Our Stanford Cardinal Preview 2019 notes that this team has a grueling schedule. Plus, we find this Stanford Cardinal football team is uneven in terms of talent. In 2018, Stanford finished third in the Pac-12 North with a 6-3 record. Through the entire regular season, the Cardinal club was 8-4. After starting off with four-straight wins, Stanford went to Notre Dame and lost 17-38. Over their next four games, they were 1-3, losing to Utah, Washington State, and Washington. After winning their final three contests, the Cardinal went to the Sun Bowl, beating Pittsburgh 14-13.
Last season, this team was 25th in passing yards with 273.1 PG and 122nd in rushing yards with 107.9 PG. Total offensive yardage per game came to 381.0 (85th). The team’s 28.4 PPG ranked them 72nd. The defense performed well against the rush, holding teams to 146.1 YPG (45th). However, they had a difficult time stopping opponent air attacks, as they allowed 264.0 YPG (114th). Stanford allowed 410.1 YPG total (78th) and an average of 22.9 PPG (T-37th).
Stanford Cardinal Preview 2019 – Offense
In 2018, QB K.J. Costello (65.1% COMP%, 29 TDs, 11 INTs) threw for 3,540 yards. He’s back, but unfortunately, Costello’s three top receivers are not. Those pass catchers combined for 2,379 yards and 18 TDs. However, the Stanford quarterback does have talent to work with, including junior TE Colby Parkinson (29 REC, 16.7 AVG, 7 TDs). It’s thought that sophomore WR Osiris St. Brown (8 REC, 25.5 AVG, 1 TDs) is poised to have a breakout season. Plus, we expect red-shirted freshman Simi Fehoko, who has fantastic potential, to play. The O-line comes to 2019 with less experience, but there’s fine talent. This Stanford Cardinal Preview observes that they should benefit the rush attack. The ground game will be manned by senior Cameron Scarlett (330 YDs, 4.2 AVG, 8 TDs) and junior Trevor Speights (221 YDs, 3.7 AVG, 1 TD). Both are ready to expand on last year’s stats.
Defense and Special Teams
This Stanford Cardinal Preview 2019 finds that there’s a lot of talent on the D-line. Two-of-three return, including NT Michael Williams (42 TKLs, 1 SCK, 1 TFL). DT Jovan Swann (28 TKLs, 4.5 SCKs, 3.5 TFL) was solid last season, as was then freshman Thomas Booker (28 TKLs, 3.5 SCKs, 0.5 TFL). These three should play as a complete, cohesive unit. The LB group, which includes OLB Jordan Fox (61 TKLs, 4.5 SCKs, 5 TFL), is tough and seasoned. Along with his other stats, Fox posted six QBHs last season. He’s one of those players who’s anywhere and everywhere. Junior corner Paulson Adebo (64 TKLs, 20 PBU, 4 INTs) is back. In 2018, Adebo, who was second-team All-American, played exceptional D. He leads a solid D-back unit.
Quality punter Jake Bailey (68 Punts, 44.1 YPP 24 In20) will be replaced by freshman Ryan Sanborn. Returning is junior PK Jet Toner (34-34 XP, 14-15 FG). He is accurate and reliable. On kick returns last season, Scarlett (24 RT, 25.6 AVG, 0 TDs) did a fine job. We expect Michael Wilson (8 RT, 8.1 AVG, 0 TDs) to be the primary punter returner.
Coaching and Recruitment
David Shaw (82-26 Stanford and Overall) has done a fine job as head coach. In eight seasons, he’s guided this team to five 10-plus-win seasons and eight bowl appearances where the Cardinal has gone 5-3. His been the Pac-12 Coach of the Year four times. Shaw, who was an NFL offensive assistant coach for a decade served as Stanford’s OC for four seasons under Jim Harbaugh. Tavita Pritchard, former Stanford QB, was a Stanford assistant for eight years and became offensive coordinator last year. He is back. Lance Anderson returns for his fifth year as DC. Of the 23 new Stanford players, our Stanford Cardinal Preview 2019 notes that eight are four-star and 14 three-star recruits. It a sound new class.
Our Stanford Cardinal Preview 2019 – Final Word
Our Stanford Cardinal Preview 2019 observes that this team starts its season with four tough games. They open at home versus Northwestern and then travel the next two weeks to play USC and USF. Then it’s back home on September 21 to host Oregon. Also on the schedule is Washington, Washington State, and Notre Dame. If this team can come through the first four weeks with a minimum of two wins, they’ll have a shot at the top spot in the North. But one of those wins has to be against the Ducks and the other against USC.