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Will USC be able to stop the returning Andrew Luck?
Last Time: USC loses 37-35
Analysis: It’s time to put an end to The Cardinal.
They’ve upset us, they’ve crushed us, and last year they squeaked out an undeserved victory.
There’s no doubt about it that ever since Jim Harbaugh rolled into town, the nerds from the north seem to consistently have the upper hand. A big part of beating us has relied on Stanford’s explosive offense, which relied on the mastery of Stanford’s Offensive Coordinator David Shaw.
The good news? Harbaugh is gone. The bad news? Shaw is the new Head Coach.
But then the good news comes back. As most fans know, being a Head Coach in college isn’t like being a Head Coach at any other level of football.
In the NFL, for example, the Head Coach is able to disseminate the heavy lifting of offense and defense to his assistant and position coaches. He is also lucky enough to have a front office to help out with things like preparing for draft day. This gives the coach plenty of time to plan for and prepare strategy for each week’s game.
NFL clubhouses are a village of people that are great and working with each other.
Don’t get me wrong, both levels are beyond full time work, but the difference comes down to the type of work being done. In college football the Head Coach is stretched extremely thin with keeping track of how the offense/defense is doing, keeping up with player grades, preparing for weekly games, scouting and recruiting during the season, and the list goes on.
In order to be able to focus as much attention as possible to one thing (strategizing and winning games), the Head Coach needs to take an NFL approach and be able hand off duties to his coordinators and assistants. Jim Harbaugh is an offensive genius, but he still relied on Shaw every once in awhile to do the play calling while he took to other matters. This is where the good news comes back for USC.
David Shaw is now the Head Coach, which makes way for Stanford to start with a new Offensive Coordinator in Pep Hamilton.
For those of you unfamiliar with Pep, he has been an Offensive Coordinator one other time, and that was at Howard University from 1999-2001. After that he spent some time in the NFL, most notably as the Quarterbacks coach for the 49ers (2006) and the Chicago Bears (2007-2009).
Now look at those dates very carefully and try to remember who exactly he was coaching. That’s right, Pep Hamilton was directly responsible for the NFL QBs Alex Smith and Rex Grossman. You might remember Rex as one of the few QBs to ever have a 0.00 QB rating in an NFL playoff game.
Now we don’t want to downplay the Stanford offense too much. Andrew Luck still exists. The issue for this team is that they’ve lost their two main receivers, most of the O-Line, two-thirds of the D-Line, and their absolutely amazing Defensive Coordinator. This makes Stanford ripe for the picking this Halloween.
With the inconsistencies and introduction in the coaching staff along with the huge amount of players lost in this off-season, there doesn’t appear to be anyway USC will lose this thing.
But keep your fingers crossed, because we said the same thing in 2007.
Prediction: USC Wins