Sunday, September 23, 2007

Football vs Oregon 9/22/2007

Stanford 31 Oregon 55
This was the first game that the freshmen were in attendance and thanks to a clever ploy which gave them a free meal at the stadium, they showed up early and in full force. I cannot recall an orientation game that was this packed that early so kudos to Class '11 for their enthusiasm and the Orientation Coordinators for their planning.

One grouse of mine was the speaker system, or more appropriately, the lack of it. After spending that much money on a football stadium, surely we can have better speakers. It made it difficult to hear the yell leaders (not that it mattered much with their ill-timed cheers, especially when players were injured), the announcer for the 1st down chants which I think are going to be a disaster this year, and the field show commentator.

Speaking of the field show, the Europe Jim parody of Azia Kim was hilarious. It's too bad that most of the freshmen, who formed a majority of the people there, didn't get it. The drum major's Flintstones-themed wheelchair and crutches were a great touch too.

One thing I noticed was that the Oregon fans were deafeningly loud at times. I guess it's to be expected if you are willing to drive down all the way from Oregon to watch your football team play. Non-student Stanford fans in attendance also felt pretty low to me. Hopefully it'll improve after a year or two under Harbaugh.

Finally, I'm glad that our team continued to fight after going into an early hole. I'm pretty sure we would have given up last year. All in all, it was a respectable loss to the #13 team in the nation with an offense that no one has stopped. As a friend said, we made them take us seriously. Hopefully we can continue to improve (especially in the passing game), get Toby back and get our corners healthy. And oh yeah, Happy 21st Birthday, Albert.

We will not win many defense struggles this year, but at least the offense has a pulse. It doesn't really say much for last year's offense when you match your home output in one game against San Jose St. and almost match it again against Oregon.

As for the game, Oregon is probably the worst style matchup we'll face all year. USC is by far the best team, but John David Booty is not the running threat that Dennis Dixon is. I don't feel like we ever actually stopped their offense except for garbage time when they were running "Off Tackle Left" and "Off Tackle Right" for their entire offense. We respected the option so much that we played mostly zone on defense with big cushions for the wideouts. Bellotti and Co. countered this by dinking and dunking us to death. Flares to wideouts and the running backs were always there and Dixon took advantage. The only time we were really into the game was when they deviated from this plan and we recovered three fumbles in the 2nd quarter. In the second half they went back to the read option and flares and we see how that turned out.

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