Well, that happened fast. It was just April and the Spring Game was going on and all of a sudden, we are in a game week. Now, maybe you haven’t been paying attention because of all of the solar eclipse hoopla but Stanford is playing this week and it won’t be on this continent or on a Saturday if you’re watching in Australia. The game is against an average opponent in Rice and Stanford isn’t returning any preseason Heisman contenders (Sam Darnold already won it anyways). To be blunt, this has been the lamest offseason in sometime as the what we know are dull and the beat writers haven’t mentioned anything of note so I will be giving my take on what you should expect to see this weekend from our beloved Stanford Cardinal.
·DAVID SHAW IS BACK!!!! So I started with an easy one but yes, one of the best coaches in America is back and I’ll take his track record that he can put a Stanford team on the field that will probably be better than the team that is across the field from him. Shaw needs 8 wins to eclipse (yes, I did that on purpose) Pop Warner as the all-time winningest coach in Stanford football history. Mr. Vanilla himself will not take Rice lightly but don’t expect anything fancy. Expect a game plan that gets the job done.
·So who do we play at quarterback???? Expect Keller Chryst to start and play the majority of the game but I will say that Ryan Burns AND KJ Costello get some playing time down under. Remember, Chryst is 6-0 as a starter.
·Wild CAT…. Wild GAFF…. Wild CAFF… Wild…. The wildcat play that Stanford has begun to use as an offset to their normal game plan has been pretty easy to figure out for the last few years but this year, it could go to many people. Bryce Love is the easy choice but Love is someone who breaks away in space. Shaw may use one of the dynamic duo in Trevor Speights or Dorian Maddox. It could turn into a bulldozer play and put in Cameron Scarlett or Freshman Sione Lund. The wildcard is Connor Wedington who coincidentally wears #5. You may remember who wore it last.
·The offensive line will be back. I am telling you right now Stanford may have “5 starters” in mind but Stanford will play 10 different offensive linemen in Australia and they will rotate in and out and while they might not have that 2012/2013 talent yet, this might be the deepest Stanford has had on the line in years.
·TRENTON IRWIN IS THE MOST DISRESPECTED WIDE RECEIVER IN THE COUNTRY. HE IS NOT JUST THE BEST WIDE RECEIVER ON THE TEAM BUT HE’S THE ULTIMATE TEAM PLAYER AND DOESN’T COMPLAIN THAT HE ISN’T GETTING 20 PASSES A GAME AND IF HE WENT TO A SCHOOL THAT PASSED 100 TIMES A GAME, HE WOULD BE ALL OVER YOUR ALL-AMERICAN LISTS.
·Speaking of disrespected, what does the best cornerback to play at Stanford have to do to get some love from the national media? I’m referring to Quenton Meeks. Meeks is going to play on Sundays and if you only look at stats, he wasn’t thrown to in many occasions and it’s not a coincidence that the two games he was out, Stanford got pummeled.
·Meeks isn’t the only one in the defensive backfield that can play though and this could be the best defensive backfield that Stanford has ever produced.
·Harrison Phillips is the name to look at on the defensive line but look for him to get some help (maybe not this weekend) from Sophomore Michael Williams who is from the same neck of the woods as Solomon Thomas.
·King Conrad is gone but don’t get too down as I expect the field goals to keep going though. Jet Toner is a 6’4 kicking machine that may have more leg than Ukropina. Could be fun to see. Just hope he doesn’t run out of ink in clutch situations.
·Expect to WIN. Stanford doesn’t have an Andrew Luck or a Christian McCaffrey but Stanford has talent both young and old. This team should be able to plug and play with ease and don’t get hyped up on USC and Washington.
Stanford is going to be a good team once again and Stanford is not a team you leave to die out in the weeds. Stanford was left for dead in 2011 when Jim Harbaugh left and went to the Fiesta Bowl. Stanford was left for dead in 2012 after Andrew Luck left and won a Rose Bowl. Stanford was left for dead in 2015 after an 8-5 year and would go on to win another Rose Bowl. This story keeps repeating itself and people will continue to think we’ve died off. I don’t know as much as I have in recent years about what I am going to see during game days but I do know that with David Shaw in charge, Stanford is going to continue to win games and lots of them and this may be the ultimate team affair week in and week out.