Preview 2018: Stanford Cardinal. Love (And Shaw) Will Find A Way

Preview 2018: Stanford Cardinal. Love (And Shaw) Will Find A Way

2018 Preview

Preview 2018: Stanford Cardinal. Love (And Shaw) Will Find A Way

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What You Need To Know About The Stanford Offense

Even with one of the most dynamic players in college football, the Cardinal offense was still the tenth-best in the Pac-12 and struggled to score enough on a consistent basis. But now, the running game might be even better and might handle even more of the heavy lifting.

Of course, Bryce Love is fantastic – with the upside to blow past the 2,000-yard mark again if he can stay healthy, but he won’t have to do it all alone. The idea will be to keep him fresh and in one piece, and that won’t be a problem with next-star-back-up Cameron Scarlett ready to handle way more work. The best part? The offensive line should be even better.

The Cardinal led the Pac-12 in the fewest sacks allowed, and was great for the ground game that averaged over 200 yards per carry – someone had to pave the way for Love.

A few starters might be gone, but years of terrific recruiting has restocked the shelves around Nate Herbig at one guard spot and Devery Hamilton at one tackle job. Walker Little is back along with A.T. Hall, and with former super-recruit Foster Sarell too talented not to see a bigger role.

– The passing game was way too inconsistent. The program of Elway, and Luck, and Plunkett struggled, with the 11th-best passing attack in the Pac-12. That can be forgiven considering the running game took over the offense, but hitting 57% of the passes isn’t okay. Keller Chryst is now off to dink-and-dunk for the Tennessee Volunteers, and KJ Costello is trying to get over a hip problem to be ready in time for the season.

Star recruit Tanner McKee will be the team’s best passer, but the Cardinal will have to wait for a few years until he’s back from a church mission. Jack Richardson is an okay backup, but the season is made or broken on what Costello can do. Fortunately …

– The receiving corps will do its part. Leading receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside has the 6-3, 222-pound size and all-star skills to be a true No. 1 guy. Trenton Irwin is back after finishing second on the team in receptions, and Connor Wedington has the upside to become something special. And, as always, the Cardinal are loaded at tight end, starting with future NFL starter Kaden Smith along with a few other matchup nightmares.

Biggest Key To The Stanford Offense

Costello has to hit his throws. It’s not okay for Stanford’s passing game to connect on just 57% of its passes. The mistakes weren’t there with just eight picks on the year – but losing the two games when the O gave up two – but it was too much of a problem simply completing enough passes. Stanford was under 55% six times, and under 50% four times. With the talent back and the focus on the running game, the attack has to be over 60% without breathing hard.

NEXT: Defense Breakdown, Top Players, Final Prediction & What Will Happen

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