Stanford Cardinal 2012

Stanford Cardinal 2011 Statistics

(Pac-12) The Cardinal play at Stanford Stadium (seats 50,260)

  • David Shaw is in his 2nd year as head coach at Stanford. The Stanford alumnus and Stanford Offensive coordinator for four seasons led them to an 11-2 record in his first season as a head coach.  The fact that he provided consistency allowed them to continue their same incredible offensive production that they had in 2010.
  • The main consistent element was quarterback Andrew Luck. Luck compleetd over 71% of his passes, for over 3500 yards, 37 TDs (and just 10 INTs).  He finished 2nd in the Heisman voting for the 2nd year in a row, leaves as the school’s #2 all-time leading passer (just a smidge ahead of John Elway), is the school’s all-time winningest QB, and was the 1st overall pick in April’s NFL Draft.    That consistency may be very critical in helping the offense this season.
  • Even with the loss of three starters on their offensive line last year (they went from having three 5th-year seniors and one of the most experienced lines in the country), they continued to protect the quarterback and pave the way for the running game. Of course the two starters they did return last year were 1st and 2nd round NFL Draft picks, David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin, respectively.  Not to take away anything from the group the year before, but none of them were NFL Draft prospects so while their experience was unsurpassed, their talent wasn’t as strong.  This year, they are considerably less experienced and have to replace two NFL-ready players.  With the loss of Luck at QB, this unit is going to have a really hard time keeping the sack numbers anywhere near what they had been.  And without the threat of the passing game, the running game will become more of a target for defenses as well. Especially because this team also loses the top three receivers from last year.

RB Stepfan Taylor

  • But the running backs all return, including starter Stepfan Taylor who had 1330 yards and 10 touchdowns last year.
  • Stanford’s defense returns 7 starters.  The Defensive Linemen and Linebackers are in great shape with the return of three of their top four tacklers from 2011.  Their rushing defense last year allowed just 84 yards per game and was ranked 3rd in the nation.
  • Passing defense, on the other hand, gave up over 250 yards per game (ranked 95th) and this was the most experienced part of their defense last year.  Statistically, passing defense was really the only “bad” category for Stanford last year.  It culminated with a bowl loss to Oklahoma State where this unit gave up 400 yards through the air.  This year just one starter is back in the secondary and there should be a lot of passing against this team once again.
  • There are some big questions in the Pac-12 this year with UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State all having new head coaches as well as seeing if Cal and Washington are going to pull things together under their current head coaches.  The toughest games for Stanford will be USC, at Notre Dame and probably at Oregon (depending how their new QB does), but other than that, the rest of these games could go either way, even with a much, much less talented Stanford team.