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New show is up....along with postgame from David Shaw, Thomas Booker, and Ben Yurosek, we dive into the big plays Arizona State made and the little plays Stanford did not. Plus, 3 Things you need to know from the game, where the Card's running game went, and a tale of two halves for the defense (again). Oh by the way...we're at the halfway mark of the season...what's still ahead?

Download, listen, share, and enjoy. (well, as much as a show after a loss can be enjoyed, but you know what I mean!)

Troy C

The TreeCast with Troy Clardy: Devils Win The Details (October 9, 2021)
Hi Troy,
     Great show, as always. Lots of good information. I was really intrigued with Coach Shaw's explanation of our lack of a run game. Basically, he said ASU was playing single safety high stop the run all game, so we elected to pass against that defense. While that argument makes sense, back in 2016 thru 2018 basically everybody played us that way too. We would run right at their stacked box, with varying degrees of success. The Cardboard would go mad with criticism for that approach. Shaw would argue that gave us the best chance to  win (and he probably was mostly correct IMHO).
       It would seem that now he has changed his approach and believes we are a better passing team that running team. I think if he indeed believes this is the case, he is correct. I think we have serious run blocking issues on our OL and our backs, while talented, can't move the pile. What are your thoughts on this issue? As I see it, right now what ASU did is a recipe to beat us. Without Wilson (or Fehoko if you will), we don't have anyone that the opposing defense is afraid will beat them deep. We have some really good route runners who are big and will catch the ball. However, to go 80 yards we have to be very efficient. We can't rely on converting 3rd and long all the time. Thus we get yards but not points. Our drives end with a mistake (or two). Stanford has for years played defense utilizing the fact most college teams can't sustain long drives because they make too many mistakes. Bend but don't break. Our pass offense is now the poster boy for why that works.
Good analysis, Goose. I thought I read somewhere that Higgins ran under 4.5. We haven't shown many deep (if any) patterns for him, maybe because the OL doesn't hold up long enuf. Need to make a couple to loosen up the DB. I think Higgins is very good btw.
(10-10-2021, 02:17 PM)old spanish trail Wrote: [ -> ]Good analysis, Goose. I thought I read somewhere that Higgins ran under 4.5. We haven't shown many deep (if any) patterns for him, maybe because the OL doesn't hold up long enuf. Need to make a couple to loosen up the DB. I think Higgins is very good btw.

How 'bout recruiting some higher-quality O-linemen and coaching them up? When Stanford was playing in New Year's Day bowls, it featured New Year's Day talent on the LOS. As that talent evaporated, so have bowl appearances (of any kind). For all of Tanner McKee's promise, this year's team is as mediocre, overall, as any I can remember. And I go back to Jack Christiansen's guys.
Ah Gail the cactus Jack days were the days. Not close to mediocre

Thankfully it turned around with hiring a cal grad
(10-11-2021, 07:57 AM)BobK Wrote: [ -> ]Ah Gail the cactus Jack days were the days. Not close to mediocre

Thankfully it turned around with hiring a cal grad

You're confusing Jack Christiansen  (30-22-3) with "Cactus" Jack Curtice. And if you think this team at this moment is anything better that mediocre, I respectfully and heartily disagree.
No he's not. He doesn't get confused. Bobbb was referring to the failure of Curtice's reign. In point of fact Christianson had much more success than Curtice. Big Game 1975 was a Cal blowout but if Stanford had won they would have tied for the conference title.
(10-11-2021, 08:50 AM)Phogge Wrote: [ -> ]No he's not. He doesn't get confused. Bobbb was referring to the failure of Curtice's reign. In point of fact Christianson had much more success than Curtice. Big Game 1975 was a Cal blowout but if Stanford had won they would have tied for the conference title.

For the record, what I tried (and evidently failed) to do was point out that my memory of Stanford football mediocrity goes back to the Christiansen era (and beyond, actually, to Cactus Jack Curtice). The larger point (other than the one on my head) is that the 2021 is NOT a vintage year, due in large part to the OL.  
Steering this thread back on course for a moment and living in the here & now, if that's allowed.......

(10-10-2021, 01:45 PM)Goose Wrote: [ -> ]As I see it, right now what ASU did is a recipe to beat us.

Maybe...but just because the recipe is there doesn't mean that everyone has the ingredients to pull it off. You really need to trust your corners, and you really need to have a front 7 that's quick, active, and physical enough to disrupt the QB. Not all defenses fit that bill. They can certainly try it, though.

(this offense really misses E.J. Smith, by the way...he gives the offense more looks and the defenses more things to think about...the sooner he's back on the field & effective, the better)

And I think you've got it right...there's no question to me that this offensive line is better at pass pro than run blocking right now (maybe much better). That's not a sentence I necessarily expected to be typing this season. With this receiving corps (though those ranks seem to be thinning) and this QB, that means big plays...but it also means it's tough to get the little plays you need to stay on schedule & move the chains. As much as I've come to love watching McKee sling the rock, this offense won't be at its full potential until that turns around.

Appreciate you listening!

Troy C

(now, back to the thread drift and throwbacks.....)
Those who deny history are doomed to repeat it or some such thing...
(10-11-2021, 09:18 AM)troyc Wrote: [ -> ]Steering this thread back on course for a moment and living in the here & now, if that's allowed.......

(10-10-2021, 01:45 PM)Goose Wrote: [ -> ]As I see it, right now what ASU did is a recipe to beat us.

Maybe...but just because the recipe is there doesn't mean that everyone has the ingredients to pull it off. You really need to trust your corners, and you really need to have a front 7 that's quick, active, and physical enough to disrupt the QB. Not all defenses fit that bill. They can certainly try it, though.
Good point Troy. Not everybody has the ingredients. Also, it is a matter of degree and the given day. Some will do it better than others.

Quote:(this offense really misses E.J. Smith, by the way...he gives the offense more looks and the defenses more things to think about...the sooner he's back on the field & effective, the better)

And I think you've got it right...there's no question to me that this offensive line is better at pass pro than run blocking right now (maybe much better). That's not a sentence I necessarily expected to be typing this season. With this receiving corps (though those ranks seem to be thinning) and this QB, that means big plays...but it also means it's tough to get the little plays you need to stay on schedule & move the chains. As much as I've come to love watching McKee sling the rock, this offense won't be at its full potential until that turns around.
Except we right now don't so much have the big play part with Wilson out. There are some young guys that maybe could fill those shoes. It is also a matter of QB protection for patterns that take a while. Any thoughts you have there also appreciated.

Seriously Troy, you are a great conduit to the team. You are also not a puppet of anybody, which gives you more credibility. I really like the way you tell it like you think it is without being accusatory in the process. Wish others would master that.
One thing is that we need to start developing counters for when defenses adjust to our plays.  For example, ASU was clearly playing the slant by jumping the receiver inside.  The obvious counter is for the receiver to make like he is running a slant and then turn out to a post route, especially against a defense playing one deep safety.  That play will go for a big gain even with a slowish receiver because the DB will have jumped the wrong route.

BC
(10-11-2021, 08:50 AM)Phogge Wrote: [ -> ]No he's not. He doesn't get confused. Bobbb was referring to the failure of Curtice's reign. In point of fact Christianson had much more success than Curtice. Big Game 1975 was a Cal blowout but if Stanford had won they would have tied for the conference title.

I believe the USC-UCLA game was held the week following Big Game in '75. UCLA won. I think Stanford needed a USC win in what was an off year for them in order to tie for the conference title and go to the Rose Bowl.

(10-11-2021, 07:52 AM)gailtate Wrote: [ -> ]How 'bout recruiting some higher-quality O-linemen and coaching them up? When Stanford was playing in New Year's Day bowls, it featured New Year's Day talent on the LOS. As that talent evaporated, so have bowl appearances (of any kind). For all of Tanner McKee's promise, this year's team is as mediocre, overall, as any I can remember. And I go back to Jack Christiansen's guys.

Serious question: Talent by what measure(s)? Booker, D-Wade P, Ryan Johnson are all four stars. And if you include Armitage, Pakola, Fox (not Jordan but the guy who was recruited as a d-lineman) that's six recruited on the DL. Ok Pakola isn't quite on the team and Armitage is a true freshman. But when Stanford was at its best, arguably, on the DL they had five guys who played: a high 3-star, a borderline 3/4-star, and three sub-3-stars. I mention this not to be a jerk as those '12, '13 and '14 teams constitute an unreasonable standard.
(10-11-2021, 10:49 AM)Eucalyptus72 Wrote: [ -> ]
(10-11-2021, 08:50 AM)Phogge Wrote: [ -> ]No he's not. He doesn't get confused. Bobbb was referring to the failure of Curtice's reign. In point of fact Christianson had much more success than Curtice. Big Game 1975 was a Cal blowout but if Stanford had won they would have tied for the conference title.

I believe the USC-UCLA game was held the week following Big Game in '75. UCLA won. I think Stanford needed a USC win in what was an off year for them in order to tie for the conference title and go to the Rose Bowl.

You are correct that usc had to beat ucla which usc failed to do.

(10-11-2021, 07:52 AM)gailtate Wrote: [ -> ]How 'bout recruiting some higher-quality O-linemen and coaching them up? When Stanford was playing in New Year's Day bowls, it featured New Year's Day talent on the LOS. As that talent evaporated, so have bowl appearances (of any kind). For all of Tanner McKee's promise, this year's team is as mediocre, overall, as any I can remember. And I go back to Jack Christiansen's guys.

Serious question: Talent by what measure(s)? Booker, D-Wade P, Ryan Johnson are all four stars. And if you include Armitage, Pakola, Fox (not Jordan but the guy who was recruited as a d-lineman) that's six recruited on the DL. Ok Pakola isn't quite on the team and Armitage is a true freshman. But when Stanford was at its best, arguably, on the DL they had five guys who played: a high 3-star, a borderline 3/4-star, and three sub-3-stars. I mention this not to be a jerk as those '12, '13 and '14 teams constitute an unreasonable standard.
(10-11-2021, 09:48 AM)Goose Wrote: [ -> ]
(10-11-2021, 09:18 AM)troyc Wrote: [ -> ]Steering this thread back on course for a moment and living in the here & now, if that's allowed.......

(10-10-2021, 01:45 PM)Goose Wrote: [ -> ]As I see it, right now what ASU did is a recipe to beat us.

Maybe...but just because the recipe is there doesn't mean that everyone has the ingredients to pull it off. You really need to trust your corners, and you really need to have a front 7 that's quick, active, and physical enough to disrupt the QB. Not all defenses fit that bill. They can certainly try it, though.
Good point Troy. Not everybody has the ingredients. Also, it is a matter of degree and the given day. Some will do it better than others.

Quote:(this offense really misses E.J. Smith, by the way...he gives the offense more looks and the defenses more things to think about...the sooner he's back on the field & effective, the better)

And I think you've got it right...there's no question to me that this offensive line is better at pass pro than run blocking right now (maybe much better). That's not a sentence I necessarily expected to be typing this season. With this receiving corps (though those ranks seem to be thinning) and this QB, that means big plays...but it also means it's tough to get the little plays you need to stay on schedule & move the chains. As much as I've come to love watching McKee sling the rock, this offense won't be at its full potential until that turns around.
Except we right now don't so much have the big play part with Wilson out. There are some young guys that maybe could fill those shoes. It is also a matter of QB protection for patterns that take a while. Any thoughts you have there also appreciated.

Seriously Troy, you are a great conduit to the team. You are also not a puppet of anybody, which gives you more credibility. I really like the way you tell it like you think it is without being accusatory in the process. Wish others would master that.

It's been a while since I've seen Wilson play, but I remember him as a possession guy rather than a deep threat (OSB and Fehoko seemed like the deep threats last year). Nevertheless, we could really use him as our depth is getting thin.
Bryce Farrell, as evidenced against UCLA, could have been the one to stretch the ASU defense. But he was not available for the game but hopefully will be for WSU.
(10-11-2021, 09:18 AM)troyc Wrote: [ -> ]Steering this thread back on course for a moment and living in the here & now, if that's allowed.......

(10-10-2021, 01:45 PM)Goose Wrote: [ -> ]As I see it, right now what ASU did is a recipe to beat us.

Maybe...but just because the recipe is there doesn't mean that everyone has the ingredients to pull it off. You really need to trust your corners, and you really need to have a front 7 that's quick, active, and physical enough to disrupt the QB. Not all defenses fit that bill. They can certainly try it, though.

(this offense really misses E.J. Smith, by the way...he gives the offense more looks and the defenses more things to think about...the sooner he's back on the field & effective, the better)

And I think you've got it right...there's no question to me that this offensive line is better at pass pro than run blocking right now (maybe much better). That's not a sentence I necessarily expected to be typing this season. With this receiving corps (though those ranks seem to be thinning) and this QB, that means big plays...but it also means it's tough to get the little plays you need to stay on schedule & move the chains. As much as I've come to love watching McKee sling the rock, this offense won't be at its full potential until that turns around.

Appreciate you listening!

Troy C

(now, back to the thread drift and throwbacks.....)

ASU's recipe for beating Stanford was beating us up on both lines. That's not particularly deep or insightful, but is devastatingly effective. In fact, it kind of reminded me of 2013 in the inverse. Going into the conference championship game there was all sorts of talk about how ASU had switched up schemes and had clever plays to get Stanford the second go-round. Didn't matter. Stanford just mauled them again along both lines and fancy plans were irrelevant.

Stanford's OL does appear to be better at pass blocking than run blocking, though mostly because run blocking is so bad. That has pretty much been the case since 2018, maybe 2017. Cause and effect is impossible to disentangle, but abandoning the run has gone along with that development. Stanford has the fewest run attempts per game in the conference, and the gap between 11 and 12 is bigger than any of the other gaps between adjacently ranked teams. Stanford hasn't ranked in the top half of the conference in run attempts per game since 2016, hasn't been above 10th since 2017. Stanford was also 10th or worse in yds/att in 2018-2020. Now all the way up to 8th, only because several teams cannot run. There is a of immense proportions gap to 7th.

Stanford's pass blocking is only okay. They're 7th in the conference in sacks given up per game, and have on balance played a tougher schedule than anyone else. Gave up 5 sacks to ASU and McKee was constantly under pressure. ASU's defensive backfield did play pretty well. McKee was often trying to connect with closely covered receivers. However, part of that was that McKee had little time - so sometimes he chose the wrong target, other times another second would have allowed the receiver to come open.
The OL line is the big problem but Peat and Jones don't pound the opponents like other Stanford backs have in the past. Borghi is not big but he delivers a wallop to defenders when hit. I believe that Turley's loss is key to the difficulties. Massive.
(10-11-2021, 11:20 AM)MVDan Wrote: [ -> ]Bryce Farrell, as evidenced against UCLA, could have been the one to stretch the ASU defense. But he was not available for the game but hopefully will be for WSU.

Yeah, I do not consider tossing jump balls to tall WRs to be a "big play" offense.

Farrell does appear to have the footspeed to make the occasional Big Play (and believe he has one this season).

Wilson is missed on this front.  While he may not be a 4.4 blazer, he had some wiggle in his routes and got some separation, iirc - something that is sorely lacking now.


P.S.  Watched the ASU game.  Stanford was handled, but it wasn't as dominating a W by ASU as I was expecting after reading the game threads and box.  The biggest difference was that Stanford seemed to struggle for everything it got (tough throws into well-covered receivers that somehow were caught versus more easy/open chunk yards for ASU). But Stanford made numerous plays at or behind the LOS.  And ASU's biggest running play was the QB scramble for the first TD, which is off-script.  

As for Stanford's punting in ASU territory, only one of those was on the "pretty obviously bad decision" side of the ledger.  [The holding penalty was brutal (and took 3 points off the board)].  More generally, I think the offensive brain trust needs to include as a factor avoiding fourth and longs, once you get across midfield.  Thus, second and 8 or third and 5 don't have to be passing downs.  It's a tough balance, of course, because the #1 goal should be to move the sticks; plus, any decisions need to be informed by how the team is doing on the ground in the game (and for Stanford on Friday night, it was not well).  But my main takeaway is that Stanford is an average (at best) team that lost to a better team.  I'm not sure if ASU is all that (Daniels was up and down), but they certainly were enough to handle Stanford.
(10-11-2021, 12:16 PM)teejers1 Wrote: [ -> ]
(10-11-2021, 11:20 AM)MVDan Wrote: [ -> ]Bryce Farrell, as evidenced against UCLA, could have been the one to stretch the ASU defense. But he was not available for the game but hopefully will be for WSU.

Yeah, I do not consider tossing jump balls to tall WRs to be a "big play" offense.

Farrell does appear to have the footspeed to make the occasional Big Play (and believe he has one this season).

Wilson is missed on this front.  While he may not be a 4.4 blazer, he had some wiggle in his routes and got some separation, iirc - something that is sorely lacking now.


P.S.  Watched the ASU game.  Stanford was handled, but it wasn't as dominating a W by ASU as I was expecting after reading the game threads and box.  The biggest difference was that Stanford seemed to struggle for everything it got (tough throws into well-covered receivers that somehow were caught versus more easy/open chunk yards for ASU). But Stanford made numerous plays at or behind the LOS.  And ASU's biggest running play was the QB scramble for the first TD, which is off-script.  

As for Stanford's punting in ASU territory, only one of those was on the "pretty obviously bad decision" side of the ledger.  [The holding penalty was brutal (and took 3 points off the board)].  More generally, I think the offensive brain trust needs to include as a factor avoiding fourth and longs, once you get across midfield.  Thus, second and 8 or third and 5 don't have to be passing downs.  It's a tough balance, of course, because the #1 goal should be to move the sticks; plus, any decisions need to be informed by how the team is doing on the ground in the game (and for Stanford on Friday night, it was not well).  But my main takeaway is that Stanford is an average (at best) team that lost to a better team.  I'm not sure if ASU is all that (Daniels was up and down), but they certainly were enough to handle Stanford.

Your "main takeaway" is eminently reasonable. My take: barring any further depletion of the roster this team stands to "reasonably" see another 2-3 wins in a conference that's closer to the Mountain West than the "Power Four".
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