Practice notes: Moving past mistakes on offense

Oct. 1, 2014, 12:29 a.m.

The inconsistency of Stanford’s offense continued to be a theme after the No. 14 Cardinal’s Tuesday practice, as the team moved on from a mistake-riddled 20-13 win at Washington on Saturday.

At the same time, head coach David Shaw said he was pleased with senior quarterback Kevin Hogan’s play so far. Hogan has completed 71 percent of his passes, but his slate also includes two picks and four fumbles (three of which were lost).

Senior Remound Wright (center) was a focal point of the Cardinal rushing attack against Washington; Wright gained 63 yards on 14 carries against the Huskies. On the season, he is averaging 5.2 yards per carry. (STEPHEN BRASHEAR/StanfordPhoto)

“For the most part, up until we get to the 20-yard line, he’s been really good,” Shaw said. “Scrambling when he needs to, throwing it accurately… he’s gotten us out of bad plays and into good plays.”

“The big thing that’s just hurt us all is turnovers,” he added. “Turnovers and being inefficient in the red zone have really been the mar of our offense.”

Stanford’s 12 fumbles through four games, compared to 20 through 14 games last season, are perhaps the most shocking. Shaw called that mark “very, very bad,” and senior running back Remound Wright, who lost a fumble against the Huskies, was dissatisfied as well.

“There is no explanation for it,” Wright said. “It’s just a lack of attention to detail on our part. There’s no excuses for it. It’s just unacceptable, and we’ve just got to come out here with a focus on ball security and make it very important in practice, and hopefully that will carry over to the game.”

Wright, who has emerged as the tailback that perhaps best fits Stanford’s power-running mold, has also taken two costly chop block penalties this season.

“There’s not really much to be said about them,” Wright said. “It’s just something I can’t let happen anymore. It won’t happen anymore.”


Despite the mental mistakes, the Cardinal’s running game has been fairly productive through four games.

Stanford’s top three running backs, Wright, senior Kelsey Young and junior Barry J. Sanders, are all averaging over five yards per carry. Meanwhile, its new-look offensive line has made noticeable strides over the last two games.

“It’s just going to be a combined effort between the O-line and us to move the ball,” Wright said. “The O-line is doing a great job. Being a young group, they’re going to get better every single day, every single week, throughout the year. It’s great to have that confidence in them as a unit.”


Senior wide receiver Ty Montgomery has only become more of a factor for the Cardinal offense this season, taking snaps out of the Wildcat and in read-option formations. Perhaps most notably, the Jet Award winner and former kickoff specialist has proven himself as a dynamic punt returner.

“If I could come up with a comparison, I guess kick return is more like a power run game, something like that, and punt return is like a screen,” Montgomery said. “You’ve got to catch it, find out where the blocks are at and just hit it.”

Montgomery did not have many chances to hit holes on punt returns last Saturday because of Washington punter Korey Durkee;  Durkee boomed seven punts for an average of 51.7 yards in what Shaw called one of the best punting performances he has seen at any level.

“It’s frustrating when you’re standing at about 35 yards and then he punts it 50 yards in the air and then gets like another 10-yard roll, a yard from the sideline,” Montgomery said. “Or you stand back 40 or 45 yards, and then he rugbies something that drops at about 20, and he gets a 30-yard roll… All credit to him. He had a great game.”

Contact Joseph Beyda at jbeyda ‘at’

Joseph Beyda is the editor in chief of The Stanford Daily. Previously he has worked as the executive editor, webmaster, football editor, a sports desk editor, the paper's summer managing editor and a beat reporter for football, baseball and women's soccer. He co-authored The Daily's recent football book, "Rags to Roses," and covered the soccer team's national title run for the New York Times. Joseph is a senior from Cupertino, Calif. majoring in Electrical Engineering. To contact him, please email jbeyda "at"

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