2005 Stanford Football Preseason Notes
Aug. 1, 2005
The Cardinal: Stanford, coming off back-to-back 4-7 seasons in 2003 and '04, returns 15 starters and 50 lettermen from last year's team, including 10 starters on offense and its entire offensive line ... Walt Harris, the head coach at the University of Pittsburgh the past eight seasons, was named the Cardinal's head coach in December, following the 2004 season ... Harris, a Bay Area native, led the Panthers to five consecutive bowl games, including a BCS bowl in 2004 ... He will make his debut as Stanford's head coach on September 4 when the Cardinal visits Annapolis, Md., to face Navy in the season opener ... Stanford opens fall camp on August 15 with 105 players on its roster.
Head Coach Walt Harris: In eight seasons at Pitt, Walt Harris turned the Panthers into a perennial bowl contender and among the top programs in the country ... He led Pitt to six bowl games in eight seasons, including the last five, and a first-ever BCS bowl (Fiesta) following the 2004 campaign ... He was named Stanford's head coach on December 13, 2004 ... Harris, a Bay Area native, has coached for over 30 years, including 11 as a head coach ... He was 52-44 at Pitt and is 63-68 in his career as a head coach, which includes three years at UOP (1989-91), where the Tigers improved each season under Harris ... Harris has coached at Ohio State, Tennessee, Illinois, Michigan State and Cal along with a three-year stint with the New York Jets ... In the last five seasons at Pitt, Harris' teams went 39-23, won at least seven games each year and advanced to a bowl game each season.
Pre-Season Honors: Fifth-year senior OLB Jon Alston was tabbed a consensus First-Team All-Pac-10 selection while several other Cardinal player earned pre-season honors recognition ... Alston, who was named Second-Team All-Pac-10 a year ago, was also named to a few pre-season All-America teams while being ranked among the top outside linebackers in the country ... Other Cardinal players receiving First-Team All-Pac-10 recognition include DT Julian Jenkins, NT Babatunde Oshinowo and KOR T.J. Rushing ... Also earning pre-season honors were ILB Kevin Schimmelmann, WR Evan Moore, PK Michael Sgroi, OT Jeff Edwards and SS Brandon Harrison.
Alston Leads Defense: Senior outside linebacker Jon Alston enters his fifth season on The Farm as one of the top defensive players in the Pac-10 and in the nation ... At 6-1, 220, Alston is Stanford's best outside rushing threat in the Cardinal's 3-4 defense ... He was the only player in the Pac-10 to be among the top six in the conference in sacks (fourth with 10.0), forced fumbles (tied for fifth with three) and tackles for loss (sixth with 15.0) ... A three-year letter-winner, Alston has recorded 112 total tackles, 15.0 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss in his career and has received pre-season All-America recognition in 2005.
Experienced OL: Nine returning lettermen, all five starters from 2004 and a group of four prep All-Americas who redshirted last season help give the Cardinal one of its most experienced and talented groups of offensive linemen in recent memory ... Stanford's roster includes six players who started a total of 83 games for the Cardinal and earned 15 letters ...Three of the Cardinal's returning starters have been in the starting lineup the past two years, including OT Jeff Edwards (19 career starts), C Brian Head (13) and OG Ismail Simpson (22) ... Both OT Jon Cochran (13) and OG Josiah Vinson (13) were starters in 2004 and part-time starters in '03 ... Reserve Mikal Brewer started three games last season while Preston Clover, David Long and Tim Mattran are returning letter-winners ... In addition, the Cardinal has four sophomores who were prep All-Americas in 2003, redshirted their freshman season on The Farm a year ago and are now in position to compete for playing time in 2005 ... The foursome includes Bobby Dockter, Alex Fletcher, Ben Muth and Allen Smith.
The Quarterbacks: Both quarterbacks who started for the Cardinal last season will compete for the starting job during fall camp ... Senior Trent Edwards (nine starts) and junior T.C. Ostrander (two starts) are both back in 2005 and both will vie for the starting assignment ... Edwards, who has started 13 games the past two years and thrown for 2,468 yards and 13 TDs, missed the final two games of the season last year after completing 148-of-271 for 1,718 yards and nine touchdowns in nine games ... Ostrander was impressive when given playing time, finishing the season with 914 yards passing and four TDs in six games, the final two in a starting role.
Running Back Battle: Although fifth-year senior J.R. Lemon has gained more yards, scored more touchdowns and logged more playing time than any other running back on the Cardinal roster, he enters the 2005 campaign in a four-way battle for the starting spot ... Lemon, who has started 10 games the past two seasons, has carried the ball 241 times for 992 yards (4.1 ypc) and scored 13 rushing touchdowns, which is tied for ninth all-time at Stanford ... The other three running backs competing with Lemon have a combined 43 carries for 119 yards ... Forty-one of those carries and 123 yards come from junior David Marrero, a two-year letter-winner and one of the team's top break-away threats ... Junior Jason Evans, who had two carries in 2004, has shown tremendous improvement while sophomore Anthony Kimble, who moved over from wide receiver during the spring and was very impressive, are also in the hunt to earn the starting nod in 2005.
Receiving Corps: While the Cardinal must replace its leading receiver from last year, TE Alex Smith (52 receptions, 706 yards), it does return its top three wide receivers and all but one from last year ... Juniors Evan Moore (39-616-6) and Mark Bradford (34-482-1) return along with seniors Justin McCullum (26-376-1), Gerren Crochet (3-43) and Marcus McCutcheon to form the nucleus of Stanford's receiving corps ... The speedy Crochet had an outstanding spring and put himself in position to compete for a starting spot while Bradford, tops on the team with 71 career receptions, Moore and McCullum return as experienced Pac-10 receivers ... The Cardinal will utilize four and five receivers in Walt Harris' West Coast Offense.
Defensive Line Trio: Stanford's defensive line consists of three experienced and talented players and a host of untested reserves who will be asked to step in and play significant minutes in 2005 ... Leading the way, however, are three, three-year letter-winners that include two of the top defensive linemen in the Pac-10 ... NT Babatunde Oshinowo was selected pre-season First-Team All-Pac-10 after proving to be one of the best in the conference the past two seasons ... A 6-2, 320-pound fifth-year senior, Oshinowo has been an honorable mention All-Conference pick the last two years while starting all 22 games in 2003 and '04 ... DE Julian Jenkins also earned First-Team pre-season All-Pac-10 recognition ... The Atlanta, Ga., native started all 11 games for Stanford last season and has played in 31 of 33 the past three years ... Fifth-year senior DE Casey Carroll moves into the starting lineup for the first time in his career ... He has played in 31 of Stanford's 33 games the last three seasons ... Behind this experienced trio, the Cardinal will rely on a group of young and untested players to provide quality depth.
Inside Scoop: Three-year letter-winner and two-year starter Kevin Schimmelmann will be joined by talented junior Michael Okwo to form the nucleus of Stanford's inside linebacking corps ... Schimmelmann has played four positions throughout his Cardinal career and has started 15 games the past two years at both inside and outside linebacker ... He has also played both free and strong safety ... Okwo was a reserve a year ago at ILB, but proved to be one of the best special teams players in the conference ... He was named First-Team All-Pac-10 in 2004 as a special teams player ... He started the final two games of the year at ILB when Schimmelmann was injured and showed why he is considered one of the best young players in the conference.
Secondary Story: On paper, the Cardinal has to replace three starters in the secondary off last year's team ... But, a closer look at the roster will find Stanford with seven returning letter-winners, including three players with starting experience ... Senior T.J. Rushing is the most experienced DB on the team ... He has been part of Stanford's three-man rotation at cornerback the past two years and has been an integral part of the secondary the last three seasons ... Junior Brandon Harrison started all 11 games last year at strong safety while senior Trevor Hooper, a starter in 2003, returns to the starting lineup at free safety ... Senior David Lofton, a converted quarterback, may also be ready to play a key role in the secondary for Stanford in 2005 ... Alongside Rushing at the cornerback positions is a group of young players who will be given the opportunity to compete for a starting role in '05 ... They include juniors Nick Sanchez, who was number one on the depth chart following spring practice, and Tim Sims, as well as sophomores Carlos McFall and Wopamo Osaisai.
Special Teams Specialists: Stanford returns its place-kicker, punter and one of the nation's top kickoff return men in 2005 ... T.J. Rushing led the Pac-10 and was sixth in the nation last year in kickoff returns with a 28.4 average ... The Sporting News ranked him among the top return men in the country ... PK Michael Sgroi is No. 6 all-time at Stanford in field goals (32-of-52) and is nearing the school's all-time top-10 list in scoring ... He hit 16-of-24 field goals in 2004, including a school record 10 straight, and is entering his fourth season as the team's starting place-kicker ... P Jay Ottovegio turned in an outstanding season in 2004 in his first year as a starter as he became the first freshman in school history to average more than 40 yards per punt ... His 41.3 average earned him Freshman All-America honors last year by The Sporting News ... Also returning for Stanford are Michael Okwo, a First-Team All-Pac-10 special teams player last year, and David Marrero, the team's starting punt return specialist a year ago.
Defensive line coach Dave Tipton is the dean of Pac-10 assistant coaches as he begins his 17th season on The Farm ... Tipton, a 1971 Stanford graduate and member of Stanford's 1970 Rose Bowl team, has worked for four head coaches at Stanford: Dennis Green (1989-91), Tyrone Willingham (1995-01), Buddy Teevens (2002-04) and now Walt Harris ... Only one other coach in Stanford history has coached football on The Farm as long as Tipton: Dutch Fehring, an assistant coach from 1949-66.
Two other members of Harris' staff are returning to Stanford: RB coach Wayne Moses and OL coach John McDonnell ... Moses previously coached at Stanford in 2002-03 while McDonnell was a member of the Cardinal's coaching staff in 2001.
Senior ILB Kevin Schimmelmann is a three-time First-Team Academic All-Pac-10 selection.
One of the school's all-time greats, quarterback Todd Husak, is back on The Farm as a graduate assistant coach ... Husak was Stanford's starting QB in the 2000 Rose Bowl and is currently the No. 5 all-time leading passer in school history.
Sophomore CB Wopamo Osaisai broke a long-standing Stanford record in the 100 meters when he recorded a time of 10.39 at the Junior Pan American Track & Field Championships to finish fourth in the event on July 30 ... The previous record of 10.40 had been set by Gordon Banks way back in 1977.
Fifth-year senior WR Gerren Crochet has caught 18 passes in his career, but 2005 could be the year he becomes a force on the Cardinal offense ... He gave up his final season of track last spring to concentrate on football and wound up being named one of the team's most improved players ... He also finished the spring No. 1 on the depth chart.
Stanford had six players taken in the 2005 NFL Draft, which was tops in the Pac-10 and No. 5 in the country.