Stanford Ready to Kickoff 2008 Season Thursday Night vs. Oregon State
Aug. 25, 2008
2008 Stanford Football Game Notes
Game OneOregon State Beavers at Stanford CardinalAugust 28, 2008 Stanford Stadium 6:00 p.m. (ESPN 2)
Stanford Kicks Off 2008 Season Thursday Night Against Oregon StateStanford will open its 2008 season on Thursday night, August 28 against the Oregon State Beavers with kick off set for 6:00 p.m. at Stanford Stadium (50,000). The game will be televised nationally on ESPN 2. This year's season opener marks Stanford's earliest season debut since the Cardinal kicked off the 1992 season on August 26 with a 10-7 loss to Texas A&M in the Pigskin Classic. Stanford rebounded from that loss to finish 10-3 under head coach Bill Walsh, capped off by a 24-3 win over Penn State in the Blockbuster Bowl.
Broadcast InformationThe Stanford-Oregon State game will be televised live on ESPN 2, with Ron Franklin (play-by-play), Ed Cunningham (analysis) and Jack Arute (sidelines) calling the action. Every Stanford game this season with be carried live on KTRB AM 860 with Dave Flemming (play-by-play) and former Stanford players Todd Husak (analysis) and Mike McLaughlin (sidelines) handling the broadcast duties. All broadcasts will begin one hour prior to kickoff with the Cardinal Tailgate Show. In addition, KTRB will air the Cardinal Locker Room Report immediately following the game, complete with a game recap, highlights and interviews. Stanford student station KZSU will also broadcast the game live with Jake Kelman calling the action.
Stanford-Oregon State SeriesStanford leads the overall series against Oregon State, which dates back to 1919, 47-24-3. However, the Cardinal has dropped the last two games in the series by a combined score of 53-13. Stanford suffered a 23-6 defeat on Oct. 27 of last season in Corvallis and also dropped a 30-7 decision the last time the two teams met in Stanford Stadium during the 2006 campaign. Stanford is just 1-6 against Oregon State dating back to the 2000 campaign (the teams did not meet in 2001) and is 3-8 over the last 11 meetings dating back to 1996. Stanford held the upperhand in the series prior to Oregon State's recent success, holding a 23-3-1 advantage in 27 games played beginning with the 1969 contest in Corvallis.
Cardinal ClipsThe season-opener against Oregon State on August 28th marks Stanford's earliest season-opener since kicking off the 1992 season on August 26 with a 10-7 loss to Texas A&M in the Pigskin Classic.Stanford has dropped its last two season openers at Oregon in 2006 (48-10) and to UCLA last season (45-17)...however, the Cardinal is 5-3 in its last eight season openers dating back to the 2000 season.The season-opener against Oregon State marks just the fourth time in the last 17 seasons Stanford has kicked off its schedule against a conference opponent...in the post-World War II era beginning in 1946, Stanford has faced a conference opponent in its season-opener 16 times.Seven of Stanford's 12 regular season games are on the road, marking the seconed time in three seasons and the third time in school-history the team has played seven road games (2006 and 1976)...seven of the 12 opponents on Stanford's schedule appeared in bowl games last season.Welcome back 24 letterwinners on offense, including nine starters...a total of 18 letterwinners, including 11 starters, return on defense...only one letterwinner from last year returns from Stanford's kicking game.Stanford features four players who have earned spots on various preseason watch lists, including center Alex Fletcher (Outland Trophy and Rimington Award), safety Bo McNally (Lott Trophy) and linebackers Clinton Snyder (Nagurski Trophy, Butkus and Bednarik Award) and Pat Maynor (Butkus Award).Stanford's defensive unit remains largely intact from last year's squad that ranked second in the Pac-10 and 11th nationally with 37 sacks...Cardinal also averaged 8.33 tackles-for-loss last season, a figure that ranked third in the Pac-10 and fifth nationally.On the coaching front, Ron Lynn takes over as assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator...linebacker coach Andy Buh has added the the title of co-defensive coordinator.Stanford finished the 2007 season with an overall record of 4-8 and a Pac-10 mark of 3-6 (t-7th)...included in the win total were victories over top-ranked (USA Today) USC and defending Pac-10 Conference co-champion California...two other victories came at the expense of San Jose State (37-0) and Arizona (21-20).
Stanford's Probable Starting LineupOffensePos. No. Player NotesWR 8 Ryan Whalen Impressive camp; had one catch for 11 yards last yearLT 76 Ben Muth Fifth-year senior who made 9 starts last seasonLG 66 Gustav Rystedt Switched to offensive left guard this springC 60 Alex Fletcher Outland Trophy and Rimington Award candidateRG 71 Andrew Phillips Much improved over last two seasonsRT 63 Chris Marinelli Has made 17 career starts, including 14 in a rowTE 84 Austin Gunder Started the final six games last seasonQB 14 Tavita Pritchard Defeated USC in first career start last seasonRB 5 Anthony Kimble Stanford's leading rusher each of the last two seasonsFB 48 Owen Marecic Pac-10 honorable mention selection last seasonWR 89 Doug Baldwin Caught 11 passes for 93 yards off the bench in `07
DefensePos. No. Player NotesDE 91 Pannel Egboh Recorded 13.5 TFL and 6.0 sacks in `07DT 95 Brian Bulke Started last two games of last seasonNT 92 Sione Fua Sat out last season while on LDS missionDE 80 Erik Lorig 37 tackles and 7.5 TFL last seasonSLB 20 Clinton Snyder Bednarik, Nagurski and Butkus Award candidateMLB 43 Chike Amajoyi Made six starts last season as a freshmanWLB 44 Pat Maynor Butkus Award candidateLC 6 Wopamo Osaisai Veteran in the secondary; Pac-10 100 meter championFS 40 Taylor Skaufel Played in all 12 games and made 35 tackles as frsohSS 22 Bo McNally Team's leading tackler last season; Lott Trophy candidateRC 24 Kris Evans Saw action in all 12 games last season and made four starts
SpecialistsPos. No. Player NotesPK 11 Aaron Zagory Converted 8-of-13 field goal attempts in 2006P 36 Daniel Zychlinski Ranked as No. 2 punter in the nation by Kicking.comLS 56 Zach Nolan Takes over for four year starter Brent NewhouseHLD 22 Bo McNally will be backed up by ZychlinskiKR 89 Doug Baldwin 23 returns for 555 yards last yearPR 89 Doug Baldwin Had two returns for 15 yards last year
It Happened Against Oregon StateHere's a look at some memorable performances by Stanford over the years against Oregon State...1940 Frankie Albert booms a 79 yard punt, which still ranks as the longest in school history.1952 Bill Rogers runs for a 96-yard touchdown in a 41-28 Stanford victory in Corvallis. The play still ranks as the longest rush from scrimmage in school history.1963 Craig Ritchey returns a punt 66 yards for a touchdown to account for Stanford's only score in a 10-7 loss to the Beavers in Corvallis.1971 One week after being upset 24-23 by Washington State, Stanford rallies from a 24-3 second quarter deficit and outlasts Oregon State, 31-24 in Corvallis.1980 John Elway tosses a school record six touchdown passes in a 54-13 victory over the Beavers at Stanford Stadium...Ken Margerum is on the receiving end of four of those scoring strikes.1981 Stanford rushes for a school-record 439 yards in a 63-9 victory over the Beavers in Corvallis...Darrin Nelson sets a single-game school record by scoring five touchdowns against the Beavers, including a 80-yard touchdown run.1982 John Elway has another big game against the Beavers, completing 23-of-29 passes for 381 yards and five touchdowns in a 45-5 victory. The passing yardage was the third highest single-game total in Elway's illustrious career.1991 Steve Stenstrom hooks up with Glyn Milburn for a 92-yard TD pass at the 6:19 mark of the second quarter, marking the third-longest pass play in school history.1993 Steve Stenstrom completes 28-of-37 passes for 407 yards, the seventh-best passing performance in school history.1998 Todd Husak sets single-game records for passing yardage (450) and total offense (447), but Stanford drops a 30-23 decision to the Beavers at Stanford Stadium.2003 The Beavers hold Stanford to just 133 yards in total offense, which is the third lowest output in school history.
Stanford Team NotesStanford in OpenersStanford is 5-3 in its last eight season openers dating back to the 2000 season, when the Cardinal posted a 24-10 victory over Washington State in Pullman. However, Stanford has dropped its last two season openers at Oregon (48-10 in 2006) and to UCLA (45-17 in `07). The 2008 opener against Oregon State marks just the fourth time in the last 17 seasons Stanford has opened its schedule with a conference game (at Washington in `93; at Washington State in `00; Oregon in `06; UCLA in `07). In the post-World War II era beginning in 1946, Stanford has faced a conference opponent just 16 times in its season opener.
Stanford-Oregon State Openers RareStanford has has opened its season against Oregon State on just two other occasions. In 1939, the Beavers shutout Stanford, 13-0 in Palo Alto and in 1967, Stanford dropped a 13-7 decision to Oregon State in Corvallis.
Last Year Against the BeaversOregon State limited Stanford to negative yards rushing (-8) and a pair of field goals in defeating the Cardinal, 23-6 on Oct. 27 in Corvallis. Beaver quarterback Sean Canfield threw for 142 yards and Alexis Serna kicked three second half field goals as the Beavers improved to 5-3 (3-2 Pac-10) on the season. Stanford's Tavita Pritchard completed 16-of-32 passes for 168 yards, but Stanford could managed only a pair of Derek Belch second quarter field goals in falling to the Beavers for the sixth time in the last seven meetings.
Road TestedStanford will play seven road games this season, beginning with the September 6 game at Arizona State. Other road dates include stops at TCU (Sept. 13), Washington (Sept. 27), Notre Dame (Oct. 4), UCLA (Oct. 18), Oregon (Nov. 8) and California (Nov. 22). This marks the second time in three seasons and the third time in Stanford history the Cardinal has played as many as seven road games in one season. In 2006, the Cardinal's lone win during a 1-11 campaign was a 20-3 victory at Washington. In 1976, Stanford posted a 3-4 road record on its way to a 6-5 finish in Jack Christiansen's final season as head coach. Stanford dropped its first four road games to Penn State, Michigan, Army and UCLA before rebounding to defeat Washington State, Oregon and Cal in its final three road tests.
More on the ScheduleSeven of the 12 opponents on Stanford's 2008 schedule participated in bowl games last season, including Oregon State (Emerald), TCU (Texas), Arizona State (Holiday), USC (Rose), UCLA (Las Vegas), Oregon (Sun) and California (Armed Forces). For just the second time in school history, Stanford will not play back-to-back home games this season. In 1985, Stanford alternated between home and road games throughout its 11-game schedule and finished 4-7 under head coach Jack Elway.
2007 RewindStanford finished the 2007 season with a 4-8 overall record and a 3-6 mark in the Pac-10 Conference. Included in the win total were victories over top-ranked (USA Today) USC and defending Pac-10 Conference co-champion California in the Big Game. Other victories came over San Jose State (37-0) and at Arizona (21-20). Of the eight losses, two came by a touchdown or less (TCU and Notre Dame). The four wins were a three-game improvement from the previous season when Stanford struggled to a 1-11 overall mark.
Who's Back?43 letterwinners, including 24 on offense, 18 on defense and one specialist.20 returning starters, including nine on offense and 11 on defense.Three of its four top rushers (Anthony Kimble-509; Jeremy Stewart-343 and Toby Gerhart-140)Ten of its top 11 tacklers (Bo McNally-114 tackles, Clinton Snyder-96, Pat Maynor 88, Austin Yancy-49, Pannel Egboh 49, Chike Amajoyi-47, Wopamo Osaisai-45, Kris Evans-40, Erik Lorig-37, Taylor Skaufel-35.).
Offensive NotesStanford's offensive numbers last season were a significant improvement from the previous year in virtually every category...last season, the Cardinal averaged 111.2 yards on the ground compared to 65.1 in 2006...finished with a 211.3 per game average through the air (166.8 in '06), 322.5 per game in total offense (231.9 in '06) and scored 19.6 points per game (10.6 in '06)...scored 20 or more points in six games last season, compared to 2006, when the team went over the 20 point mark just once...offense ranked last among Pac-10 teams last year in total offense, averaging 322.5 yards per game (111.2 rushing/211.3 passing).
Defensive NotesStanford finished ninth in the Pac-10 last season in total defense (435.5 ypg), passing efficiency defense (134.4) and rushing defense (169.3). The Cardinal also ranked eighth in scoring defense (28.2 ppg) and finished sixth in in first downs allowed (254). However, Stanford finished fifth in quarterback sacks (37 for 284 yards).
A Look at Special TeamsStanford must replace three key specialists from a year ago in punter Jay Ottovegio, four-year long snapper Brent Newhouse and placekicker Derek Belch. Senior Aaron Zagory looks to replace Belch at placekicker. The Yellow Springs, Ohio-native made 8-of-13 field goal tries and 13-of-15 PATs in 2006. Freshman Daniel Zychlinski, who was ranked as the No. 2 punter in the nation by Kicking.com, is poised to take over the punting duties.
It's Tavita for StartersSenior quarterback Tavita Pritchard emerged from fall camp a top the depth, narrowing out sophomore Alex Loukas and senior Jason Forcier for the starting position. Pritchard appeared in nine games last season and made seven consecutive starts from Oct. 6 to Nov. 4, completing 97-of-194 (50.0) of his passes for 1,114 yards and five touchdowns. He secured his spot in Stanford football lore when he engineered an epic, 24-23 upset victory over top-ranked (USA Today) USC in his first career start, connecting with Mark Bradford for the game-winning touchdown on a fourth-and-goal play from the USC 10-yard line with 0:49 left in the game.
Coaching ChangesTwo notable changes to Stanford's coaching ranks come on the defensive side, where Ron Lynn takes over as assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator while linebackers coach Andy Buh takes on additional duties as co-defensive coordinator. Lynn, a 38-year coaching veteran, previously held defensive coordinator positions in the NFL with San Diego (1986-91), Cincinnati (1992-93) and Washington (1994-96). He also served as secondary coach with New England (1997-99), Oakland (2000-03) and San Francisco (2004). His collegiate experience includes stops at Toledo (1966), Mount Union College (1967-73), Kent State (1974-76), San Jose State (1977-78), Pacific (1979) and California (1980-82).
Position ChangesHere's a look at some position players who have changed positions since the beginning of spring practice...Alex Fletcher moved from right guard to center...Blaise Johnson moved from safety/cornerback to running back...Mark Mueller moved from wide receiver to cornerback...Gustav Rydstedt moved from defensive tackle to offensive guard....Matt Bentler and Derek Hall from defensive to offensive line...Tom McAndrew moved from defensive end to tight, but listed on the two-deep at both positions.
ImprovementIn addition to the win column, Stanford showed marked improvement in several notable categories last season compared to 2006, when the Cardinal finished with a 1-11 overall record (1-8 Pac-10 conference)...here's a look at some of the notable areas of improvement last season...
OFFENSE 2007 2006SCORING 235 127Points Per Game 19.6 10.6FIRST DOWNS 230 163RUSHING YARDS 1334 781Average Per Game 111.2 65.1PASSING YARDAGE 2536 2002Average Per Game 211.3 166.8TOTAL OFFENSE 2870 2783Average Per Game 322.5 231.9TIME OF POSSESSION 30:25 28:12SACKS BY YARDS 37-284 14-111TOUCHDOWNS SCORED 27 15RED ZONE TOUCHDOWNS 18-37 (49%) 7-26 (27%)
DEFENSE 2007 2006SCORING 339 377Points Per Game 28.2FIRST DOWNS 254 269RUSHING YARDAGE 2032 2526Average Per Game 169.3 177.0
Sacks and Tackles-for-LossStanford finished the 2007 season ranked second in the Pac-10 and 11th nationally with 37 sacks and a per game average of 3.17, which was the highest per game average since the 1999 Rose Bowl team finished with a 4.2 per game mark. The Cardinal also averaged 8.33 tackles for loss last year, a figure that ranked third in the Pac-10 and fifth nationally. The figure was also the best per game average since 1999.
Turnover RatioStanford improved from -11 to +3 in turnover ratio last season, which was the second best mark in the Pac-10 behind Oregon (+9). In addition to Stanford and Oregon, Arizona State (+3) and USC (+2) were the only other teams in the conference with a plus turnover ratio.
Another Good SignStanford was the least penalized team in the Pac-10 last year with 64 infractions in 12 games. Stanford's penalty yardage average of 50.2 was the third lowest in the conference behind Washington (47.2) and Washington State (50.0).
Snyder Included on Nagurski, Bednarik and Butkus Award Watch ListsStanford outside linebacker Clinton Snyder has been included on the preseason watch lists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and the Chuck Bednarik Award, which honors college football's top defensive player, along with the Butkus Award, which is given to college football's top linebacker. Snyder, who earned second team All-Pac-10 Conference honors last season, ranks as Stanford's active career leader in tackles (179), sacks (10.0), fumbles forced (7) and is tied for first in fumbles recovered (3) and tackles for loss (18). He ranked among the Pac-10 leaders in virtually every defensive category in 2007, including fumbles forced (4-t-1st), tackles for loss (14.5-5th), fumbles recovered (3-t-4th), sacks (8-t-7th) and tackles (89-t-9th). Snyder led the Cardinal in sacks and fumbles forced last season and tied for the team lead in fumbles recovered. He ranked second in tackles for loss and tied for second in quarterback hurries.
Fletcher Included on Outland and Rimington Trophy Watch ListsSenior Alex Fletcher has been included on preseason watch lists for both the Outland Trophy, which honors the best interior lineman and the Rimington Trophy, which is awarded the nation's top center. A three-year starter, Fletcher will move back to his natural center position this season after starting all 12 games at right guard last year. Stanford's most experienced offensive player with 32 career starts under his belt, Fletcher has made 12 starts at center, including nine during the 2006 season and three during the 2005 campiagn.
McNally Named to Lott Trophy Watch ListSafety Bo McNally is one of 42 collegiate defensive players who have been named to the 2008 Lott Trophy Watch List. Named after Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, the Lott Trophy is awarded to college football's Defensive IMPACT Player of the Year. It is the first college football award to equally recognize athletic performance and the personal character attributes of the player.McNally was a honorable mention All-Pac 10 selection last season after leading the team with 114 tackles, including 71 solo efforts. He led or co-led the team in tackles in seven of the 12 games last season and averaged 9.5 tackles a game, which ranked second in the Pac-10 and 41st nationally. McNally had six double-figure tackle games last season, including a career-high 15 stops in the opener against UCLA.
Maynor Added to Butkus Award Watch ListFifth-year senior linebacker Pat Maynor has been added to the watch list for the 2008 Butkus Award, given annually since 1985 to the top linebacker in college football. Last season, Maynor posted career highs with 16.5 tackles-for-loss and 6.0 sacks. His 1.50 TFL per game ranked second in the Pac-10 and was tied for 12th in the country, while his sack total was ranked tied for 60th among the NCAA leaders. A veteran of 32 career games and 20 starts over the last two seasons, Maynor is tied for second on Stanford's active career list with 135 tackles and 19.5 tackles for loss.
A Look at the Running Back SituationStanford is hoping a healthy backfield combination of senior Anthony Kimble and junior Toby Gerhart will jump start a running game that finished ranked ninth in the Pac-10 last year, averaging 111.2 yards per game.A fifth-year senior, Kimble has made 24 starts at running back over the last three years and has led the team in rushing each of the past two seasons. However, he has missed eight games due to injury over the last three seasons, including five contests a year ago. Last season, he finished with 509 yards (72.7 per game) and led the team in rushing in six of the seven games he played.Gerhart hopes to be fully recovered from a season-ending knee injury suffered in the second game of last season against San Jose State, after he had rushed for a career-best 140 yards on just 12 carries. A tough, aggressive hard-nosed runner, Gerhart finished the 2006 season as Stanford's second leading rusher, topping the team in rushing yards on four occasions as a natural freshman.Injuries to Kimble and Gerhart opened the door for true freshman Jeremy Stewart to fill the void in Stanford's running game. He finished as the team's second-leading ground gainer with 343 yards and two touchdowns and gained confidence as the season progressed, as he combined for 178 yards in the final three games of the season against Washington State (54), Notre Dame (54) and California (70).Sophomore Owen Marecic figures to see the majority of action at fullback after starting all 12 games last season. He earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors, despite the fact he carried the ball only five times for six yards.
Chase, Wilcox-Fogel and Zagory Elevated to Scholarship StatusSenior linebacker Thaddeus Chase, senior wide receiver Nate Wilcox-Fogel and senior placekicker Aaron Zagory have been awarded scholarships for the 2008-09 academic year.Chase enters the 2008 season battling for playing time at outside linebacker. He will also he a steady contributor on special teams. Chase appeared in 12 games last season and finished with four tackles, including two solo efforts. He was credited with one blocked kick and played on all four special teams units.Wilcox-Fogel, a fifth-year senior from nearby Los Altos, has lettered each of the last two seasons after sitting out the 2004 and `05 campaigns.After serving as a back up kicker last season, Zagory regained the starting role early in fall camp. He converted 8-of-13 field goals and 13-of-15 PATs as a junior in 2006.