Stanford's offense has been on a roll the past few seasons. With Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman (and others) leaving after last season to go to the 49ers many thought the Cardinal offense might be less efficient this season.
David Shaw went out and assembled a new offensive staff that ranks in the top 25 in every major statistical category. In additiona to Shaw (offensive coordinator last season), the two other major players in formulating the offensive game plan are Pep Hamilton and Mike Bloomgren.
Hamilton and Bloomgren both have a wealth of NFL experience on their resume (21 years total between the two of them and Shaw). Hamilton was promoted last season from receivers coach to offensive coordinator, and oversees the passing game. Bloomgren was hired off from the New York Jets staff and holds the run game coordinator title.
Shaw says that the three of them are on the same page when it comes to creating a game plan "We don’t exist in three different worlds, the head coach, the pass game guy and the run game guy, but I think the biggest thing is, we’ve got outstanding communication. We, by the end of the week, we make it all fit, so that there’s not separate parts of our offense. It all fits together.”
Having three members of the staff that are on the same page are a major reason that Stanford ranks in the top 25 in rushing (17) and passing (23), and more impressively, Stanford is the only team in the country to score every time they have been in the red zone, a perfect 52 of 52.
Stanford will take on Oregon Saturday at 8 on ABC.
As Mark Dantonio prepares for Iowa this week, he took some time to reflect back on his first few weeks as a head coach at Michigan State to evaluate what type of team he wanted to model the Spartans after. His thoughts brought him to one team, Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes.
Dantonio said "When I became the head football coach here, I looked at football programs that have some similarities to ours in terms of what challenges they may have and I thought, 'Here's Iowa, good defensive football team, built on toughness, built on stability, continuity on their coaching staff, good fan support. So I felt like that was a program to try and emulate".
Ferentz is in his 13th season with the Hawkeyes and holds a 95-63 record, including a 6-3 (3-2 in conference) mark this season. Dantonio is 40-21 in his fifth season at Michigan State, and currently has the Spartans on top of the Leaders division of the Big Ten at 4-1 in conference play and 7-2 overall.
Michigan State travels to Iowa for a noon kickoff Saturday on ESPN2.