Probable Starters vs. USC:
WR 4 Mark Bradford (6-2, 215, Sr.)
9 Richard Sherman (6-3, 195, So.), key contributor, leads team in receiving
LT 76 Ben Muth (6-6, 301, Jr.*)
LG 72 Mikal Brewer (6-3, 297, Sr.*)
C 62 Tim Mattran (6-5, 298, Sr.*)
RG 60 Alex Fletcher (6-3, 295, Jr.*)
RT 63 Chris Marinelli (6-7, 304, So.*)
TE 83 Jim Dray (6-5, 255, So.*)
45 Ben Ladner (6-3, 250, So.*), key backup
QB 14 Tavita Pritchard (6-4, 200, So.*), starting for injured Ostrander
RB 5 Anthony Kimble (6-1, 210, Jr.*)
FB 48 Owen Marecic (6-1, 235, Fr.)
WR 8 Evan Moore (6-7, 236, Sr.*)
Best Offensive Player: WR Richard Sherman
Quarterback -- As we mentioned yesterday in our first look at Stanford, sophomore Tavita Pritchard (pictured below) will make his first career start this Saturday in place of senior starting QB T.C. Ostrander, who suffered a seizure this past Sunday and will not be suiting up against the Trojans. This is really unfortunate for the Cardinal on two fronts. First, they will be tossing young and untested QB into the fire that is the otherwise known as the L.A. Coliseum. The Trojans have won 35 consecutive home games, and 24 straight conference games at the historic arena, both streaks are Pac-10 records and currently stand as the longest in the nation. Pritchard has played in only one game this season and nothing can be said from his stat line that includes only 2 pass attempts for 10 yards and 1 rush attempt for 18 yards. Scout.com's 2007 Stanford Preview said that Pritchard won the backup QB job after showcasing his arm strength and quick feet in the spring. Secondly, Ostrander is a fifth year senior who has certainly paid his dues, serving as a backup to Trent Edwards for four years, and has enjoyed a solid season so far. His physical well-being has to be the team's number one priority at this point because they probably won't be playing in a bowl game this winter. I can't say that Ostrander would have engineered an upset over the top ranked Trojans, but he's not likely to make the mistakes that the young Pritchard will undoubtedly commit this weekend. All we can say is, "Get well soon T.C. Ostrander."
Passing Game -- The strength of the Cardinal offense lies with the WR's. Stanford's wide-outs are big (Bradford is 6-2, Sherman is 6-3, and Moore is an astounding 6-7), experienced, and have big-play potential on any given snap. Sherman has been the most productive WR and leads the way in receptions (20), yards (339), and TD catches (2). The only question about the passing game is pass protection. The Cardinal allowed 50 sacks a season ago, and have allowed 15 sacks in 4 games this year. Complicating matters is the loss of starting LT Allen Smith. Junior Ben Muth started his first game last week against ASU, and now is expected to block Trojans DE Kyle Moore, who is having an outstanding season so far. Ostrander did a decent job holding on to the football, throwing 3 INT's in 166 attempts, we'll see how the young QB Pritchard does in the turnover department.
Running Game -- Anthony Kimble is the primary ball-carrier. He has carried the ball 59 times for 288 yards and 3 TD's this season. He has good size at 6-1, 210 lbs. and has the speed to take it the distance, as seen by his season long run of 60 yards this season. As a team, the Cardinal have had trouble running the ball. They only managed 52 yards in the opener vs. fucla, and finished with negative 2 yards last week against ASU. It's been said that Pritchard is a good athlete and can make plays with his feet from the QB position, so that might add another dimension to Stanford's running game. The Trojans did a great job bottling up Jake Locker last week, but they'll again have to be cognitive of their rushing lanes and then punish Pritchard if decides to leave the pocket.
Tomorrow night: Preview of Stanford's Defense
Thanks to College Football News and the Stanford Athletics website for
providing some of the background in this preview...