With just an hour or so until kick off, I find myself worrying about the state of the offense. Like many fans, I have some definite ideas about what should be done to fix what's been a fairly anemic attack, so if David Shaw were to call, here are five things I'd suggest...
1. Unleash Kelsey Young.
I asked Shaw about Young last spring, and his eyes lit up. I've related this bit before, but it's fairly informative, so here it is again. "There's a positional depth chart hanging in my office right now," Shaw explained. "The running backs are listed here, and the wide receivers are listed here. Right in the middle, we've got Kelsey. We're not sure where he fits, but we know we have to get him the ball." Well, coach, it's time. He's the second-fastest offensive player after Ty Montgomery (more on him later), and he could potentially change the game. In four games he's touched the ball four times (plus another that was erased by a penalty), and that simply isn't enough. He needs to get at least five touches today -- screens, pitches, reverses -- anything. I promise you won't regret it, Coach.
2. Run the Sequoia (wildcat), but use Kevin Hogan.
I loved when you rolled this out last week. Hogan is a mobile quarterback with speed, but he's still a quarterback, which means he can throw the ball. The wildcat we saw early in the season was terribly one-dimensional -- Anthony Wilkerson up the middle. There was a numbers advantage, and the play typically gained five or six yards (which is never a bad thing) but there's no guessing for the defense. With Hogan back there, everything changes. And here's the hidden bonus, Coach. If you commit to giving Hogan four wildcat plays in each half, you'll also get a look at how the offense performs with a different quarterback. I know you've made it clear that the quarterback competition ended in August and you aren't interested in discussing it, but somewhere in the back of your mind you must be wondering, even just a little bit.
3. Go deep to Montgomery on the first play of the game.
This is your number one wide receiver, and I'm guessing the past ten days have been awful for him as he's replayed all those dropped passes from the Washington loss. I haven't stopped believing in him for a second, and I know you haven't either, but I worry that he might be doubting himself a bit. Call his number on the first play. Even if the play doesn't work, it'll send him a powerful message. If it goes for six? That's just a bonus.
4. Andrus Peat = Left tackle.
I think it's time. Put the Big Man at left tackle today, then check back in 2015. This also has the hidden benefit of moving David Yankey back to his usual guard spot, thereby improving forty percent of the offensive line. Then we can back to blowing people off the ball.
5. Own 4th and 1.
The first time you find yourself in 4th and 1 -- NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE ON THE FIELD -- go for it. You and Jim Harbaugh have been preaching power football for five years now, and we've all been eating it up, but recently that rhetoric has been ringing hollow. Stanford Football should relish 4th and 1. The offensive linemen should be lined up at the local tattoo parlor to have 4th and 1 inked up and down their forearms. You and Pep Hamilton should be arguing over which one of you gets to have the vanity plate "4THAND1" on your Range Rover. Are you getting the point? Stanford Football IS 4th and 1. Embrace it.