Yesterday’s 25-23 win by Stanford over North Carolina in the Sun Bowl was won by the special teams (punter Bailey and the coverage players) and the defense and in particular, star defensive lineman, Solomon Thomas. It certainly WASN’T won by the offensive coaching staff!
We salute Stanford (10-3) for an incredible win in El Paso given that the offensive coaching staff seemed to give up on winning the game early after Chryst’s injury, calling THE worst play calls I’ve ever seen in the 55 years I’ve watched college football, some calling for “the Wildcat” with no QB behind the ball that had no chance of getting the first downs (One did on a flea-flicker, miraculously). There was never the consideration of putting in freshman QB K.J. Costello, a terrific young passer. We salute the 10-3 Stanford team that should have gone to the Rose Bowl having beaten USC in the Colosseum and won it’s final 5 games before winning at the Sun Bowl. No respect for the 10-3 Stanford but they won the game yesterday basically without a quarterback (due to their stupid coach’s decision, only)! In today’s scheme of things, that’s incredible.
We also salute the team for a good season considering the problems they had with Burns as QB. Two of the three games they lost this season were blow-outs to Pac-12 opponents Washington, Washington State and the third to Colorado, all with pro-offenses. Coach Shaw benched Burns after the Colorado loss (their third) and the team went on to win the rest of their games. Bad coaching decision playing Burns at all. Also, Stanford’s starting CBs Holder and Meeks were out with injuries in all three games and McCaffrey was out for one of these, as well. The loss of Holder and Meeks hurt, big-time.
Next year, Holder and Meeks will be back (I thought Holder was graduating). If they stay healthy (Holders right shoulder has to hold up), it could be another good year for the defense and they should beat Washington State and Colorado. However, Thomas will almost certainly go pro now that the scouts have seen how he thoroughly dominated North Carolina’s offensive line in spite of being double-teamed most of the game. His sack of the Tar Heels’ overrated QB on the two-point conversion attempt in the waning seconds of the game showed what a power he is. He will be sorely missed.
QB Keller Chryst’s knee injury may keep him from being the starter next year. That leaves Burns (who was listed as a senior this year but who I hear is eligible next year) and they can’t win with him! K.J. Costello didn’t get a chance from Shaw in the Sun Bowl even though fans were SCREAMING for him! Instead, Shaw used the Wildcat and left Burns in for the awful plays we expected from him (taking unnecessary sacks, two intentional groundings, etc.). There are other freshmen QBs who didn’t get a snap this year. Losing their best offensive lineman in Caspers will hurt the already weak offensive line, so the coaches have to have an exceptional recruiting off-season for Stanford to get back to the Rose Bowl.