Let’s wrap up our Stanford preview this afternoon with a look at the Stanford special teams and the coaching staff.
Normally, we look at the coaching staff first. Today, however, we’re going to look at the special teams first. Why? Because this game could just come down to special teams.
Sophomore Jet Toner will handle placekicking for the Cardinal. The Honolulu native has been perfect so far this season. He has made all four of his field goal tries with a long of 40 yards and made all 13 extra points. But, this is his first year of action with the Cardinal. Don’t be surprised to see David Shaw be extremely conservative with Toner.
Punting and kickoff duties will be handled by junior Jake Bailey. Bailey’s season-long so far is 59 yards and his career-long is 61 yards. So, he’s got good range when punting. More than half his kickoffs went for touchbacks last year, while 75% of his kickoffs have been touchbacks this year.
Kickoff returns have been primarily handled by running back Cameron Scarlett. Scarlett has had several really good returns already this year. He ran back a career-long 46-yard return against Southern Cal two weeks ago and then had a 37-yarder last week against San Diego State. If the Bruins aren’t careful, Scarlett could break a big one.
Junior wide receiver Jay Tyler has handled all of Stanford’s punt returns so far this year and he is averaging almost 9.5 yards per return. His longest, however, has only been 18 yard and that’s his career long as well.
The Stanford coaching staff hasn’t changed at the top since last season. After all, when you have a program that has been successful like Stanford’s has been, it allows you to have a stable coaching staff unless assistant coaches leave for promotions.
David Shaw is still the Cardinal head coach, or, as Stanford puts it, the Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football while his coordinators are also the same. Mike Bloomgren is still the “Andrew Luck Director of Offense” and Lance Anderson is still the “Willie Shaw Director of Defense.”
The key takeaway from this is that Stanford’s coaching staff has remained consistent, which means this will be a tough game.