Sept. 19, 2008
Each week during the season, KTRB 860 AM radio analyst and former Cardinal quarterback Todd Husak will offer insightful analysis and breakdown Stanford keys to victory against its opponent. This week, Todd takes a look at Saturday's Stanford-San Jose State game.
Stanford hung with Arizona State and TCU early on, but wore down as the game went on. If Stanford can come out and score early, the Cardinal would benefit from being able to run the ball and force San Jose State to throw it to play catch up. The Spartans racked up almost 300 yards on the ground against San Diego State last week, so the team that can score early has the advantage of leaning on the run game.
Get the Passing Game Going
Stanford has struggled to get anything from the passing game this season, and it has allowed TCU and Arizona State to focus on stopping Toby Gerhart and the explosive running attack. Stanford has to make teams respect the threat to go deep if Toby is to remain effective. The tight ends and running backs can be used more often and can create match-up problems for opposing defenses and Stanford needs to use them more.
Contain Kyle Reed
Reed rushed for three touchdowns last week and was very effective in the passing game (20-25). Stanford needs to get pressure on Reed and force him to make mistake throwing the ball, but the defensive front has to keep him contained in the pocket because Reed can be dangerous in the open field. Reed's three touchdowns against San Diego State were all inside the five yard line, so the Cardinal need to key on him in the red zone.
Mix Up the Defense
Stanford has speed at the LB position and Wopamo Osaisai is playing at a very high level. Stanford needs to use that to its advantage by mixing up some of the calls and use Osaisai more in a bump on run or man coverage assignment on David Richmond, the Spartans' best wide receiver. Also, the linebackers haven't had as big of an impact early in the season. Instead of straight blitzes, Stanford can loop Clinton Snyder and Pat Maynor to create confusion and beat blocking schemes.