Posted on September 9, 2022
I had most ideas of my USC-Stanford preview settled in my thoughts after I glanced at a headline with the stunning information that Andrew Luck was returning to Stanford.
“That’s not authorized,” I stated out loud to my laptop. “They’ll’t portal retired NFL gamers!”
However earlier than I acquired that hook caught in my mouth and went in regards to the chore of rewriting, I assumed it could be greatest to click on on the story.
You by no means know what misdirection sits behind a headline. Positive sufficient, Luck isn’t coming again to play soccer, simply persevering with his graduate research.
Not that it could have made a distinction, perhaps even when Luck was a university child. This Stanford crew has few strengths and extra query marks than the Riddler’s wardrobe.
It can sound surreal to recommend that head coach David Shaw’s 2022 mannequin will solely go so far as the arm of red-shirt sophomore quarterback Tanner McKee will take it.
Gone are the times when the rugged Cardinal protection made opposing offenses sweat for each inch.
Their highly effective working sport has all however disappeared. Shaw has seen his once-Prime 10 program change into misplaced in a forest of evergreens, and he’s desperately trying to find clearance main residence.
Any options include qualifiers. For instance, all 5 starters on the offensive line return, normally nice information for any program. However final yr this group completed 126th nationally in speeding yards.
An terrible lot of enchancment in a brief time frame has to happen if Stanford is to problem for a Convention title in 2022.
To make issues bleaker—one thing I actually don’t have the benefit of—their protection is coming off an equally horrible season during which they have been fourth-worst within the nation stopping the run.
DC Lance Anderson will implement a 4-3 base, dumping the 3-4 alignment the Cardinal have employed since 2010. It’ll be extra of a gap-shooting assault and doubtless fits their personnel greatest.
Final week, Colgate ran successfully towards this new defensive configuration of their 41-10 loss.
Their 159 yards on the bottom stored them from embarrassment, which you’d anticipate Stanford able to administering.
If Colgate might have executed within the passing sport in any respect, they could have made it considerably fascinating.
“It’s not the largest group bodily,” Anderson stated in regards to the D-line throughout spring. “We simply need these guys to play quick. We wish to get off the ball. We wish to get within the backfield. We wish to be disruptive.”
Fairly a flip from lining up and daring you to run proper at them as prior to now. The Trojans will probably be blissful to run towards this undersized entrance.
Working again switch Austin Jones shall be anxious to indicate his former crew what he can do in his new offense and bounce again from a disappointing stint on the Farm . . . or in The Tree.
Tanner McKee’s distinctive freshman yr has vaulted him into one of many high quarterbacks within the Convention. Stanford is fairly good at receiver too.
Elijah Higgins returns from harm along with his team-high 45 receptions in 2021. Michael Wilson was an all-Pac-12 honorable point out in 2020. Each present invaluable senior management.
The Trojan athletic secondary could have its struggles. Overlaying receivers towards McKee and protecting them towards Rice quarterbacks are completely different pursuits.
Getting sufficient quarterback pressures is a precedence and if completed, ought to hold McKee in examine more often than not.
There are simply too many inadequacies for Stanford to beat. What the Cardinal have normally executed effectively since Shaw’s tenure started is run the soccer and depend on play-action for large performs.
They aren’t used to relying on quarterbacks to win video games. It wasn’t profitable final yr. I don’t suppose it’ll be this yr both, even factoring in returning wholesome our bodies and McKee’s continued growth.
The arrival of transfer-mania has made developing a soccer crew simpler than ever, although with each new endeavor, difficulties come up.
I imply, it’s not like coaches can dial 1-800-NEW-STUD and Amazon will ship gamers to the doorstep in two or three working days.
Due to this fact, it’s simpler to plug leaky cracks within the basis than ever. Citing youth or accidents as excuses for poor efficiency is simply lame. And lazy.
We see indicators in gyms in all places now that say, “Nobody cares.”
I do know I don’t care. How’s your depth? That’s what groups ought to care about. If it’s lower than snuff, then do higher.
All that is to say that Shaw hasn’t been shy about strolling down the excuse path prior to now. He made imprecise reference to it once more lately.
“There’s a purpose why they name it rising pains as a result of typically it hurts,” he stated. “We had some rising pains final yr. However I believe what that taught us actually is what we do effectively, and what we don’t do effectively.”
I don’t see Stanford’s protection placing up a lot resistance to Caleb and Firm.
SC’s greatest shot defensively is to make Stanford one-dimensional with a complicated equipment of run blitzes designed to close down the run and flush McKee out of the pocket.
McKee gained’t remind anybody of Dan Marino, or Michael Vick for that matter, however like Dan the Man, he’s far simpler posing as a statue between the tackles with sufficient time for a bagel and cream cheese earlier than delivering the ball.
Come to think about it, each single quarterback that’s performed the sport is extra comfy and efficient when allowed to function as a statue, bagel and cream cheese or not. Besides perhaps Fran Tarkington.
It’ll be extra decisive than the ultimate rating will point out. The Trojan offense will dash, and the Cardinal offense gained’t be capable to hold tempo.
Count on a rubbish landing and a half-empty Stanford Stadium on the finish. Who names stadiums after their faculty at the moment anyway?
Let’s go Nationwide Tree Firm—reduce a take care of Stanford College and promote your faux Christmas timber! Nationwide Tree Firm Stadium. Sounds good to me.
The extra promoting income ought to afford Shaw just a few extra 4-star and even 5-star gamers.
And please get a brand new mascot.
Your drug retailer Sew & Glue tree costume (Elmer’s glue included), is an affront to nature.
Ultimate rating: USC 45, Stanford 31.
—Extra from Mik Dietlin—
- Dietlin: New and Improved 2022 Trojans Off and Working
- Dietlin: As soon as-Powerful Rice No Match for Lincoln Riley’s USC
- Dietlin: 2022 Trojans Best Experiment in CFB Historical past
- Dietlin: Trojans not Exempt from Recruiting Nervousness
- Dietlin: Pac-12 Probably Doomed With out L.A. Gravy-Prepare
- Dietlin: Title Sport Rule Change Welcome, however Not Sufficient
- Dietlin: Solely Two HC Candidates are Worthy of USC
- Dietlin: Toughness There, However Spark Missing for USC
- Mik Dietlin’s Pac-12 ‘State of the Union’ Deal with
- Dietlin: USC Drowning in Darkish Enjoyable Worthy of Poe
- Dietlin: Pac-12 Networks Nightmare Worse than SC’s
- Dietlin: 5 Actually Totally different USC Coach Candidates
- Dietlin: Disinfect USC of All Traces of Clay Helton
- Dietlin: Change Fortuitous for Energized Trojans
- Dietlin: Helton is a ‘Good Man,’ however Be Glad He’s Gone
- Dietlin: Torture and the Freak Present Return for USC
- Dietlin: Even in victory, Clay Helton appears misguided
- Dietlin: Casual Alliance as Silly as it’s Toothless
- Dietlin: Preseason Angst the Norm for SC Followers, Media
- Dietlin: Why Covid Can’t Hold Us Away from CFB
- Dietlin: No matter Adjustments, Grandpa ESPN Nonetheless Wins
- Dietlin: ASU Might Want Magick to Keep away from NCAA Iceberg
- Dietlin: Is Reggie Bush Nonetheless the Judas of School Soccer?
- Dietlin: 12-Workforce CFP Extra Proof the World has Gone Loopy
- Dietlin: A Russian Hacker, USF, and Why the Irish are Postseason Losers
- Dietlin: The Greatness of ‘The 4 Horsemen’ is Lengthy Gone for Notre Dame
- What occurs when a rogue USC author decides to cowl Notre Dame?
- Dietlin Mailbag: The Destiny of ‘The Cat,’ USC’s Oregon Drawback & NCAA Hypocrisy
- The Soccer Gods are Indignant, however Pac-12 did Proper Factor
- Dietlin: We Know CFB will Occur & We Comprehend it Shouldn’t