STANFORD

 

QUARTERBACK - Trent Edwards. 2005 stats: 168-268, 1934 yards, 17 TDs, 7 INTs. Returning Starter.

Trent Edwards is the most experienced quarterback that the Irish will face in 2006, and also one of the best. He was having a very solid game against ND before being knocked out with an injury, which unfortunately was a trend for Edwards: injuries forced him out of the UC-Davis, Oregon State, and Cal games as well. When healthy, Edwards is a smart quarterback who can make long and short throws with ease. He should be a very strong leader for the Stanford offense in his final season in Palo Alto. Depth: Backing up Edwards is senior T.C. Ostrander, who ND fans might remember for his role in the scare at Stanford last year (11-15, 197 yards, 1 TD in relief of Edwards). With nearly 200 career pass attempts to his name, Ostrander is an excellent backup with experience and the skills that made him a 5-star recruit out of high school.

 

RUNNING BACK - Anthony Kimble. 2005 stats: 66 carries, 244 yards, 2 TDs. Returning starter.

Anthony Kimble was moved from wide receiver to running back prior to the 2005 season and started the first 6 games of the season for the Cardinal. But then he was injured and lost his starting spot to J.R. Lemon. Kimble's 3.7 yards per carry average isn't very good, but it was good enough to be the best average out of all of Stanford's running backs. Kimble also added 14 receptions and 2 touchdowns catching the ball out of the backfield, which isn't a surprise given his former position at wide receiver. Depth: Jason Evans was Stanford's leading rusher last year, even though he only managed the same number of yards as Travis Thomas (248). The Cardinal were awful at running the ball and rotated carries between a number of running backs, which kept everyone's numbers low. Despite being the leading rusher, Evans never started a game and didn't get a carry in the Notre Dame game. Depth: Running back depth isn't really there, although freshman Toby Gerhart owns the California high school career rushing record. Starting fullback Nick Frank is back for another year and provides a decent short yardage runner when he is used. He also is able to flare out and catches passes, as he had 17 receptions last year. Behind him is all-everything high school recruit Emeka Nnoli.

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

Mark Bradford.
37 receptions, 609 yards, 6 TDs. Returning starter.
Evan Moore. 1 reception, 22 yards, 1 TD. Returning starter.

Mark Bradford (left) has been a bright spot on the Stanford Cardinal the past few years and this year should be no different. A nice sized target at 6-2, Bradford will be a leader on offense for Stanford and a quality opponent for the Irish defenders. Evan Moore has power forward height at 6-7 but must recover fully from a hip injury that knocked him out for the season last year in the Cardinal opener. If he's back, he'll be another quality receiver and a very dangerous red zone weapon. Depth: There really isn't much depth on the team behind Bradford and Moore. Marcus McCutcheon is the only other receiver on the team with a collegiate reception and he only has 3 to his name. One-time running back Michael Miller and walk-ons Charlie Hazlehurt and Kelton Lynn will look to round out the depth chart. Freshman Richard Serman has size at 6-3 and a track background that could translate into early playing time if none of the other receivers step up in fall camp.

 

TIGHT END

 Matt Traverso.
19 receptions, 223 yards, 1 TD. Returning starter.

Matt Traverso was suspended from the program for the spring semester, but should be back with the team in the fall and regain his starting spot in the offense. A well-rounded TE, Traverso will be a positive force both blocking and receiving for the Cardinal. Depth: Patrick Danahy came out of the spring practices as the starter and the career backup might get to see more playing time in his final year at Stanford. Jim Dray is the inexperienced sophomore that has many Stanford fans hopeful for the future. He could very well be the top TE target by the ND game.

OFFENSIVE LINE

 

LT - Allen Smith. Returning starter.
LG - Josiah Vinson. (#57 - G) Returning starter.
C - Tim Mattran. Returning starter.
RG - Alex Fletcher. (#17 - G) Returning starter.
RT - Jeff Edwards. Returning starter.

The Stanford line has plenty of experience, but these same group of players gave up an awful lot of sacks last year, including seven to Notre Dame. An additional year of weight lifting and experience will help, but the group overall isn't as dangerous as they might look. One-time ND recruit Allen Smith has potential to be a very good college player entering his first full year as a returning starter. Jeff Edwards was the other starter at left tackle last year with Smith, but now will take his 26 career starts over to the right tackle spot. Alex Fletcher (right) was the one of the best centers coming out of high school, and provides the ability to play guard or center. Depth: Jon Cochran started 7 games at right tackle last year and 11 games at left tackle in 2004, but was beaten out for a starting spot by the end of last season. Another backup with over 20 career starts, Ismail Simpson (#58 G) should push Vinson for the starting left guard position while Mikal Brewer returns as a servicable backup at center or guard.

 

DEFENSIVE LINE

Pannel Egboh.
15 tackles, 1 sack, 2.5 TFL, 2 PBU. New starter.
Ekom Udofia. New starter.
Matt Kopa. New starter.

Stanford is now running a 3-4 defense which features one nose tackle and two defensive ends. Manning the middle is the player with the most potential, Ekom Udofia. A very highly regarded recruit, the redshirt freshman will see his first playing time as a starter and expectations are sky-high for the athletic 6-2 303 pounder. Pannel Egboh has a great chance at starting which is impressive considering he broke his leg last season and was forced to miss all of spring practice. If he's all the way back from the injury, he'll give the Cardinal a solid pass rusher. Sophomore Matt Kopa is a big end at 270 pounds, but in the 3-4 the ends usually are a bit bigger. Solid against the run, Kopa is also quick enough to cause some trouble rushing the passer. Depth: Gustav Rydstedt has high expectations as he continues to develop as a defensive lineman. The junior is very athletic and posssibly could play himself into the starting lineup or at least a large number of snaps by the ND game. Chris Horn will compete with Kopa for one of the starting end spots and give the Cardinal another big end at 270 pounds. Backing up Udofia will be true freshman Sione Fua, a very solid 300 pounder. Behind Fua is redshirt junior Mike Macellari and redshirt freshman James McGillicuddy, another youngster with promise.

 

LINEBACKERS

OLB - Udeme Udofia.
36 tackles, 1 sack, 4 TFL, 1 INT, 1 FF. Returning starter.
ILB - Michael Okwo. 34 tackles, 2 sacks, 5.5 TFL, 1 INT, 2 PBU. Returning starter.
ILB - Mike Silva. 57 tackles, 1 sack, 2.5 TFL, 1 INT, 1 PBU, 1 FF. Returning starter.
OLB - Clinton Synder. New starter.

Stanford has a number of experience linebackers returning but also might fight off the injury bug. Starting inside linebacker Michael Okwo broke his thumb and will miss time early in the season, though he should be back in the starting lineup for the ND game. He was also injured last season and though he played in 10 of 11 games, only started in 3. Mike Silva is the other inside linebacker in the Cardinal's 3-4 defense and is the leading returning tackler of the linebackers after starting the final 8 games at the inside linebacker position. If needed, he's fast enough to play on the outside. Udeme Udofia is a physical presence at 6-4, 240 pounds and when the Cardinal switch to a 4-3 is the likely choice to move to defensive end. Clinton Synder is the new starter of the bunch and even though the redshirt freshman has yet to play a snap in college, the coaching staff are already talking him up as a future star. Depth: With Okwo out for at least the opener, Pat Maynor is going to get the starting nod. Maynor has a special teams contributor last season and now finds himself with the potential for a lot of playing time. Backing up Maynor is freshman Nick Macalsuo. Peter Griffin played strong safety for the past three years but now is the backup behind Synder on the outside.

 

DEFENSIVE BACKS

CB- Brandon Harrison. 67 tackles, 2 TFL, 3 INT, 4 PBU, 1 FF. Returning starter.
CB - Nick Sanchez. 71 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 2 INT, 4 PBU, 2 FR, 2 FF. Returning starter.
FS - Trevor Hooper. 40 tackles, 4 PBU, 1 FF. Returning starter.
SS - David Lofton. 35 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PBU. New starter.

The Cardinal return a veteran unit of sorts, although a few players have moved positions. Brandon Harrison has started the past two years at strong safety but now moves over to the corner position. Harrison is a solid, veteran player, but the transition from safety to corner sometimes takes a few games. Nick Sanchez is another veteran who started every game at corner last year. He was 2nd on the team in tackles, but it's not always a good thing when a corner has so many tackles. Sometimes it can mean he's spending his time tackling the receiver who just beat him for the reception. Free safety Trevor Hooper has 17 career starts under his belt, although 11 of them came in 2003 as a strong safety. Last year battled through some injuries before starting the final five games at free safety. David Lofton started five games last year at free safety when Hooper was down with his injury and now Lofton will slide over to strong safety and take over the starting role. At 6-4, 220 pounds, he has the size to be very effective against the run. Depth: Tim Sims is listed as a co-starter for the Cardinal at cornerback with Nick Sanchez. Sims has had very limited playing time as a career backup but if he's pushing Sanchez he must be improving as a player. Junior Wopamo Osaisai had a very strong fall camp and is arguably the fastest player on the Stanford team. As he gains experience at the corner position, he could see more and more playing time.