To prepare for today’s game we reached out to Jack Blanchat from SBnation’s Stanfrod blog, Rule of Tree.
1. This season has not gone well for you guys so far, how is the mood among the fan base? How do you feel going into this game?
Indeed it hasn’t - pretty much everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong. The fan base seems to be pretty irritated, and already resigned to a 6-6 season or worse. I’ve had multiple people tell me they’re worried this is the year Cal finally takes the Axe back. I’m not feeling super optimistic overall, but this might be a chance to right the ship at least a little bit this week.
2.Why have things gone so poorly so far?
The schedule hasn’t done Stanford any favors, but there have been some issues percolating for years that have also reared their ugly heads all at once. Northwestern, USC, UCF, and Oregon to open the season left no time to figure out kinks in the game, which made it really tough to sustain any success. Against USC, the defense totally imploded in the 2nd half, and the offense couldn’t finish drives with backup Davis Mills in at QB. Then having to hop on a plane and play at UCF was a recipe for disaster. 3,000 cross-country miles to play in hot muggy Orlando was not what the doctor ordered. Against Oregon, the defense showed up, but KJ Costello couldn’t sustain drives, and generally played poorly. Injuries have played a factor - KJ Costello sustaining two different injuries and left tackle Walker Little undergoing season-ending surgery have hurt - but weak recruiting classes, the departure of Stanford’s long-time strength coach, and the loss of some of Stanford’s best players from a year ago have proven almost impossible to overcome thus far.
3. What offensive players should OSU fans be aware of?
Backup QB Davis Mills will get the start, so that’s probably a good place to start. He was a very highly rated recruit coming out of high school from the Atlanta area, but sustained two different leg injuries and had to miss two years. Now he’s gotten his shot to play a lot in place of KJ this year (half of the Northwestern game, all of the USC game, this game). He has a really smooth throwing motion and the ball comes out easy, but he hasn’t been super efficient or accurate thus far. He’s the big question mark for the Cardinal this game.
4. What about defensive player?
Stanford’s best defensive player is cornerback Paulson Adebo, who played great against Northwestern, but got torched a few times vs UCF. He’s a legit lockdown corner, but Stanford was forced to put him without any help at all for a lot of the UCF game. The next best player is Casey Toohill, who has four sacks and a forced fumble to his credit this season. He plays outside linebacker, so expect to see him blitz quite a bit.
I’m definitely taking the points on Oregon State in this game. Stanford hasn’t looked like a good team all year, and going on the road again with the backup QB doesn’t seem like the likely place to throw down some kind of emphatic victory.
Thanks to Jack for taking the time to chat, if you wanna read more about today’s game from the Stanford perspective head over to Rule Of Tree.