The Cardinal then made two more stops and held UCLA at their own 1. It was a major confidence boost for a team that said it was ready to move on without Skov, but had yet to prove it on the field.

The offense fed off of that and marched 99 yards for a touchdown.

“I’m proud of those guys,” said safety Michael Thomas. “They went out there on a big stage when the light was on them. They did their job. They played a hell of a game. But I think they have a lot to improve on, like the rest of the team.”

Lancaster finished with seven tackles -- five of them solo -- and a quarterback hit. Tarpley added three, and continued to look impressive on special teams.

From a depth and stability standpoint, the two looked more than ready to step in. UCLA was the best rushing team Stanford had faced this year -- and will likely face again until the big showdown with Oregon on Nov. 12.

Where it’ll need to improve is pass coverage. On UCLA’s 13-yard touchdown to tight end Joseph Fauria, Lancaster had the responsibility of following Fauria when he released off the line. He was about a step behind and couldn’t make the tackle.

That was a very teachable moment for Shaw. Lancaster is plenty quick, but his reaction and recognition will have to get quicker. That will come with more reps and game experience.

Skov will be missed. But if Lancaster and Tarpley continue to improve, his absence will be less visible.

Stanford weekend rewind

October, 3, 2011
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There were a lot of questions being asked going into this game -- and the Stanford Cardinal answered most of them. It was a superb performance by the offense and a good enough effort by the defense that UCLA's pistol offense never really got cranking on the ground. Here's a look back at some of the highs and lows of Stanford's 45-19 win over the Bruins.
  • Highlight reel: Take your pick. Andrew Luck's one-handed catch? Coby Fleener's one-handed catch? Any/all plays from the defensive goal line stand in the first quarter? It was a night for good plays. But yes, it goes to Luck, whose one-handed grab would have been sensational if he were a wide receiver, but is all the more impressive because he's a quarterback.
  • Best play: The highlights weren't just from the guys in red (or in Saturday's case, black). UCLA tight end Joseph Fauria looked awfully athletic when he leaped over Michael Thomas on his 13-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. Give credit where credit is due, that was a pretty sweet play.
  • Who's hot: Fleener turned in another outstanding performance from a tight end. Each game, one of the Big Three could be the star. Saturday, it was Fleener, who caught four balls for 78 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Who's hotter: Running back Stepfan Taylor followed up his career performance against Arizona with 112 rushing yards and two touchdowns against the Bruins. He's as hot as any running back in the conference -- maybe even the country -- in the last couple of games.
  • Who's icy: Stanford coach David Shaw, who no doubt probably shot his players some chilly looks as he saw the penalties pile on. The Cardinal were flagged eight times for 70 yards.
  • The good: The Cardinal looked super-sharp on offense coming out of the bye week and got the fast start they'd been lacking in the previous three games.
  • The bad: No more bye weeks. It's grind time from now until Notre Dame. Pray for us.

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