The Stanford Cardinal do not lose three times in a row to the same team under David Shaw. We knew this. We did not plan for the level of play that should have been obvious prior to the game. This team, with the exception of the defense, was not executing. But it wasn’t just Stanford. The offense had challenges in game one as well where UNLV (not a power school) ran all over the Trojans and until the 4th quarter the offense was not executing. Now the offense eventually did figure it out but what ever magic happened in that game one 4th quarter was not visible tonight.
Giving up on the run game so often is a trademark of Clay Helton and Tee Martin. No Tyson to blame here. Our run game and our offensive line was visibly moving the line. We quit too early. We give up on the players and most visibly the Offensive Line. They do not get the chance to get in their groove. Do they miss assignments? Of course they do. But to go Run, Pass, Pass and Punt is too predictable and I for one will not cast a shadow over this offensive line group.
My seats last night were 10 feet from the USC Bench I was on the Offensive Line side of the seating chart so being that close we could hear everything The players conversations through the coaching adjustments. One thing that was crystal clear was that there was very little coaching up of the O Line. There were times they came off the field all sat down along with the back ups and NO ONE came to talk to them. How can this be in any game. Then there was the situations (Panic) where Coach Calloway would be starting a talk and Clay Helton would pop in and take over and instead of showing support for the Head Coach we saw Calloway just walk away. If you were a player what would you think? Leadership divided. Panic and ridiculous claims.
Leadership was also showing up on the sidelines form the team. I saw Jack Sears take a visibly shaken J.T. Daniels after the injury to his wrist and calmly talk to him and walk with him. Jack showed a demeanor that was way beyond his years. He knew J.T. needed to be talked to and he was the guy. Then in the second half walking from the D Line to the O Line I watched CED Ware pumping up the bench and talking to every teammate looking them in the eye. He was clearly trying to encourage and landed at the O Line circle where no coaches were visible and started to pat them on the back and get their heads up. Great show of Leadership. Jack needs to get on the field.
So form my Row B 40 yard line view last night I think we have the same problem in the Red Zone that every Clay Helton offense has. Stanford fans in our section were pointing out our Hurry up and Wait offense that looked like up tempo and the line and backfield all staring at pictures on the sideline like they were lost. This has to stop. We don’t hurry up anything. We actually give the Defense a chance to see our entire alignment for 20 seconds and make their adjustment. Go to the darn Huddle. Let the QB Lead and learn to lead. Break from the huddle and run to the line so the Defense has to figure things out in seconds not aligned to their set. Unreal.
Fight On…..see you all in Austin.