Stanford is loaded.
The Cardinal achieved the much desired result of balance on offense last season. The fellows down at "The Farm" produced a weekly average of 214 yards rushing and 259 yards passing.
Another ideal Stanford accomplished in 2010 was the balance between offense and defense, finishing ninth in the nation for points scored and 10th in the land regarding points given up.
After destroying ACC champion Virginia Tech 40-12 in the Orange Bowl (see picture), Hokie defensive guru Bud Foster talked openly about "not how do you stop them but where do you stop them?"
The architect of this offensive juggernaut is David Shaw.
For the past four seasons, he has been the offensive coordinator, bringing his nine years of experience as an NFL quarterback coach to Palo Alto and preparing such a finely tuned machine.
Shaw is a Stanford graduate, having played wide receiver for the Cardinal under coaches Bill Walsh and Denny Greene before working his magic in the professional game.
With former head coach Jim Harbaugh moving to the NFL, Coach Shaw was the obvious and perfect choice as the new leader of the Stanford program.
Graduating seniors are rarely ever expendable, but the Cardinal is bringing back almost every outstanding player from a season ago.
Two native Texans, barrel-chested running back Stephan Taylor and 6'5" 238 pound quarterback Andrew Luck anchor the offense.
Taylor rushed for 1,137 yards last season, caught 28 passes and scored 16 touchdowns.
Luck is simply the best football player in the nation.
In 2010, Luck completed 71 percent of his 372 passes for 32 touchdowns and ran for an additional 453 yards.
At receiver, speedy junior Drew Terrell is back to gobble up touchdown passes, while lanky senior Griff Whalen gives Luck an obvious target in tight situations.
Speaking of such circumstances, a pair of 6'6" 250 pound tight ends return in Coby Fleener and Zach Ertz.
The offensive line is experienced, talented and bruising. 6'6" 305 Jonathan Martin at left tackle and 6'5" 310 David DeCastro at guard return. Each is poised for an All-America season.
Another native Texan, Sam Schwartstein, is a rugged performer who returns for his junior season at center along with the enormous and powerful Khalil Wilkes. Wilkes is headed for a future in the league where players are paid to play.
6'7" 300 pound Tyler Mabry returns for his senior year at right tackle.
Redshirt freshman Cameron Fleming, still another native from the Lone Star State, is a 6'6" 300 pound offensive line talent who will find playing time during the season. He has the tools to become one of the most talked about new comers on the scene and seems destined for success.
The Stanford defense returns the top four tacklers from last year. It is a deep and experienced unit.
Shayne Skov and Chase Thomas, both highly decorated 6'4" juniors, are back to combine with senior "Mad" Max Bergen and incredibly talented 6'6" sophomore Trent Murphy to give the Cardinal the most outstanding group of linebackers in the college game.
The secondary is built around hard hitting seniors Delano Howell and Michael Thomas at safety along with Johnson Bademosi at corner.
Effective junior Quinn Evans, experienced Ed Reynolds, "Fast" Barry Browning and Terrence Brown provide Stanford a defensive backfield that is a virtual umbrella against the passing game of opponents.
The defensive line features the return of 6' 2" 300 pound junior Terrence "The Meat Cleaver" Stephens on the inside of the Cardinal 3-4 alignment.
Senior Matthew Masifilo at 6'3" 288 and exciting 6'4" 255 Ben Gardner will man the outside positions.
Last season, the Cardinal finished No. 4 in both polls, sporting a 12-1 record.
This year, Stanford is deeper, bigger, stronger, faster and will be even better.
An appropriate description of a champion.
Date Opponent Favored/Underdog
09/03/11 San Jose St. F
09/10/11 at Duke F
09/17/11 at Arizona F
09/24/11 Open Date ---
10/01/11 UCLA F
10/08/11 Colorado F
10/15/11 at Washington St. F
10/22/11 Washington F
10/29/11 at Sou. California F
11/05/11 at Oregon State F
11/12/11 Oregon*** F
11/19/11 California F
11/26/11 Notre Dame F