Stanford Football Prepares For 2001 Opener
Aug. 1, 2001
The Cardinal: Stanford returns 16 starters and 40 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.
Practice Begins: Freshmen report to their first practice on Tuesday, August 14 ... Stanford's first practice with its entire squad will be Saturday, August 18 ... Double -day practices run through August 31 on the Stanford campus.
Season Opener: The Cardinal plays host to Boston College in the 2001 season opener on September 8 ... The game will be televised to a national audience on Fox Sports Net at 7:15 pm ... The Eagles, who have received pre-season recognition as a top-25 team , went 7-5 last season and defeated Arizona State in the Aloha Bowl.
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 - Glen '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.
Staff Changes: Three new assistant coaches joined Willingham's staff during the off-season ... John McDonell spent the past 12 seasons at Washington State, the last seven as offensive coordinator ... He will coach centers and guards for the Cardinal ... Mike Denbrock will join McDonell as an offensive line coach ... Denbrock, who coached in the Arena Football League last season, will coach tackles and tight ends ... The third new member of the coaching staff is Trent Miles, who will coach wide receivers ... Miles was an assistant coach with the Green Bay Packers a year ago.
What They're Saying About the Cardinal - Preseason Hype
Here's a list of what the major pre-season publications are saying about the Cardinal entering the 2001 season:Team* No. 5 offensive line in country** No. 10 offensive line in country%* No. 13 recruiting class in country%* Preseason #24, #28, #34* Pac-10 #3, #4, #5, #5, #5
Eric Heitmann, OG* 1st Team All-America+$* Hon. Mention All-America@&* 1st Team All-Pac-10 - consensus* No. 6 rated OG in country%
Tank Williams, FS* 1st Team All-Pac-10@+%* Hon. Mention All-America@&* No. 15 rated safety in country%
Coy Wire, ILB* Hon. Mention All-America&* 2nd Team All-Pac-10&%* 3rd Team All-Pac-10@
Randy Fasani, QB* No. 15 rated QB in country%
Mike Biselli* 1st Team All-Pac-10%
Luke Powell, FL* 2nd Team All-Pac-10@
Greg Schindler, OG* 2nd Team All-Pac-10@
Kwame Harris, OT* 3rd Team All-Pac-10@
Ruben Carter, CB* Hon. Mention All-America&
@ Inside Players' College Football+ Preview Sports College Football$ College & Pro Football Newsweekly% Lindy's& Street & Smith's* Athlon
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 seven 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 retuning starters, plus two kickers, are listed below:
Kickers (2)PK - Mike BiselliP - Eric Johnson/Biselli
The O-Line: Stanford returns its top seven 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 may be taken by Greg Schindler, (moving over from tackle), Zack Quaccia (who can play center or guard), or last year's starter, Paul Weinacht ... At the tackle spots, returning starter Kirk Chambers and sophomore Kwame Harris may be the starters with Schindler, who has started the past two years at tackle, moving to guard ... If Quaccia is moved to a guard spot, Mike Holman could become the starter at center ... 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 ... In any event, Stanford returns an experienced corps of offensive lineman 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.
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.
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.
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 ... 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.'
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. 2all-time leading receivers in school history ... First, Stanford had to replace Troy Walters,it's 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. Looking to fill the void left by Pitts are Ryan Wells (19-201-2), Jamien McCullum (14-250-3) and Caleb Bowman (11-155-0) ...
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 team who played in bowl games in 2000, including Washington, Oregon, UCLA, Arizona State, Notre Dame and Boston College ... Among the preseason rankings, Oregon, Washington and UCLA have received top-10 recognition while Boston College, Notre Dame and USC have been mentioned among the top 25 ... Stanford does not play Oregon State this season, a team picked to contend for the Pac-10 title.
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 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 becomming the Cardinal's starting QB in 2000, Fasani had also received playing time at tight end, linebacker and special teams.
* Stanford has led the Pac-10 in fewest penalties and penalty yards for the past five seasons ... Last year, the Cadinal led the league in fewest penalties (64), penalty yards (471) and penalty yards per game (42.8).
* PK Mike Biselli, a 1999 First-Team All-Pac-10 selection, enters the season seventh all-time in PATs (75) and tied for ninth in field goals (21) ... He is 39 points shy of moving onto the school's all-time top-10 scoring list.
* Sophomore Teyo Johnson begins the season listed as both a quarterback and wide receiver ... Johnson, who also plays for Stanford's nationally ranked basketball team, worked out at wide receiver during the final week of spring practice ... He caught two TD passes in the Spring Game and, at 6-7, proved he may be able to be a quality receiver ... He will continue to receive work at quarterback ... Johnson is also expected to compete for a starting role on the basketball team this season.
* TE Darin Naatjes, who will compete for increased playing time and the starting spot this season, is also on the Cardinal's nationally- ranked baseball team ... In his first two seasons in baseball, Naatjes has seen his Stanford team reach the NCAA Championship game each year, losing to LSU in 2000 and Miami last June.
* So. CB Stanley Wilson, expected to compete for playing time this year, enjoyed an outstanding season in track last spring ... He posted times of 10.47 in the 100 meters - fourth best in school history - and 21.40 in the 200 meters - the 10th best time in Cardinal history.
* Stanford's roster is represented by two countries (U.S. and Canada) and 29 states ... Only 27 of the Cardinal's 91 players are from California.