They also aren't involving the TEs in the passing game. Honestly, if Kaumatule is going to be such a non-factor as a receiver, may as well move him back to DE. I've seen several true Frosh TEs playing this year (Henry at Ark, Butt at Mich, Mundt at Ore, and Duarte at UCLA) and for the life of me can't understand how Hooper can't get on the field, or even Dudchock for that matter. Barry Sanders is a difference making talent, yet he doesn't get hardly any chances. If the playbook is so complicated that you can't get the best talents playing, the playbook is too complicated. Maybe a less complicated playbook would allow for shorter play calls, fewer late snaps, delays and wasted timeouts too.
And again, the greatest irony is that the one time being predictable seemed justified, on 3rd and 4th and 2, from the Utah 6 with a minute to go, trailing by 6, they go away from their methodical, iron willed identity, with a RB averaging 7YPC in the game. Utah seemed exhausted against the run and was likely thanking Stanford for throwing. Maybe had Shaw not let up for large portions of the game against SJSU, Army, ASU, and UW, the team wouldn't have needed a last minute TD to avoid defeat at Utah.
Rewatched the final set of downs as painful as it was and a few things stood out.
First down, pick up 6 yards doing nothing special, just good push from o-line. Do it again, I say!
Second down, run some kind of reverse bootleg but Hewitt goes with Hogan as a receiver but Hewitt is covered. Hogan's bootleg path takes him 8 yards into the backfield before he finally turns it up for 2 yards. Reminds me a bit of the 3rd and 1 play against Washington again where Hogan runs away from the line of scrimmage. Just don't like that play that much, but okay fine.
Third down, Hopkins is the TE and runs a corner type route. From the end zone cam, you can see there is one safety back in the area. The route he is running will take him behind the safety, but he keeps running right into the coverage, and gets covered up by the safety. I think Hogan expects him to, and maybe a more experienced route runner does this, settle into the open area a bit because he would have been wide open if he just runs straight up the field. Hogan zings it in his direction and it is well behind Hopkins because Hopkins is running away from it and into coverage. But I think this may have been on Hopkins rather than Hogan. If we had a natural pass-catching TE, maybe this works. Ertz was Hogan's go-to-guy last year, and we don't have anything remotely close to that this year. Our TE's this year are getting about as much usage as an "I'm under 18, Exit" button at the entrance to an adult website, and this is killing our offense.
Fourth down, pressure is immediately in Hogan's face which blows up the play from an untouched blitzing linebacker, but rather than at least keep the ball in play, he somehow panics (or flaps as 76lsjumb wrote in another thread) and sails a truly uncatchable ball through the back of the end zone. "Do anything but that", I'm screaming at the TV. Maybe if he puts it in play, Cajuste can make a play or get a pass interference call, but alas, game over. The route design also seems questionable because Kaumatule and Cajuste run right to the same area bringing their two defenders with them, and not sure that this play works anyway.
Even the prior TD in the red zone in the fourth quarter was not pretty either, running 2 straight fade routes to Cajuste who really has to make a remarkable catch on the sideline to bring us within 6.
I agree with JPRI, we never would have heard the end of it if Shaw ran 4 straight run plays, but with the push we were getting, it's hard NOT to second guess that. It's not like we were running against UFDFG with 2 first round NFL DT's or even Will Sutton at ASU. We got too cute for our own good there at the end.
Another aside: our deep passing game this year has made some big plays, but has also shown that Hogan's pocket presence is a bit lacking. Whereas Luck had this amazing ability to slide away from pressure, Hogan seems to be staring downfield, and doesn't quite see where the pressure is coming from, sometimes drifting right into it as the play is waiting to develop. I think that may be why he seemed more decisive last year, because if the intermediate TE routes weren't there, he just tucked it and ran.