After a staggering opener against hometown rivals San Jose State, the Cardinal offense seems to reside in an overall “state” of confusion. Without the decisiveness, and unparalleled play-making ability of the recently departed Andrew Luck, (first-overall draft pick and two-time Heisman Trophy contending quarterback ) the Cardinal will need will need to reinvigorate their struggling pass offense if they want to remain in the discussion.
By result of last week’s near loss, to a presumably lesser threat; San Jose, Stanford finds itself itself not only wavering in terms of BCS standings, (falling from No.21 to No.25) but also remains questionable in terms of clinching even a noteworthy bowl game. Last year, Stanford was regarded as being second-most favorable in the division; falling just shy of Pac-12 powerhouse Oregon. I wouldn’t count them out, but I most certainly wouldn’t look forward to the success and expectations of last year by any stretch of the imagination.
This year, in addition to Luck’s departure, they had three others drafted in the top 42 picks; leaving many notable vacancies on both ends of the ball — right guard David DeCastro, tight end Coby Fleener, and left tackle Jonathan Martin — plus starting wide receivers Chris Owusu and Griff Whalen and starting safeties Delano Howell and Michael Thomas, among others.
Ten true freshmen played and 17 total made their collegiate debut again San Jose State. Though, Stanford head coach David Shaw expresses confidence in the abilities of Luck’s successor Josh Nunes, it is indisputable that without the anchorage of Luck’s self-assured play-calling ability, this young and newly assigned offense will continue to struggle.
However, Stanford has been traditionally, a “run-first” offense. If Nunes utilize weapons at his disposal, meanwhile the defense can eliminate a disfavorable scoring defecit, there remains a glimmer of home for Stanford’s overall placement in the grand BCS scheme. Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor gained 116 yards on 26 carries with one score a week ago, and Middle linebacker and prominent defensive threat Shayne Skov also returns this week after tearing ligaments in his left knee in the third game at Arizona and was succinctly disabled for the rest of last season.
In spite of some positive feedback from coach Shaw,
“I was very proud of him, he never flinched all game. He played like the senior that he was. I was very pleased with his performance.”
Nunes has big shoes to fill, and figuratively, the Cardinal may need more than “luck” on their side if he fails to perform. The success of the season hangs in the balance of Nunes’ ability to execute, and connect with explosive running threats, rather than relying on the long-ball and clutch plays that were provided by Luck.
Stanford prepares for their Home Opener against Duke, Saturday 10:30 EST at Stanford Stadium.