Sunday, August 24, 2008

Stanford Football Preview

First year head coach Jim Harbaugh pulled Stanford out of the gutter while getting four wins last fall. Can he take the next step and get the Cardinal bowling? He'll have a senior QB that started seven games including the big shocker over USC in Tavita Pritchard. But the QB position is still full of uncertainty. Five other guys are still considered to be in the mix with Michigan transfer Jason Forcier and Alex Loukas throwing their names into the August competition. There are just as many questions at receiver, where Mark Bradford and Evan Moore (90 combined catches last year) have to be replaced. Don't expect the passing game to be the strength of this team. The RBs and OL are more of a stable unit. A quartet of RBs shared the carries last fall and managed to put up over 1,300 yards while the OL is comprised of four seniors and a junior led by All-Pac Ten performer Alex Fletcher at center. With nine starters back on defense, the biggest loss will be replacing defensive coordinator Scott Shafer, who left for Michigan. This young, attacking scheme gave up a ton of yards and points but did a decent job creating turnovers and was respectable in the red zone. Rarely does Stanford have as many solid players on the DL as it will in 2008. The secondary is also a veteran unit that has to show some improvement (107th nationally against the pass). The only problem, and not just on defense, is the typical lack of speed at Stanford. With seven road games and uncertainty at QB, getting that magical six wins for bowl eligibility doesn't appear to be in the Cards. But this team can no longer be considered a sure victory.

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