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Inside the Pac--a look at the Stanford Cardinal for 2002
Defensively speaking, Stanford is up a tree
By: Malamute, 28 June 2002

Since the Stanford Cardinal returns just three players on defense, you could say that the Tree is up a tree for next season. On the brighter side, Stanford returns seven players from an offense that finished first in total offense (Pac-10) last season--and that includes returning quarterback Chris Lewis, a redshirt junior. 

Lewis has plenty of experience, having backed up oft-injured QB Randi Fasani in 2001; Lewis finished tenth in the league in total offense, while Fasani finished fifth in that category. Lewis, threw 163 times last season, completing 90  passes (55.3%). 

This upcoming season, Lewis will be throwing to 6-foot-7 Teyo Johnson (who was Pac-10 Co-Freshman of the Year last season) and to 5-8 Luke Powell, both of whom will provide Pac-10 cornerbacks with a flashback of a "Mutt and Jeff" cartoon, as part of the Fun 'N Gun offense. Not a laughing matter, Powell averaged 72 yards and Johnson 51, in yards per game as receivers last season.

In April, six Cardinal players were selected in the seven-round NFL draft: Randy Fasani, RB Brian Allen, OG Eric Heitmann, C Zach Quaccia, FS Tank Williams and ILB Coy Wire. Their loss leaves some gaps to fill; just three players who were among the leaders in Pac-10 statistical categories last season return to the Cardinal (Table 5).

Having another gap to fill after head coach Tyrone Willingham opted for Notre Dame, the Cardinal hired Buddy Teevens, pronounced Tee-vins, as its new head coach. Teevens, 45, an Ivy league graduate, will try to unravel the meaning of the Stanford mascot, the Tree. 

That aside, he spent the last three years with Steve Spurier at Florida, where he was the assistant offensive coordinator and tight ends coach last season. Prior to that he spent two years at Illinois as Offensive Coordinator. Teevens was a head coach for 12 seasons at Maine, Dartmouth and Tulane from 1985-96. He compiled an overall record of 50-76-2.

Along with the conundrum of their mascot, the Stanford spring game is somewhat of a mystery. Matched against the defense, the Cardinal offense won 54-33--which clearly shows that it is going to score a lot of points next season; likely the defense will give up a lot of points. Points were awarded for a number of glorious deeds, too numerous to describe, and somehow it figured in the scoring. The offense scored five touchdowns on the day.

Lewis was 2-for-18 for 176 yards and two touchdowns, and Teyo Johnson had six catches and two touchdowns. None of the defenders started in more than half of the games last season, and new defensive coordinator Tom Williams was quoted as saying, "I think we saw the inconsistencies of youth."

On defense, junior NT Matt Leonard is the strength up front. Williams is impressed with linebacker, redshirt freshman Michael Craven (three tackles), a highly regarded player out of La Quinta. "It's a tall order," Williams was quoted as saying, looking to replace the entire line-backing corp and three quarters of the secondary. Of that group, only safety Colin Branch returns. He played in 11 games last season and is credited with 28 tackles and 1 interception.

Incoming freshman David Beall, 6-foot-5, 295 pounds, should add some beef to the offensive line, as will newcomer Jon Cochran, 6-foot-6, 290. They'll augment an offensive line anchored by three starters from last season, Kirk Chambers (T), Greg Schindler (G), and Kwame Harris (T). Stanford finished first in rushing offense last season (Pac-10), and some big holes should open for running backs, Kerry Carter (senior), Kenneth Tolon (sophomore), and Justin Faust (junior). 

Senior fullback Casey Moore led all runners in the spring game, gaining 24 yards on 3 carries. Carter didn't play.

Punter Eric Johnson returns; he averaged 38.1 yards per punt last season. Unless it's Johnson, it's not clear who will replace Mike Biselli, Stanford's field-goal specialist from last season. Sophomore Michael Sgroi, listed as a place kicker on the roster, may try for the threes. 

Stanford recruited another outstanding quarterback to be in Trent Edwards, out of Los Gatos. He'll join the team in August. Incoming freshman David Lofton, son of NFL great James Lofton, is listed as a dual threat quarterback, but he could help out at a number of positions. 

All things considered, we give the Tree 28 power points, which are 13 points less than Washington, our current leader.  (See Table 8 below). This ranking is based on the information shown in the tables below, along with others not shown. Tied for second are UCLA and Washington State, each with  38 power points. The complete Pac-10 power point rankings, along with the data used to derive them, will be published at a later time. 

Table 1. On the upside

Upside Item Comment
QB Chris Lewis returns His experience gives the offense stability
Stanford has an 11-game season to keep its players relatively healthy. Most teams are playing 12 games, and some 13 (see Table 9). Stanford doesn't play Washington, our power point leader.
Seven offensive players return Last season, Stanford was number one in total offense (Pac-10).
WR Teyo Johnson is the real deal Was Co-Freshman of the Year in the Pac-10 last season.
Buddy Teevens played QB at Dartmouth and was  honorable-mention All America QB in 1978 Buddy will feel right at home in the Pac-10, a passing league. He has plenty of experience as an offensive coordinator.
Stanford will be more offensive minded in 2002 They won't be as conservative as they were last season.
Their mascot, the Tree, continues to confuse other teams in this league. Fortunately for the Huskies, who they don't play them, they won't be barking up the wrong Tree this year.

Table 2. On the downside

 

Downside Item Comment
The Tree have two road killers. Playing at Oregon and UCLA adds -2 to their power point ranking.
Buddy Teevens is new to this league and will need time to adjust. His Fun 'N Gun offense will need some time to play in Peoria, or maybe that should be Palo Alto. His losing record as a head coach happened years ago, so forget that stat.
Only three players return on defense New defensive coordinator Tom Williams has his work cut out.
Lewis will be backed up by redshirt sophomore Ryan Ecklund, 6-foot-7, out of Federal Way, WA. He was 5for 12 and 63 yards in the spring game but didn't throw a pass in a regular season game in 2001.
We give the Tree 28 power points, 13 behind the leader, Washington (See Table 8). "Scoreboard, baby," is what counts, according to AD. Power points are just for fun.
Key losses will hurt NFL bound Coy Wire, Tank Williams, Randy Fasani, Brian Allen, Zack Quaccia, and Eric Heitmann will be missed. 

Table 3. Returnees on offense
Player Pos. Eligible Yr Ht. Wt.
Ryan Wells WR Sr. * 6-0 195
Kirk Chambers LT Jr. 6-7 295
Greg Schindler RG SR. * 6-6 310
Kwame Harris RT Jr. 6-7 308
Brett Pierce TE Sr. * 6-6 245
Casey Moore FB Jr. * 6-2 240
Luke Powell  FL Jr. * 5-8 170
 

* Used redshirt year

Table 4. Returnees on defense

Player Pos. Eligible Yr Ht. Wt.
Matt Leonard DT Sr. * 6-4 290
Craig Albrecht NT Sr. * 6-4 290
Colin Branch SS Sr. * 6-0 205
 

* Used redshirt year.

Table 5. How key returnees, 2001, did in the Pac-10 

Player Category Pac Stat
Chris Lewis Total Offense 10 161/g
Luke Powell Receive/yds/g 7 71.8
Chris Lewis Pass Effic. 5 135.5
Eric Johnson Punting 9 38.1

Table 6. Tree's Offensive Statistics in Pac-10, 2001

Category Finish
Scoring Offense 1st
Pass Offense 4th
Turnover Margin 4th
Rushing Offense 1st
Total Offense 1st
Pass Efficiency 3rd
First Downs 3rd
Fourth-down conversions 8th
Red Zone Offense 6th
Third-down conversions 1st
Sacks Against 2nd
Time of Possession 1st
Average Finish 2.92


Table 7. Tree's Defensive Statistics in Pac-10, 2001

Statistic Finish
Scoring Defense 6th
Pass Defense 8th
Rushing Defense 1st
Total Defense 6th
Pass Efficiency Defense 6th
Opponent first downs 4th
Sacks By 9th
Opponent 4th down conversions 5th
Red Zone Defense 5th
Opponent 3rd down conversions 5th
Sacks Against 2nd
Average Finish 5.2

Table 8. Stanford's Power Point Ranking (points range from minus 3 to plus 5, relative to other Pac-10 teams). The complete rankings for all Pac-10 teams will be published later on. 

Item Pts
Coaching Staff  * 1
Home-field advantage % 3
Quarterbacks *** 4
Road Killers ** -2
Offensive Returnees & 4
Defensive Returnees & 1
2001 Offensive Rank & 5
2001 Defensive Rank & 3
2001 Top 25 Games # 4
Punting @ 3
Field goal kicking @ 2
Total 28

* New head coaches gets 1 in this league. After that it's based on won/lost record (or tenure) relative to other coaches in the league. As dean of Pac-10 head coaches, Mike Price (WSU) automatically gets 5 points. 

** Playing at either UCLA, Oregon or Washington is considered a road killer. Rivalry games played at their joints are not. Reser Stadium (OSU) is fast approaching road killer status. 

*** Seniors get 5 points; however, he has to have a capable backup--otherwise, it's 4.

# The number of top 25 teams (according to the last USA/Coaches Poll) played during the regular season. This helps normalize the 2001 offensive/defensive rankings, e.g., the hammering Washington took at number one Miami skewed its 2001 stats downward. 

% Based on its last five-seasons at home against Pac-10 opposition.

& Compared to other Pac-10 teams

@ Relative to other returning kickers in this league based on last season's stats.


Table 9. The Cardinal's 2002 Schedule

Date Opponent
September 7 At Boston College
September 14 San Jose State
September 28 At Arizona State
October 5 At Notre Dame
October 12 Washington State
October 19 Arizona
October 26 At UCLA
November 2 At Oregon
November 9 USC
November 16 Oregon State
November 23 at California

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