#20 Stanford Football 2015 Preview

Stanford Cardinal

Overall Rank: #20
#6 Pac-12

Stanford Team Page#20 Stanford Football 2015 PreviewBuy Stanford Football Tickets

Stanford struggled through their worst season under Coach David Shaw, winning just eight games and going 5-4 in Pac-12 play. This is the first time Coach Shaw has failed to win 11 games in a season. But it is very easy to look at last season and say the Cardinal could have easily won all their games. They lost to USC, Notre and Utah by three points each. But those are the types of games Stanford is used to winning; low scoring affairs in which the defense keeps them close and the offense does just enough to win. The offense did not do enough in 2014.

2014 Record: 8-5, 5-4
2014 Bowl: Foster Farms Bowl vs. Maryland (W 45-21)
Coach: David Shaw (42-12 at Stanford, 42-12 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Bloomgren
Defensive Coordinator: Lance Anderson

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Remound Wright, RB, 601 yards
Passing: Kevin Hogan, QB, 2,792 yards
Receiving: Devon Cajuste, WR, 557 yards
Tackles: Blake Martinez, LB, 102
Sacks: Peter Kalambayi, LB, 6.5
Interceptions: Blake Martinez, LB, 3

Other Key Returnees: RB Christian McCaffrey, TE Austin Hooper, WR Michael Rector, OL Kyle Murphy, LB Kevin Anderson

Key Losses: RB Kelsey Young, WR Ty Montgomery, OL Andrus Peat, LB A.J. Tarpley, LB James Vaughters, DL Henry Anderson, S Jordan Richards, CB Alex Carter, K Jordan Williamson

Stanford’s defense was their usual dominate selves. They ranked third in the nation in total defense with 282.4 yards per game and second in scoring defense at 16.4 points. There are holes to fill, but expect Stanford to fill them relatively quickly. The line will break in three new starters, led by senior Aziz Shittu. Nate Lohn and Brennan Scarlett, a transfer from rival Cal, are relatively experienced seniors, but they will be pushed by underclassmen. The secondary lost Jordan Richards, but also lost Alex Carter when he left early for the NFL Draft, Wayne Lyons when he transferred and Zach Hoffpauir when he left to pursue a baseball career. Seniors Ronnie Harris and Kodi Whitfield need to step into leadership roles. All the roles at linebacker are filled though. Kevin Anderson and Peter Kalambayi totaled a dozen sacks from their outside linebacker spots. Blake Martinez returns in the middle after tallying a team high 102 tackles. Kevin Palma and Noor Davis are solid options to play beside Martinez. The defense may not dominate as much as they did in 2014, but they will still be the best defense in the Pac-12.

Stanford’s offensive struggles stem from the lack of a major rushing threat. It was the first time since 2007 that the Cardinal did not have a 1,000 yard rusher. Remound Wright will give it another go after rushing for 601 yards and 11 scores. Christian McCaffrey, who came on strong at the end of his freshman campaign, may have the best shot at eclipsing the 1,000 yard mark though. Without a consistent ground game, experienced quarterback Kevin Hogan struggled. He put up solid numbers, completing 65.9 percent of his passes for 2,792 yards and tossing 19 touchdowns compared to eight interceptions. Most of that success came later in the season when McCaffrey was more productive and the coaching staff was tweaking the offense. Ty Montgomery, the team’s top receiver needs to be replaced too. Montgomery was a great, safe option for Hogan. The hope is that this year the ground game opens up things for Hogan so he can look downfield more often to Devon Cajuste.

The Bottom Line:
The defense may take a step back, but the Stanford offense has to be better. If anybody is going to compete with Oregon in the Pac-12 North, it will be Stanford. The Cardinal host the Ducks on November 14th and that could be an interesting game with title implications if the Cardinal can get past a tough early conference schedule that includes a trip to USC and home games against Arizona and UCLA.

Projected Bowl: Foster Farms Bowl

2014 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 158.8 (70th in nation, 8th in conference)
Passing Offense: 229.8 (65, 10)
Total Offense: 388.6 (75, 11)
Scoring Offense: 27.2 (77, 11)
Rushing Defense: 104.5 (7, 1)
Pass Defense: 177.9 (8, 1)
Total Defense: 282.4 (3, 1)
Scoring Defense: 16.4 (2, 1)
Turnover Margin: -0.38 (95, 10)
Sacks: 3.54 (5, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 1.77 (42, 1)

Madness 2016 NFL Draft Rankings:
#88 Kyle Murphy
#90 Kevin Hogan

Madness 2015 Recruit Rankings:
#76 Trent Irwin
#127 Frank Buncom IV
#164 Cameron Scarlett
#189 Bryce Love


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