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Stanford Cardinal 2010-2011 Season Preview

2009 Total Offense Rank (yards per game): 19
2009 Total Defense Rank (yards per game): 90

The Stanford Cardinal had a nice 2009 season, finishing with eight wins and tying for second in the PAC-10 conference. A close loss in the Sun Bowl ended the season on a sour note, but not as sour as losing star running back Toby Gerhart to the NFL. Stanford will have to overcome his loss to make it back to a bowl game.

With Gerhart gone, the onus for offensive production falls on quarterback Andrew Luck. As a redshirt freshman, he played extremely well in throwing for 2,575 yards, 13 touchdowns and only four interceptions. Now that he has more experience, he should be prepared to build on his early success.

The offensive line should do a good job of protecting Luck, as four highly regarded starters return. In addition, his top two receivers are back after combining for 94 catches and 1,608 yards. Ryan Whalen is the number one receiver, but Chris Owuso is a more dangerous deep threat when he actually catches the ball.

Stanford Cardinal Cheerleader

The running game will fall onto a group of rushers to take over for Gerhart. Stepfan Taylor was the primary backup last season, but rushed for only 303 yards. Senior Jeremy Stewart will also see a lot of playing time after playing in only five games last year. Both of these backs had low yardage totals, but had very high yards per carry averages, so they can produce when given the opportunity.

The defense will be more problematic for Stanford in 2010, as it has been in the past. A shift to a 3-4 system was done due to a lack of depth on the line. Sione Fua will man the nose tackle spot, but both starting defensive ends from last year are moving back to outside linebacker. One of the inside linebacker spots will be played by Owen Marecic, the starting fullback. The secondary has a lot of question marks, with only strong safety Delano Howell firmly entrenched in his position.

Stanford has talent on both sides of the ball, but in both cases, has very little depth. If the starters get injured or don’t perform, the Cardinal could fall back in the PAC-10.

Stanford’s odds to win the PAC 10 : + 650

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