2003 Football Notes
Aug. 1, 2003
THE CARDINAL: Stanford returns 38 letterwinners and 13 starters in2003, including eight starters on defense, three on offense and bothkickers. The Cardinal, which welcomes freshman to The Farm on August7, begins practice for the full squad on Monday, August 11. Stanfordopens the 2003 campaign with a home game vs. San Jose State onSeptember 6. The Cardinal then plays three difficult road games atBYU, Washington and USC before returning home on October 18.
THE SCHEDULE: Stanford will play 11 games in 2003 and will onceagain face one of the toughest schedules in college football. TheCardinal, which had the sixth toughest schedule in the nation in2002, will play eight bowl teams in 2003, including home games withWashington State, UCLA, Arizona State and Notre Dame and road gamesat Washington, USC, Oregon and Oregon State. The only threeopponents on this year's schedule that did not play in a bowl game in2002 are San Jose State, BYU and Cal. Stanford will also have twobye weeks this season (September 13, October 4), play three of itsfirst four games on the road and four of its last five at home.
WHO'S BACK: Stanford returns eight starters on defense, three onoffense and both kickers. Returning starters on defense include DTAmon Gordon and Louis Hobson, OLB Jon Alston and David Bergeron, MLBJake Covault, CB Stanley Wilson and Leigh Torrence and SS OshiomoghoAtogwe. On offense, returners starters include LT Kirk Chambers, TEAlex Smith and QBs Chris Lewis and Kyle Matter. P Eric Johnson andPK Michael Sgroi also return for the Cardinal in 2003.
BY THE NUMBERS: Almost half of Stanford's 2003 roster is made up oftrue or redshirt freshman. In fact, 47 of the Cardinal's 95 playerson its roster are true (30) or redshirt freshman (17). Stanford willlose just 14 players off this year's team in 2004, including justfour players on defense. The Cardinal's roster, as is usually thecase, is made up of players from across the country. Stanford'sroster includes players from 25 states and two countries (U.S. andCanada). Only 28 of the the Cardinal's 95 players are fromCalifornia while 25 are from the Southern states of Georgia, Florida,Louisianna, Tennessee and Mississippi.
THE HEAD COACH: Forty-six year old Buddy Teevens begins his secondseason at Stanford after being named the Cardinal's head coach onJanuary 9, 2002. Teevens' 23-year career prior to coming to Stanfordincluded 12 as a head coach. A 1979 graduate of Dartmouth College,he had previously held the head coaching position at the Universityof Maine, Dartmouth and Tulane. Teevens spent three seasons atFlorida (1999-2001) working under Steve Spurrier. Teevens was thehead coach at Maine for two years (1985-86), Dartmouth for five years(1987-91) and at Tulane for five seasons (1992-96).
QB SITUATION: A year ago, Chris Lewis entered the 2002 campaign asthe team's bonafide starter. But, injuries and an early season NCAAviolation limited Lewis' playing time to just five games, allowingredshirt freshman Kyle Matter to start six games and gain valuableexperience. Lewis had off-season shoulder surgery and is now 100percent as he competes with Matter and redshirt freshman TrentEdwards for the starting nod in '03. Now in his fifth season atStanford, Lewis has thrown for 3,168 yards and 25 touchdowns whileplaying in 21 games and starting 12 during his career. He will bepushed by Matter, who was thrust into the starting assignment lastseason when Lewis was unable to play. Matter completed 116-of-214for 1,219 yards in 2002 and his added maturity, experience andknowledge will be an asset to the Cardinal offense. Edwards, aredshirt freshman from Los Gatos High School in the Bay Area, came toStanford a year ago as the No. 1 prep quarterback in the country. Heenjoyed an outstanding spring and has put himself in position tocompete for the starting job. 'It's one of the most competitivepositions on the team,' says Teevens. 'We need to improve ourquarterback play in 2003.'
EXPERIENCE ON DEFENSE: One of the strengths of the 2003 Cardinal isits overall experience on defense. While three starters off lastyear's team have departed, eight starters and 21 letterwinners areback, including nine of the team's top 10 tacklers. Stanford returnsits top six linebackers from a year ago, four of its top five in thesecondary, two starters on the line and five others who receivedsignificant playing time at tackle and end. The Cardinal started 19different players on defense in 2002 -and 15 of them are back in '03ï¿½Listed below are players who started at least one game a year ago:DE Louis Hobson (8 starts), DT Amon Gordon (7), DE Will Svitek (3),DE Julian Jenkins (1), NT Babatunde Oshinowo (1), OLB David Bergeron(10), OLB Jon Alston (5), OLB Michael Craven (4), OLB Jared Newberry(3), MLB Jake Covault (9), MLB Brian Gaffney (2), CB Leigh Torrence(11), CB Stanley Wilson (11) and SS Oshiomogho Atogwe (11).
POWELL'S PLAY: A healthy Luke Powell is good news for the Cardinaloffense. Last season, one of the most dangerous players in collegefootball was slowed much of the year with an ankle injury. Powell isnow healthy and ready to assume his place as one of the topplay-makers in the country. A former First-Team All-American (as aKOR in 2001), Powell enters his final season at Stanford sporting animpressive 18.8 yards per reception average, which is third all-timeat Stanford. He has caught 83 passes for 1,560 yards and 11touchdowns and is the only player in school history to have threetouchdown receptions of 75 yards or more.He also has 16 catches over30 yards in his career, which include two from 50-59 yards and twoothers from 60-69 yards. As a kick returner, he is among theschool's all-time best in punt returns (47), punt return yards (553)and punt return average (11.8).
CAPTAIN KIRK: The leader of the Cardinal's offensive line is alsothe only player with starting experience - senior Kirk Chambers.With a young and inexperienced offensive line in 2003, Chambers isthe unquestioned leader of a group that will need his maturity andknowledge to help it develop into a quality unit. Chambers, who isthe oldest player on the team at 24, has started all 34 games in hisCardinal career and is attempting to do what few players in schoolhistory have accomplished - and that's to start every game. He hasbeen the team's No. 1 left tackle the past three seasons (2000-02).After an All-American prep career at Provo High School, Chamberssigned with Stanford then spent the 1998 and '99 seasons on a MormonMission in Berlin, Germany. He married Marilyn Ord on June 23, 2001and the couple gave birth to their first child, Marianne Deniece, onJuly 7, 2003.
O-LINE STORY: The story of the Cardinal's offensive line can besummed up in one word: young.Senior Kirk Chambers will be back atleft tackle for his fourth season in the starting lineup, but theremaining candidates to earn starting spots are young andinexperienced. Here are the hard facts: of the 16 offensive linemanon the Stanford's roster, 12 (five true freshman, seven redshirtfreshman) have never played for the Cardinal, two have seen limitedplaying time (senior Mike Sullivan and sophomore Brian Head) and one(senior Drew Caylor) has received some playing time as an offensivelineman, but has been a defensive lineman the past two years.
TIGHT END TRIO: While Brett Pierce and Matt Traverso sufferedthrough injury-riddled seasons a year ago, junior Alex Smith came tothe forefront and put together an outstanding season (30 receptions,380 yards, two TDs) as the team's only true tight end in 2002.Now,both Pierce (ACL) and Traverso (ankle) are healthy and, combined withSmith, gives the Cardinal a quality trio of tight ends. Piercecaught 19 balls for 258 yards and three touchdowns in 2001, butsuffered a season-ending knee injury in the first quarter of theseason opener last year at Boston College. Both Pierce and Smithhave received pre-season recognition this year as being among the toptight ends in the conference.
LINEBACKER CORPS: The Cardinal returns its top six linebackers froma year ago and will begin the 2003 campaign with an experienced,season corps from which to choose. Both OLB positions and the MLBspot will be very competitive. For the record, Stanford returns allthree starters in OLBs Jon Alston and David Bergeron (moved to MLBfor 2003) and MLB Jake Covault. However, all six returnees spent timein the starting lineup last year. So. Michael Craven, Jr. JaredNewberry and Sr. Brian Gaffney will be in the hunt for starting rolesin 2003. 'We have some depth and experience at the linebackerpositions,' says Teevens. 'A year ago, they were a young,inexperienced group. Now, we expect them to play like seasonedveterans.'
RUNNING GAME: Junior Kenneth Tolon is the team's top returning rusher(692 yards, 7 TDs, 5.8 ypc) while sophomore J.R. Lemon is the onlyother back to receive playing time. The Cardinal will also need afullback to emerge to replace four-year starter Casey Moore. Theleading candidates are senior Cooper Blackhurst and sophomore KrisBonifas. 'We need to run the ball more effectively to improve as anoffense,' says Teevens.