Football Kicks Off 2001 Season Versus Boston College
Sept. 2, 2001
The Cardinal: Stanford University begins its 107th season of intercollegiate football on September 8 with the 2001 season opener vs. Boston College ... The Cardinal, which won its final two games of the 2000 campaign, is coming off a season in which it finished 5-6 overall and 4-4 in the Pacific-10 Conference (fourth place) ... Stanford travels just once in its first five games, three of which are at Stanford Stadium and one other at San Jose State.
Season Openers: Stanford is 3-3 in six season openers under Tyrone Willingham ... Last season, the Cardinal began the year with a 24-10 win at Washington State ... This year's home opener marks the first time in three years and only the third time in the last 10 years that the Cardinal has opened the year in Stanford Stadium ... Stanford's last home opening victory was a 28-12 win over San Jose State in 1997.
The Big East: Saturday's matchup with Boston College will be the Cardinal's seventh game all-time against a Big East opponent ... Stanford, which has split its previous six games vs. the Big East, is 1-1 vs. BC, 1-2 vs. Pittsburgh and 1-0 vs. West Virginia ... Stanford's last game vs. a Big East opponent was a 30-13 loss at Boston College on September 20, 1980.
BC-Stanford Series: Stanford and Boston College, who met in 1979 and '80, will play a home and home series in 2001 and '02 ... The teams will open the 2002 season at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Mass. on September 7 ... In the previous two meetings, the home team won each contest with Stanford winning 33-14 on September 29, 1979 at Stanford and BC defeating the Cardinal 30-13 on September 20 in Chestnut Hill ... In 1979, Stanford freshman QB John Elway, in his fourth collegiate game, threw three touchdown passes to spark the offense ... A year later, BC upset No. 13 Stanford behind the rushing of Shelby Gamble (154 yards rushing, two TDs) ... Stanford led 13-9 late in the third quarter before the Eagles scored the final 21 points.
The Essential Numbers: Stanford returns 16 starters and 39 lettermen from last year's team that finished 5-6 overall and 4-4 in the Pacific-10 Conference (fourth place) ... The Cardinal returns nine starters on offense, seven on defense and both kickers from a year ago.
Tyrone Willingham: Head coach Tyrone Willingham begins his seventh season at the helm of the Cardinal football program ... Only two other coaches in school history have enjoyed a longer tenure on The Farm than Willingham - Glenn 'Pop' Warner and John Ralston, who both coached at Stanford for nine seasons ... Willingham, twice named Pac-10 Coach of the Year, enters the 2001 season with an overall record of 35-33-1 ... He has led the Cardinal to three bowl games, including a Pac-10 championship and a trip to the Rose Bowl in 2000, the Cardinal's first trip to Pasadena in 28 seasons.
Coaching Tenure at Stanford
Name (at Stanford) Record
Pop Warner (9), 1924-32 71-17-8
John Ralston (9), 1963-71 55-36-3
T. Willingham (7), 1995-01 35-33-1
Chuck Taylor (7), 1951-57 40-29-2
Tiny Thornhill (7), 1933-39 35-25-7
Returning Starters: Offensively, the Cardinal must replace WR DeRonnie Pitts (77 receptions, 882 yards, 8 TDs in 2000) and TE Russell Stewart ... The remaining nine starters return, including QB Randy Fasani, the entire offensive line and the entire backfield ... RB's Brian Allen and Kerry Carter and FB Casey Moore are back as well as Stanford's top six offensive linemen ... Replacing Pitts' numbers from a year ago will be critical to the Cardinal offensive attack in 2001 ... Defensively, key losses include DT Willie Howard and OLB Riall Johnson ... Seven starters are back, however, including Second-Team All-Pac-10 selection Tank Williams at FS and ILB Coy Wire, the team's leading tackler in '00 ... Stanford's 16 returning starters, plus two kickers, are listed below:
LT - Kirk Chambers
LG - Paul Weinacht
C - Zack Quaccia
RG - Eric Heitmann
RT - Greg Schindler
QB - Randy Fasani
FB - Casey Moore
FL - Ryan Wells
DE - Marcus Hoover
NT - Matt Leonard
ILB - Coy Wire
ILB - Matt Friedrichs
FS - Tank Williams
CB - Ruben Carter
CB - Ryan Fernandez
PK - Mike Biselli
P - Eric Johnson/Biselli
The O-Line: Stanford returns its top six offensive linemen from last year's team and is receiving recognition as one of the top groups in the nation entering the 2001 ... Athlon's Preseason Magazine ranked the Cardinal's O-Line No. 5 in the nation while Lindy's had Stanford at No. 10 ...While the entire starting five return, look for a different starting lineup when the season begins on Sept. 8 ... That's because the Cardinal coaching staff has many options on who to play at which position ... Returning All-Pac-10 guard Eric Heitmann will hold down one starting spot in 2001, but the other guard position will be held by Greg Schindler, a two-year starter at tackle who has been in the starting lineup the last 22 games ... Zack Quaccia (who can play center or guard), will begin the season as the team's #1 center ... At the tackle spots, returning starter Kirk Chambers will be joined by sophomore Kwame Harris, who will be making his debut as a starter this Saturday vs. Boston College ... Senior Paul Weinacht, a starter in eight games last season at left guard, is the team's sixth man ... In Heitmann, Schindler and Quaccia, the Cardinal has three players who will be in the starting lineup for the third consecutive season ... The trio has combined to start 65 games the past two years ... Stanford returns an experienced corps of offensive linemen who could become one of the best units in recent years.
Veterans: A year ago at this time Stanford had six players in the starting lineup who were in their final season of eligibility ... A look at the possible starting lineup in 2001 finds Stanford with 18 potential starters playing their final season on The Farm ... The experience that the Cardinal lacked in 2000 has given way to a veteran club in 2001 ... The Cardinal could find itself with a defense made up of 10 players in their final season of eligibility, including its entire starting secondary and linebacking corps.
The Top 10 List: Both Kerry Carter and Brian Allen could crack the Cardinal's all-time top-10 rushing list in 2001 ... Allen, in his final season of eligibility, has gained 1,218 rushing yards in his career and needs just 375 to move into the top-10 list ... Carter, who still has two years of eligibility remaining, has gained 1,059 yards and is 534 yards shy of the top 10 ... Carter, who has 12 career rushing touchdowns, enters the season tied for eighth on Stanford's all-time list.
Rushing Attack: Stanford returns all but 13 carries and 37 yards from last year's rushing attack that netted 1,528 yards on 452 carries ... In Kerry Carter (179-729-6), Brian Allen (117-460-0) and Casey Moore (50-224-3). Stanford returns its top three rushers from 2000 ... Randy Fasani, the team's fourth leading rusher, had 55 carries for 123 yards and two TDs in eight games ... The Cardinal returns 1,491 of its 1,528 yards, 439 of 452 carries and 11 of the 12 TDs it scored in '00.
Heitmann Hits: Senior Eric Heitmann, now in his third season in the Cardinal's starting lineup, has earned the reputation as one of the top offensive linemen in the nation ... Named Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 in 1999 and Second-Team All-Conference last season, Heitmann is a consensus preseason First-Team All-Pac-10 selection and a First-Team All-America choice by Athlon's and Preview Sports ... Street & Smith's named Heitmann as the No. 6 offensive guard in the country ...A native of Katy. Texas, Heitmann has played in all 34 games of his Stanford career and started the last 23.
Tank's Tale: Clevan 'Tank' Williams begins his senior season as one of the best safeties in all of college football and a candidate for the Thorpe Award ... Williams, a 6-3, 225 pound free safety from Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, was named preseason First-Team All-Pac-10 and Honorable Mention All-America by several publications ... Lindy's rated him as the No. 15 safety in the country ... 'Physically, he's everyting you look for in a football player,' says Cardinal secondary coach Denny Schuler. 'He's got cornerback speed, but linebacker size. Clearly, a big-time NFL player.'
Fasani's Future: Two things happened to Cardinal quarterback Randy Fasani during the off-season ... First, he married his longtime girlfriend, Monica Stahr and, second, he rehabilitated his injured knee ... And if last year is any indication, a healthy Fasani can only mean good things for the Cardinal offense ... In his first year as the starter, Fasani played in only eight games, two of which he had to leave early due to injury ... But, in those eight games, the Cardinal went 5-3 and averaged almost 30 points per game ... Stanford was 0-3 and averaged just over seven points in the three games he missed ... Fasani, who threw for 1,400 yards and 11 touchdowns, also proved to be a great play-maker, a tremendous runner and an athlete capable of making plays down the stretch ... His best games in 2000 included a 373-yard, four-TD game against San Jose State and the Big Game vs. Cal, when he threw for 242 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime ... He engineered drives of 64, 58 and 48 yards in the final six minutes against Pac-10 champ Washington to erase a 24-6 deficit ... Prior to becoming the Cardinal's starting QB in 2000, Fasani had also received playing time at tight end, linebacker and special teams.
Wire-d: Senior ILB Coy Wire has the distinction of being the only Cardinal player in modern times to lead the team in rushing and tackles ... He began his career as a running back, where he played for two seasons (1998, 1999) and led the team in rushing in '98 ... He was then was moved to linebacker for the 2000 campaign, where he promptly earned the starting role and led the team in total tackles ... He enters the 2001 season as a preseason Honorable Mention All-America and all-conference selection ... 'A lot of what we're doing defensively is based on what Coy can do,' said defensive coordinator Kent Baer. ' No question, he's an honors candidate this season. He's one of the best defensive players in our conference.'
Receiving Corps: In the last two seasons, Stanford has had to replace the No. 1 and No. 2 all-time leading receivers in school history ... First, Stanford had to replace Troy Walters,its No. 1 all-time receiver (244 receptions) following the 1999 season, and, now, the Cardinal must deal with replacing the school's No. 2 all-time receiver in DeRonnie Pitts (222 career receptions) ... Pitts led the team a year ago with 77 receptions for 882 yards and 11 TDs ...The Cardinal, however, does return its next five top receivers from last year's team, including Luke Powell,,who had 18 receptions for 502 yards and three touchdowns while averaging 27.9 yards per catch ... Powell proved to be Stanford's big play threat with four catches over 60 yards and six over 30 yards. ... He is listed as the starter at flanker ... At the other receiver spot, senior Ryan Wells enters the year as the starter ... Wells caught 19 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns a year ago ...But the Cardinal will need much more than Powell and Wells in 2001 ... Senios Caleb Bowman and Jamien McCullum along with sophomore Teyo Johnson are all expected to contribute to the depth at the receiver positions ... 'We may not know the answer to replacing DeRonnie Pitts until the Boston College game,' says Willingham. 'We need someone to leap out of that group and say, 'I want the position that DeRonnie held last season.' '
The Front Seven: While replacing DT Willie Howard and OLB Riall Johnson has been a focal point for the Cardinal defense heading into the 2001 season, Stanford does return an experienced corps of defensive lineman who have proven to be quality players ...Returning starters on the defensive line include senior end Marcus Hoover and senior nose tackle Matt Leonard ... Hoover started seven games a year ago and has been in the starting lineup 11 times in his career ... Leonard started the final five games a year ago at nose tackle, but will begin the 2001 campaign as the starter at defensive tackle ... Austin Lee has started 11 games over the last three years, but 2001 will see him as a full-time starter opposite Hoover at the other defensive end position ... At nose tackle, senior Trey Freeman has been labeled one of the 'most improved players on defense' after dropping 30 pounds in the past year ... Depth from seniors Travis Pfeifer and Craig Albrecht and juniors Cooper Blackhurst and Louis Hobson will be critical for the Cardinal in 2001.
Secondary Story: Depth in the defensive backfield is one of the Cardinal's strengths heading into the 2001 season ... Not only are three starters back in FS Tank Williams and CB Ruben Carter and Ryan Fernandez, but quality reserves abound in the secondary ... Williams, of course, is one of the top safeties in college football and a candidate for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented to the top defensive back in the nation ... Carter (24 starts, three-year letterwinner) and Fernandez (started all 11 games in 2000)give the Cardinal two experienced cornerbacks with proven ability ... Depth at the cornerback positons will come from senior Brian Taylor, sophomores Leigh Torrence and Stanley Wilson and senior Garry Cobb ... Senior Simba Hodari (three-year letterwinner) has locked up the starting spot at strong safety with senior Colin Branch close behind ... Senior Jason White and sophommore O.J. Atogwe also provide Stanford with quality reserves at the safety positions.
New Starters: Four players are expected to make their debuts in the starting lineup in Stanford's season opener with Boston College ... The other 18 starters have all had experience in the starting lineup ... The four new starters are RT Kwame Harris, FL Luke Powell, NT Trey Freeman and SS Simba Hodari.
Schedule Maker: Stanford's schedule a year ago was ranked as the eighth toughest in college football and its 2001 schedule will again place it among the nation's toughest ...Slated for this season are six teams who played in bowl games in 2000, including Washington, Oregon, UCLA, Arizona State, Notre Dame and Boston College ... Four opponents are currently ranked among the nation's top-25 (AP): No. 7 Oregon, No. 15 Washington, No. 17 UCLA and No. 18 Notre Dame.