Stanford soccer (5-Four, Three-Three Pac-12) has now misplaced two in a row after a comeback fell simply brief in Seattle one week in the past. The season appears over already, with the ultimate two video games approaching quickly. Nevertheless, yet one more win will assure the group a bowl recreation, and there’s nonetheless the Huge Recreation on the horizon. This week, the Cardinal obtain a present from the NCAA, as they play host to Oregon State this Saturday in a matchup that has the Cardinal because the heavy favorites. The Daily’s Daniel Martinez-Krams, Andrew Tan and Shan Reddy develop ever extra cynical and ridiculous because the season spirals out of management, and share their ideas on how dangerous Oregon State really is, what to do with out JJ Arcega-Whiteside and what precisely went flawed this season.
Oregon State is, frankly, a nasty soccer staff. They’ve solely gained one Pac-12 recreation (towards Colorado) and have two complete wins on the season (their solely different win is towards FCS group Southern Utah). Everybody in the whole world expects Stanford to win this Senior Night time recreation on their residence turf. What’s a method, in your opinion, every little thing might collapse for the Cardinal? Is there any probability in any respect they lose this recreation?
Daniel Martinez-Krams (DMK): In the phrases of the immortal Justin Bieber: “Never Say Never.” In the identical approach that I wouldn’t rely Stanford out till the final second of every of their 4 losses, I might by no means put it previous Stanford to lose to at least one of the worst groups in school soccer. Though, this recreation truly units up actually properly for the Cardinal. On the season, opponents are gaining 267.Four dashing yards per recreation on the Beavers, and the Trojans simply put up 332 with two 100-yard rushers.
In the event you tear a gap in a internet, does that imply there are fewer holes? The Oregon State protection is so porous that this existential query involves thoughts. If, by some means, Stanford’s floor recreation doesn’t present up – and displaying up will probably be sufficient towards a protection that dangerous – the Beavers do put up 29.6 factors per recreation, and will make the sport shut.
Andrew Tan (AT): Earlier than the season began, there have been a number of video games that Stanford gamers and followers alike may need circled as straightforward wins. A house recreation towards the Beavers? Psshhh, they don’t stand a dam probability. Stanford’s current play, nevertheless, has forged this recreation right into a shadow of doubt. The Cardinal have proven their true colours up to now couple weeks – none of which is the sensible cardinal we’re accustomed to – wilting towards any staff that has a semblance of high quality on its roster. One factor we have now been capable of depend on from Stanford all through the season is the power to construct the followers’ hopes up after which present them the chilly actuality: that Stanford is just mediocre.
Fortuitously for the Cardinal, Oregon State is nothing to write down residence – or to your native student-run publication – about. However right here we’re, discussing the likelihood of one other Stanford loss. In all seriousness, the Beavers’ solely actual menace is the NCAA’s sixth main rusher Jermar Jefferson, who has racked up 1092 yards and and 12 touchdowns on 180 carries. He faces a Stanford rush protection about as sturdy as a pre-teen driving a ripstik for the primary time and pretty ranked 49th within the nation, so there are yards available on the bottom for Jefferson and the Beaver dashing assault.
Nonetheless, Stanford has but to lose a recreation to a nasty group (and Oregon State is actually a nasty staff as Daniel demonstrated), beating up on the likes of San Diego State, UC Davis and sure, USC, amongst others, and the books appear to acknowledge this sliver of competency, favoring the Cardinal by 24 factors at residence. Regardless of how dismaying the season has been thus far, I don’t see a approach during which Stanford loses this recreation. It simply doesn’t match the narrative. As an alternative, I anticipate an evisceration of Oregon State displaying the Cardinal trustworthy what might’ve been this season earlier than making like gravediggers and letting them down one final time.
Shan Reddy (SR): To DMK and AT, I’ve one factor to say: recency bias. To say that Stanford’s soccer group this season has been totally incompetent towards respectable groups would merely be false. They’ve taken down aggressive groups in USC and Arizona State–each groups that crushed the Beavers earlier this season–and hung robust towards ranked groups in Washington and Washington State, placing up a mixed 58 factors towards the 2. Stanford is strong, not exceptional, however not atrocious both.
However, the Oregon State soccer staff is just and genuinely pathetic. Out of 129 groups in all of school soccer, the Beaver protection ranks 128th. Want I say extra? On common, groups enjoying Oregon State put up 536.9 yards of complete offense per recreation.
Now, I might usually say that Stanford’s offense might nonetheless feasibly give the ball away sufficient occasions to make the sport aggressive, however Oregon State’s protection merely doesn’t drive turnovers, and ranks 127th within the FBS in turnovers gained. KJ Costello must duct tape the soccer to an Oregon State defender to drive the Beaver protection to truly get a takeaway.
JJ Arcega-Whiteside has been formally dominated out of Saturday’s recreation. He at present leads the Cardinal in receptions with 48, receiving yards with 754, and receiving touchdowns with 11. With out him within the passing assault, will the Cardinal proceed to seek out success via the air? Which move catcher(s) will step up in his absence?
DMK: Stanford cross catchers have been a private spotlight of the season. Sophomore tight finish Colby Parkinson, junior tight finish Kaden Smith, senior large receiver Trenton Irwin and (don’t you dare overlook) sophomore fullback Houston Heimuli have all seemed excellent within the minutes they’ve performed this season. Smith has three video games with greater than 100 yards, Irwin has one, Parkinson has caught three touchdowns, and Heimuli has actually by no means not scored when catching a cross. The Cardinal passing recreation has been electrical just lately, topping 300 in consecutive video games for the primary time in current reminiscence. Costello is at present amid the fifth greatest season in phrases of passing effectivity within the historical past of this system.
AT: Trenton Irwin is a New England Patriots receiver within the making. I don’t need to spell it out. The shifty slot receiver runs precision routes, calling to thoughts the likes of Wes Welker, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. Irwin doesn’t go down straightforward and can danger every thing to battle for yardage. Together with the behemoth that’s Kaden Smith, Costello ought to have sufficient weapons to unfold the ball round and transfer it down the sector. Search for Smith particularly, whose identify is one letter away from a sure notorious rapper, to have an enormous recreation. In the phrases of stated rapper, “I hope it doesn’t take for me to die for you to see what I do for you.” With Irwin and Smith not lifeless, god forbid, and nonetheless on the sector, Stanford’s passing offense continues to be lots potent and succesful of dismantling a suspect Oregon State protection.
SR: JJ Arcega-Whiteside could also be one of the most effective receiving deep threats in school soccer, however he’s on no account the Cardinal’s solely star pass-catcher. Junior Kaden Smith at present leads school soccer in receiving yards by a decent finish, properly on his solution to following within the footsteps of vaunted Cardinal tight ends like present NFL gamers Zach Ertz and Austin Hooper. Smith is wanting like a shoe-in Mackey Award finalist, and should even cap off his season by being the primary Cardinal participant to ever win the award. This Saturday must be one other alternative for him to pad his stat line.
What particular facet of the staff this season (participant/participant group efficiency, luck, teaching, damage, and so on.) do you assume is most answerable for the disappointing outcomes the Cardinal have placed on the sector to date?
DMK: Keep in mind pin the tail on the donkey? You have been blindfolded, spun round and led as much as an image on the wall. The aim, because the identify implies, was to get the tail as anatomically shut as attainable. Discovering a gaggle that has disillusioned this yr is like pinning the tail when every little thing round you is a donkey and so long as you don’t pin it to your self, you’ve discovered an facet of the staff you might make a authentic case for underperforming.
All jokes apart, the rationale the group has struggled in seemingly each side of the sport, because the coaches have been emphasizing all alongside, is execution. Watch over the tape from any of their recreation (sure you’ll be able to take off the blindfold) and it turns into readily obvious that the execution is missing. Most of the time, on a blown play, a single Stanford offensive lineman missed a block, or a single extensive receiver reduce a step too late on the route, or a operating again missed the opening by a cut up second, or the quarterback checked right down to a large receiver behind the primary down line on a fourth and brief. Defensively, whereas the D-line has been abundantly criticized for its spectacular incapability to generate any penetration, the secondary has not been forcing turnovers, with out which Stanford merely doesn’t know the right way to win. When was the final time a particular groups unit sparked momentum with an enormous play? With struggles as resounding as Stanford’s, it is sensible that the onus is on the complete group. Nobody is executing. Nobody is profitable both.
AT: As soon as print publication advances to the purpose that emojis are commonplace in print media, I can be higher capable of clarify how I really feel concerning the 2018 Stanford soccer workforce. Till that point, bear with me (purple indignant face emoji). The (clap emoji) teaching (clap emoji) employees (clap emoji) is (clap emoji) the (clap emoji) drawback (clap emoji). The Cardinal have a roster chock-full of expertise (muscle emoji) however have let their season slip away from them on account of conservative play calling and a resistance to danger taking. Shaw’s strategies have labored for years (previous man emoji), however this yr, inflexibility and a cussed insistence on the system have put the Cardinal to the sword (tree emoji adopted by pink X emoji). Sure, the gamers need to make the performs and execute (examine mark emoji) on the sector, however it’s the coaches’ duty to place them in the most effective state of affairs to win, which has sadly (tear face emoji) not occurred this yr. I assume in case you have been determined to place a constructive spin (rotate emoji) on this season, you possibly can say that the coaches have been exceedingly beneficiant to their gamers by giving them the entire winter break (snowflake emoji) off, because the Cardinal might not even qualify for a bowl recreation at this price (facepalm emoji).
SR: Any old-school soccer coach will inform you – each recreation begins and ends within the trenches. In case your offensive line can’t block, it doesn’t matter how nice your quarterback or talent gamers are. No quarterback can play successfully with nostril tackles hitting his chest and linebackers drape over his shoulders. See Matthew Stafford’s play final Sunday for reference. In line with Professional Soccer Focus, Stanford’s offensive line ranks 93rd within the FBS in blocking effectivity. For a workforce constructed across the run, an offensive line that may’t pave dashing lanes is just not notably conducive to success. This Saturday ought to be an alternative for the linemen to get again within the groove and pummel an embarrassment of a Beaver defensive position that ranks 125th within the FBS in sacks. I’m wanting ahead to seeing Nate Herbig and the large boys up entrance serve up extra pancakes this weekend than an IHOP on March 5.
Contact Daniel Martinez-Krams at danielmk ‘at’ stanford.edu, Andrew Tan at tandrew ‘at stanford.edu and Shan Reddy at rsreddy ‘at’ stanford.edu