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What's wrong with Stanford Football?

Original post made by Fan no more on Sep 27, 2006

Possible reasons:

1. Weak recruitment
But recruitment has always been weak at academically oriented Stanford. Why should the current crop be any worse than any previous? Why couldn't the current crop be over-achieving like many previous? So I don't think this is the problem.

2. Brent Edwards, the QB
I've never been impressed by BE. Sure, he's had his moments but those are rare. More often than not, his imobility and indecisiveness allow defense to swarm all over. When the starting QB is proving ineffective, it is the coach's responsiblity to bring in a replacement to see if he could do better. You can start with BE, but if he's not moving the ball, take him out!

3. Walt Harris, the Coach
I think this is where the real problem lies. In the years that I've followed Stanford football, few are worse than Harris. He has no charisma on or off the field, no ability to put together a sound game plan, no clue on how to adjust the game plan during a game, and failed miserably in developing players to the next level.

My suggestion: fire Harris and bench Edwards!

Comments (64)

Posted by Yvonne, a resident of another community
on Sep 28, 2006 at 11:47 am

Who is Brent Edwards?

Posted by Aaron, a resident of another community
on Sep 28, 2006 at 12:16 pm

I'm pretty sure he means Trent. Sorta undercuts any trust one might put in his diagnosis, doesn't it?

Posted by Brian, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 28, 2006 at 12:23 pm

To Fan no More:
I'm curious where your detailed knowledge of the coach's charisma comes from. I'm fairly skeptical of your opinions based on your apparent lack of knowledge of the quarterback's name. He is Trent Edwards - not Brent. And while I admit I'm not an expert on Stanford football, I have watched a couple of quarters this year, and my impression is that the entire team is weaker than most of the opposition - not one or two players or coaches. And in my opinion (again), the reason is that Stanford has had more difficulty recruiting in the past few years. Hopefully this will improve. If not, maybe they should consider de-emphasizing football, i.e., change to Division II. I don't know how that would affect their position in the PAC 10 conference related to other sports.

Posted by steve, a resident of another community
on Sep 28, 2006 at 7:25 pm

De-emphasize and move to DII? After building a 90 million dollar stadium? How do you think they'd draw for a game against Saginaw Valley State? Harris is stuck with no depth at key positions right now. You have to give him some time to build depth through recruiting. Trent Edwards is a good quarterback who has few weapons and even less protection up front. The thing that has stood the most is the poor tackling. You can't give up on the program that quickly. They were pretty bad for a while in the 80s. At Stanford, you need patience.

Posted by Fan no more, a resident of Stanford
on Sep 28, 2006 at 7:57 pm

Oh, I messed up on the QB's name. I must have been drinking too much. Sorry, Trent. :0

In all fairness, Trent has been given way too many chances to prove himself but time and again he has failed to shine in adversity like so many past Stanford QBs. Plunkett, Elway, Benjamin just to name a few. They all had weak offensive lines but somehow always managed to elude stronger defensive players chasing after them. That's the kind of QB Stanford needs.

Harris needs to go because he's taking way too much time to turn the program around. In fact, Stanford is doing much worse in his 2nd season, which is totally unacceptable. There's no excuse about lack of talent because Stanford coaches have alway had to manage with less than stellar talent with many coaches producing great results. Harris just doesn't have what it takes to succeed at Stanford. I'll bet you that he will be let go or fired after this season ends in a disastrous fashion 0-12.

Posted by Christine, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 29, 2006 at 6:20 pm

Stanford athletes are a different breed than many in the Pac 10 -- they have to be smart or they aren't going to get the nod from admissions. So pick a coach who appeals to their intellect. This current coach is a screamer and intimidator and that just will not work at Stanford, especially if you are not winning. I say, back to the intellectual coaching style like Bill Walsh was. Strong, smart and disciplined (as they were in the Tyrone days). That is Stanford's only hope. I wish those athletes well, and feel for them every Saturday when they head out to meet their over-matched opponents.

Posted by Fan no more, a resident of Stanford
on Sep 29, 2006 at 8:18 pm

I couldn't agree with Christine more. Harris is much worse than Buddy Teevens who wasn't a success story himself. It was Teevens' legacy that allowed Stanford to win four out of first six games played in 2005 in Harris' first season. Unfortunately, once Harris forced his bad coaching style over the smart but innocent players, it was all downhill. Stanford went on to lose four of the remaining five games to close out a disappointing but excusable first season.

Harris is now 0-4 in the new season. Starting with the 2 losses to end the 2005 season, he is now on a 0-6 losing streak. Is there any reason to expect a single win from the remaining games? UCLA, Notre Dame, Arizona, Arizona State, USC, Washington, Oregon State, Cal - they'll all bury hapless Harris-led Stanford. Washington was not supposed to do well. Guess what? They are 3-1, thanks to Willingham.

Stanford should fire Harris NOW, instead of waiting to axe him after a totally unacceptable 0-12 season. He is not only going to ruin another Cardinal season but much worse, he will turn away quality players from considering Stanford. Who wants their NFL dream ruined by a bad coach?

Posted by scfan, a resident of another community
on Sep 29, 2006 at 11:07 pm

For crying out loud, I happen-chanced on this board only to find Cardinal bashing? Losing the game is one thing but losing the spirit is another. Well, I suppose the frustration is understandable. You can't expect a winning tradition from brain-power alone, you need muscle-power. I'll say one thing though. Stanford has always offered up some exciting players. But now? I can't name a single player. Come to think of it, getting rid of Harris might actually do some good.

Go SC!

Posted by Fan no more, a resident of Stanford
on Sep 30, 2006 at 9:26 am

What are you doing here, scfan? In the past, Stanford could always be counted on to give USC a hard time, with occassional upset wins. This year? Forget it. Any prediction on today's game against the Bruins?

Posted by Carl Rivers, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Sep 30, 2006 at 11:39 am

As a long time Cardinal supporter, it saddens me to see the dramatic decline of the Football team. The rest of the Pac-10 has decided that the JC Transfer will be the secret for their success. Stanford will never do this. Which I fully agree with. There is something untainted and pure with this notion that makes Stanford football, despite the record "pure". We win a moral victory. Now having said this, this season, barring an unexpected upset over Az State, will be 0-12. Walt Harris will be and should be fired. He appears to sense this inevitability and thus has becomed numbed to his fate. This unfortunately has filtered down to the remaining non injured players. They are left with nothing but cliches and "glass half full" comments after each sobering and viscious loss. The move to D.II may not be necessary, but how about a shift to D. 1AA? The stadium was privately funded so it should not be that big of a $ hit on the university. The draw would be the finest D1AA stadium in the USA. With the Pac10 adopting "big time" program methods of recruitment (see Cal under Tedford, Oregon, SC, etc) Stanford will not be able to compete with their peers. D1AA would allow the Stanford football program to compete more with programs at their level. More wins, even at D1AA would increase interest and arguably attendence.

At any rate, go Cards! Beat the Bruins!!!

Posted by Someone who knows, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 30, 2006 at 10:36 pm

For all the idiots who think they know about Stanford football.....

First, Walt Harris is in only his second year as head coach. He still is coaching the kids who Buddy Teevens recruited. Walt's recruits are the freshmen and how many Pac-10 teams are winning with freshmen and sophomores? Comparing him to Buddy Teevens is idiotic. Buddy was a bad coach. Walt is not. He had lost a number of key his top two receivers. What's left are a bunch of inexperienced kids, some of them walkons. You just don't win games with young for the offensive line....well, that group is underachieving.....but....there are injuries on both sides of the for Trent Edwards....he is the best Stanford has right now....TC Ostrander was hurt early and never has proved himself as the No. 1 QB....even though he is talented and led M-A to a section championship.....bottom line, Stanford is banged up and Walt Harris can't do a thing about it. Give him two more that time, his freshmen will be seniors. If that group can't get the job done, then give Walt his walking papers....until with it. Stanford can't get the kids who are playing for Ohio State and USC (well, except the school could have gotten Reggie Bush)......and, as long as we're on the subject of the admissions department.....Jackie Joyner-Kersee (America's greatest heptathlete) wanted to attend Stanford but could't get in......anyway....give Walt a chance. See what happens next year. This year is gone.....the team can only get better. If it doesn't, then start pointing fingers.

Posted by Someone who knows, a resident of Midtown
on Sep 30, 2006 at 10:41 pm

Also...for Fan No're not a fan. A real fan backs a team no matter if they win or lose. You are just someone who feels cheated that his "team" isn't winning for him. Probably have Stanford in some fantasy football's easy to bash someone or some team when you have no idea what's going on. Real fans stick with their or lose. Don't even pretend to be a a fan.

Posted by Fan no more, a resident of Stanford
on Sep 30, 2006 at 10:42 pm

Another Harris-Edwards show is history. It sure was entertaining, for UCLA fans that is.

Edwards throws 3 interceptions and fumbles once, 118 passing yards and -8 rushing. Those stats must have NFL scouts salivating, for another QB prospect that is.

Harris extends his losing streak to 7, fails to score a point, and gives Ostrander no chance to show what he can do. Those coaching skills must have highschool prospects salivating, for any school but Stanford that is.

The freak show will continue until Harris is gone.

Posted by Stanford Fan, a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 1, 2006 at 11:30 am

While there are many problems with Stanford this season, two are glaring.

1. The offensive line is horrible

2. Trent Edwards is overrated

While the higher admission standards that are now impacting Stanford Athletics are definitely putting a hurt on the football program, one area that should be somewhat immune to this would be in recruiting offensive linemen, who generally have some of the highest academic scores among the football positions. While it is too late to do anything about this horrible crop, in the future Stanford should look at getting the best linemen it can to give the quarterback a shot at staying alive.

The Trent Edwards era is a big disappointment. Not since the John Paye era has a quarterback come in with such fan fare and shown so little in four years. At least Paye had a couple of moments of glory, but I just don't see Edwards having any at this point. He was an outstanding high school quarterback at Los Gatos who benefitted from having an outstanding line that played against mediocre competition each week. At the college level Edwards is nothing special.

While Stanford will probably find a way to win a game this year, the season has 0-12 written all over it.

It is time to start T.C. Ostrander. He has patiently waited on the bench and only has his senior year left. Let him finish out this year so he can prepare for next year.

Posted by BW, a resident of Atherton
on Oct 3, 2006 at 11:46 am

People, you are taking Cardinal football too seriously. Academics and athletics don't mix well, especially in sports like football where brute force rules. In the past, due to a combination of good coaching and individual athletic abilities, Cardinal football was able to come up with surprise wins from time to time, which was good for the program because people could feel the excitement always waiting for some magic to happen.

But that was a long time ago. Cardinal football no longer brings out the excitement. It lacks talent in both coaching and players. This crop of underachievers hold no secrets feared by any opponents and no gusto necessary to play competitively in Pac-10 or any other conference. So, people, take it easy, there's no need to fret over a football program that no longer deserves any respect.

Posted by sickofsucking, a resident of Southgate
on Oct 3, 2006 at 11:06 pm

I personally can't stand Walt Harris and his tepid playbook. He has some of the weakest decision-making skills I've ever seen. The guy is so caught up in field position that he punts on 3rd and 18 in UCLA territory, while they are still in the game. Choosing to kick a field goal at the half from the 3 yard line is sensible, so long as it actually matters (i.e. you aren't getting blown out). If Stanford players respond negtively to his yelling or in your face style, they ought to choose another sport, like water ballet or something. Football is a tough game, and I hope that our o-line and defense, both of which have been sorry beyond all excuses, can handle a real man chewing them out when they screw up. Sadly, neither Harris or his predecessor Teevens has proven to be that "real man," and frankly they dont deserve that type of respect. As for Trent Edwards, he is an above average QB with decent potential, not that it will be realized while at Stanford. Losing Nick Frank was devastating to the rushing offense and truly tragic for a true football player. The defense is nothing short of disgusting, and even "playmaker" Michael Okwo gets lit up or run by on occasion. The injuries sustained by Evan Moore and Mark Bradford suck, but the gross lack of protection for the QB is preventing an offense with minimal talent from getting started. What does it say about the passing game, protection and teeam when you punt on 3rd and long? As for downgrading the team to D-II or D-IAA, I as a fan, cannot even comprehend the insult that would be to the program, players, and supporters of Stanford football. Those types of ideas are reserved for teams like truly awful teams, like San Jose State (oh, wait, they beat us). I am disgusted, and cannot wait for a regime change or a quick turnaound from Walt Harris and his crew, because 0-12 or anything close is purely unacceptable, and smells an awful lot like "Buddy Ball".

Posted by Chief Red Cloud, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 6, 2006 at 4:02 am

The main problem is the obvious name of Cardinal. I used to be a fan of the Stanford *INDIANS*. Was Plunkett a Cardinal? Of course not. He was a Stanford Indian. Too bad PC has taken over the system.

Bring back the Indians and the pride will come with it. It is so simple.

The Indians were proud and the Indians knew how to win. Think about it.

Posted by Fan no more, a resident of Stanford
on Oct 6, 2006 at 12:34 pm

Chief Red Cloud, going back to the good old Indian days isn't going to change anything, as there are too much of a bad Chief (Harris) and none whatsoever of good Indians.

You might start the powwow early to ease the pain of another slaughter, this time at the hands of the Irish tomorrow.

Posted by StanFrustrated, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 7, 2006 at 5:38 pm

Notre Dame loss. Ok, so the D looks improved, and with a viable running game, the team, despite the score, at least looked respectable against a semi-power house. The dropped balls did not help, but makes one wonder if the game might have even been clopser or even an upset if the two starting wide-outs were in. With the rest of the schedule, (maybe O.State a V?), 0-12 is looking real.

The Big Game will be sad, and Stanford fans will have to put up with another year of gloating from the golden showered bears, but that's ok, the game is more important for them anyway for any number of "chip on their shoulders" reasons.

Hey, at least we have two more Nobel's that will grace the old mantle!

Posted by CalFAN, a resident of Atherton
on Oct 7, 2006 at 5:44 pm

Just browsing your pathetic site; you sad little fut ball team is gonna lose bad when we hook up next month. I just hope you sissy bird boyz don't break in half when out Cal Bear Men Among Red Bird Boyz get dropped bad. Trent Edwards is gonnna have a headache for the rest of your semester. Over rated school, faculty, students, and sports teams. Director's Cup? Who the "f" cares? your pathetic cheap shot at the Golden Bears is indicative of how crappy your school is. Over-priced effeminiate Taco Bell looking campus! Bears Rule!! See ya'all next month, heh heh.

Posted by StanFrustrated, a resident of Atherton
on Oct 7, 2006 at 6:18 pm

CalFan, next month? We don't play until Dec! Wow, I know the academic standards for your football team are non-existent, 2.0 or lower, JC transfers with lowered standards. Sure you got rid of of 'affirmative action" with an exception of your football team. Win at any cost, wonder what the graduation rates are for your football team anyway? At any rate, did not mean to slam your team. As a fellow Nor-Callian, Cal has the only decent major football team in the area (San Jose State notwithstanding). Of course you will slaughter us. Don't forget though, back in 2001 you guys were 1-10. These things have a way of coming around. Just hope the NCAA does not permanently shut down your program when they discover all of Tedford's recruiting violations and faked transcripts....

Posted by Fan no more, a resident of Stanford
on Oct 7, 2006 at 11:14 pm

Hey CalFan, this is not a big-game bash so stay out.

Harris and the gang suited up because they had to but maybe they should have stayed home with the Incomparable Stanford Marching Band. That would have avoided another embarrassing loss, on national TV no less.

Harris' failure is in stark contrast to the success story of Jeff Tedford, who's really helped turn around Cal football. Cal used to be a laughing stock of Pac-10 until Tedford arrived. Stanford has turned into one since Harris' arrival. The only way Stanford football can walk out of its own shadow is by getting rid of Harris.

And it's time someone told Trent Edwards to start thinking of a career other than NFL. He passed for 68 yards but lost 30 yards on the ground, for a net gain of 38 yards!!! Does anyone know of any past Stanford quarterback who's gone this low? That's got to be some kind of record.

Bench Edwards and give the command post to Anthony Kimble. He was 1 for 1 on a 57-yard touchdown pass and ran for another 63 yards. Now, there's a pretty good player. BTW, that touchdown pass was the longest play of the season. LOL.

Arizona, which gave USC a scare last week, will be in town next week. Can we expect a miracle? Not with Harris jinxing any chance of it.

Posted by Different POV, a resident of another community
on Oct 8, 2006 at 8:04 pm

Shouldn't we be playing some Ivy teams? Why the emphasis on lesser institutions that can (and probably will) get better recruits for a sport like football? We play Princeton in basketball. Why not football, too? We've traveled to the east coast for Navy and BC so it can't be the distance (and we're headed to Texas for TCU next year, which isn't exactly in our backyard). Let's try to fill some slots with games against sister institutions that face the same recruiting problems that we face. Some of the matches might grow into fun rivalries. And if we travel to an away game we can enjoy the beautiful campus of our Ivy opponent (and maybe even get some networking done). Perhaps this disappointing season is really an opportunity to rethink our schedule. And yes, I think we'd fill the new stadium just fine with Princeton fans, Penn fans or Yalies.

Posted by Fan no more, a resident of Stanford
on Oct 12, 2006 at 8:15 am

It's pretty darn quiet down on the farm. Don't let that fool you. It is the quiet before the storm. Arizona, a team Stanford manhandled the last few years, will be in town. I predict that Harris will be fired after this game if he does not produce a win. Why?

After one and a half season, Harris already has the second worst all-time winning percentage at 29.4%. Only Jack C. Curtis(1958-1962) is worse at 28%. Even Buddy Teevens did better at 30.3% A loss to Arizona will sink Harris to an all-time worst of 27.8%. And there's no end in sight because if he goes 0-12 for the season, he will be at 21.7%.

Now, what self-respecting highschool prospects will want to play for Stanford? Harris can destroy all their accomplishments along with dreams to one day play in the NFL? If Stanford can't recruit better players, what is the prospect for next season, or the season after next?

Harris is also staring at an 8-game losing streak. I have not been able to find out Stanford's longest losing streak but I think it is getting close. I do believe that he will definitely have that honor by the end of a 0-12 season.

Harris should be fired and Bill Walsh brought in as interim coach until a replacement is found. Walsh's participation will be a big boost to the team, and might even lead to an upset or two in the remaining games.

Posted by Fan no more, a resident of Stanford
on Oct 15, 2006 at 5:45 am

Stanford football by the numbers.

1. 52 Yards Total Offense (Worst in school history)
2. -6 Yards Rushing
3. 54.8 Average Rushing Yards per Game - Arizona in previous 6 games
4. 220 Yards Rushing - Arizona in game against Stanford
5. 5-13 Harris' record or 27.8% (Worst in school history)
6. 0-9 Harris' losing streak

Harris must be FIRED! The players clearly don't want to play for this coach.

Posted by StanfordBooster, a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 15, 2006 at 1:39 pm

Ok things are not looking real good right now. We just might be headed towards a winless season. Don't forget, just a few years ago the Cal Bears went 1-11 or whatever it was. They turned it around. The truth is there has always been an ebb and flow in the Pac 10. Even USC was below mediocre just 5 seasons ago. Eventually Harris will be fired, we will garner solid recruits just because it is Stanford and we will begin winning again. 2009: 10-2 and a share of the Pac 10 title. Rose Bowl against Wisconsin, and a close 24-17 Cardinal win. Just be patient!

Posted by CardinalGirl, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 15, 2006 at 8:07 pm

The Band is back, the stadium is beautiful, we live in Palo Alto, we won another Director's Cup, we go to Stanford! I mean we are still winners. I agree with previous posters, we will bounce back and be on top of the Pac 10 once again. Until then, I guess we do get to witnesss history in the making, 0-12 with the weakest Defense and Offense in Card history. I thought Harris was supposed to be a defensive genius? Oh well. I know, hire Joe Montana, he isn't really doing anything right now.....

Posted by BearBoyz, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Oct 15, 2006 at 8:16 pm

wow, are we gonna wipe the floor with you guys. I mean we sucked a few years ago, true, but even under Tom Holmoe we could at least generate more than 52 yards in OFFENSE! Seriously, there are some good high school teams that could have generated more "O". The players are not playing for Harris (they must really hate the guys guts and are just too afraid to lose their 45k per year scholarships to say anthing untoward about Harris to the media, but I would love to be a fly on the wall at one of the football Jock's Frat house) The team should just forfeit the rest of the year and let the rugby team finish out the season in Stanford football uniforms. I'll bet the Rugby team could squeeze out a win; except of course against the Old Blues. At any rate, the Big Game in December is going to be very very one-sided and ugly. I know some of the players and I will try to start a petition campaign to try to keep the score under 100 and Lynch confined to only 400 yards rushing. We will try to keep Longshore from throwing 1200 yards. Good luck Cardinal, you will definitely need it.

Posted by Too dumb to be an alum, a resident of another community
on Oct 15, 2006 at 8:41 pm

Who hired Walt Harris? Who hired Buddy Teevens? Who hired Tyrone Willingham, but then let the "Domers" steal him away?

People, or rather people who are great in their chosen profession, aren't great at everything. Jim Plunkett is not considered in the "top twenty" of all-time great quarterbacks, but he was a "winner" and has two Superbowl rings. Dan Marino on the other hand, is considered to be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, but has no Superbowl rings.

Ted Leland was a great athletic director. He excelled in fund raising, maintaining Stanford' high academic and admission standards, and winning the Director's Trophy for 12 consecutive years!

So, what was Ted' achilles heal? Hiring football coaches.

Let's hope Bob Bowlsby' achilles heal is hiring the shot-put coach.

Posted by EPA Dave, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 15, 2006 at 8:58 pm

BearBoyz should not gloat too much. The Cardinal will upset the favored Cal Bears just because Cal will be too arrogant and cocky. Walt Harris will finally break out the real playbook that he brought with him from Pitt and compel his players to Victory. Mark my words. I am betting on the Cardinal on this one.

Posted by Erv '54, a resident of another community
on Oct 15, 2006 at 11:54 pm

Whoever made the decision to limit seating in the new stadium to 50,000 must have been clairvoyant. Cal packs them into Memorial Stadium at 70,000+. With a good program Stanford could have done the same. But low expectations won out.I feel sorry for the team, which has tried so hard. Heads should roll at the BAC/Atheletic Dept. Now!

Posted by DandiDawn, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 16, 2006 at 8:43 am

Well the truth is the number of Stanford alum are much less in numbers than Cal, for obvious reasons, so the notion of packing 80k folks into a stadium is not good. Having said this, a good product would indeed pack any stadium. The way Harris is scarring the program hopefully will not scare away too many recuits, but the Football program is not looking good. Northwestern was the bottom of the barrell and they actually won a national title a few years ago, but was later slapped down for recruiting violations. Stanford will never do this due their high ethical standards. In todays jaded world of athletics, this is almost a quaint and archaic notion. Stanford can only become competitive if they begin bringing in JC Transfers with 2.0 GPAs and "juicing" their athletes on the sly with creatin. Coaching them into a violent frenzy, creating an academic environment which will allow the athlete to play and forget acadmics. Transitioning into a Div 1AA or AAA or even Independent is looking better and better. Cal and USC players are just going to get bigger bigger, faster, and better. The Stanford Ideal will not allow football to compete at this level as long as other Pac 10 programs are allowed to "cut corners". But at the same time, I feel with the $ endowment Stanford has and their good rep, good athletes will continue to be attracted and become part of the solution for the football program. Hire some high profile ex pro coach(or player) like a Pete Carroll, this will bring blue chippers in. (Bill Walsh, Montana, etc)

Posted by jr, a resident of another community
on Oct 16, 2006 at 10:28 am

Another writer had this exactly correct. Ted Leland did not know how to hire a football coach. On the bright side, he seemed to be good at everything else; however, football is, by far, the most important intercollegiate sport, at least, from a business perspective. He made the hugest blunder of his career in hiring Buddy Teevans, whose previous Division 1A head coaching experience was at Tulane, a school not altogether unlike Stanford. Unfortunately, he led the Green Wave to a stellar 11-45 record in his five seasons at the helm. Further, Teevans had no experience recruiting in the state of California at all considering that he had never lived or coached west of the Mississippi. Leland had a positive experience with Teevans at Dartmouth many years ago, which led to the fateful decision to bring Buddy to Stanford. So much for aged experience coaching football in the Ivy League. After the Tulane debacle, no other athletic director would have even considered hiring Teevans to be the head coach at Stanford. In short, Teevans was the most unlikely person to have ever been hired at Stanford. I cannot imagine the anyone in the Stanford community even knew Buddy Teevan prior to the announcement that he was being hired to replace Tyrone Willingham. As a further side note, Teevans returned to Dartmouth as head coach last year and has compiled a miserable 2-14 record to date.

I could continue writing about the folly associated with the hiring of Teevans for a long time, but that would not serve the point. Stanford needs to take care of the football program in the same way that they do everything else. They built their consirable athletic prowess on hiring good coaches and giving them the tools (financing, facilities, and equipment) necessary to compete on a national level. Stanford will not win national championships in all sports nor necessarily even finish consistently in the first division of the Pacific Ten Conference in all sports; however, they can compete much more effectively in football than has been the case in the last five years. Clearly, Teevans was an unmitigated disaster and deserved to be fired. It appeared that Walt Harris might be the coach that could turn the program around considering the improvements that were witnessed last year. This season is obviously a real disaster, though it has a lot to do with the lack of talent that Teevans left at Harris' disposal. Teevans, at least, had considerable talent left over from Willingham's last team that finished second in the conference. As another aside, Teevans turned that second place finish into a cellar finish in a single season, but that is another digression into the depths of the past.

My only point, is that a head football coach needs to be hired on the strength of his overall resume. Harris did a good job at Pittsburgh and was a good choice, at least, based upon his resume. He may not ultimately be successful at Stanford. Some of his lack of success is probably his own fault, though it is important to recognize that he is coping with a sorry mess left by his predecessor.

I have concentrated my criticism of the situation to the Leland/Teevans axis, which is inarguable from my perspective. It just seems to be so obvious. I live outside the area and do not see the games, hence, I will leave it to others to judge the culpability of Walt Harris.


Posted by PYC, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 17, 2006 at 2:42 am

While football success is cyclical, the notion to drop the program to I-AA during its lowest point is preposterous and bemoans of cowardice. I am reminded of a certain rugby team that forfeited out of fear of injury in 2001 (Web Link).

What of this purity, ethics, and honorable tradition of Stanford? All programs have their down years, yet true supporters of their respective teams do not tuck their tails between their legs and whimper for softer competition. In bad times would you permanently forfeit the Axe in favor of a lesser rivalry with, perhaps, the Aggies of Davis? Disgraceful. If these football recruits truly are of a higher mental caliber than the USCs and the Cals, let them demonstrate their greater acumen of the game, the hours dissecting the film, making the right reads and keeping their cool in the pressure filled 3rd downs. Otherwise keep making excuses and continue losing to schools with programs that barely belong in 1A in stadiums that cost a mere 1.5 million to build.

Posted by Natural Athlete, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 17, 2006 at 9:35 pm

The team can win if they try harder. The players must be focused and quit making mistakes. i refuse to believe the players are not physically talented or lack size. Right now I agree with one of the previous writers is that for whatever reason, they are not mentally into the game. These guys arfe big, strong, and smart. They just need a leader who can convince them to win. Harris apparently ain't the guy...

Posted by different POV, a resident of another community
on Oct 21, 2006 at 4:13 pm

Too many are trapped in wishful thinking. Pencil in Princeton for next season. It's high time we found the right level of athletic and academic competition.

Posted by Drunken Boxer, a resident of Stanford
on Oct 21, 2006 at 10:49 pm

Wotta a season. Is it possible we will go 0-24 for next season? The rest of the Pac-10 is getting stronger. The previous posts about Div IAA or going independent is looking better and better......

Posted by StannAlum, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Oct 22, 2006 at 6:19 pm

Y'know, it is not the players people. Look, for a non football factory program The Cardinal sure produces alot of NFL players. Stanford is always in the top 5 among Pac 10 teams and among the top 10 among NCAA Div 1A programs to produce pro players. Now if Stanford players are not "physical enough" or "athletic enough" like Walt Harris states in his weekly losers press conference then I am the King of England. The fact that every year Stanford players make it in the NFL shows that the athleticism is there; it just is no being nurtured or exploited by this current coaching regime. Stanford should sink down to Div II or Div 1A or the the Ivy league or anything else. Like someone said, these things go in cycles. But get rid of Harris. These are very good athletes. They are just bereft of good leadership and good coaching. How about a decent coach, a rematch with UC Davis (run up the score to at least 48-0), and get back on track!

Posted by 1/4 na, a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 22, 2006 at 6:57 pm

The Indians might find it easier playing the likes of Yale, Princeton, HARVARD, etc but the cost versus the return financially would not begin to pay for the football program. (if Stanford actually needs that) It would be better if the Tribe were to play Pomona, Claremont, Whittier, etc. At least the transportation costs would be lower. They could even take the train down and see the state. Beautiful trip! I've been watching the Indians since the 1953 Big Game when I was 7 years old and I love 'em.

Posted by Fan no more, a resident of Stanford
on Oct 23, 2006 at 11:15 pm

Harris should resign on his own since Stanford is keeping him around just for kicks. He's already the king of worst winning coach ever, at 26.3%. He will be the king of longest losing streak soon and Stanford is keeping him until he's crowned. There is just one good news Harris is excited about - he will not lose this weekend. The bad news is that he's going to have to endure two weeks of sleepless nights dreading the mighty Trojans marching up and down the new stadium in yet another slaughter.

Stanford football is the best litmus test for determing if a coach is for real. Any coach who succeeds in bringing respectability to the program gets immediate national attention because it truly takes a genius to make a winning program out of a bunch of average calibre student athletes. And in the process turning a few players into bright shining stars. Bill Walsh, Dennis Greene, and Tyrone Willingham all brought respectability to Stanford football. Under their rein, everyone was scared of playing the Cardinal because they could beat anybody on any weekend.

Harris has brought Stanford football down to a level I have never ever dreamed possible. Everyone now salivates at playing the Cardinal because they could be counted on to get rolled over by anybody on any weekend.

Posted by Natural Athlete, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 26, 2006 at 8:58 pm

Fool's under water, where a sports scuffle breaks out
- Betting Fool, SFGate
Thursday, October 26, 2006

* Stanford and Cal have byes this week. Again, if you haven't seen Stanford this year, or heard the radio broadcasts, you're missing something special. This is one of the worst college football teams in Bay Area history.

----From todays SF GATE on line. Stanford is now officially a media laughingstock. This is an all time low. Damn, but it's so true!

Posted by PYC, a resident of Midtown
on Oct 29, 2006 at 7:27 pm

Oh dear, Temple won this past Saturday, leaving 'furd as the undisputed worst team in I-A

Posted by EPA Dave, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 29, 2006 at 10:01 pm

oh geez, never mind Temple, USC Lost this past weekend. USC will be very very very motivated next week. Methinks they will try to keep their BCS points up to snuff by piling up as many points as possible against the hapless Cardinal. If they play their CARDS right, the Trojans are hoping their faded national championship aspirations may still be on the table (assuming Ohio State destroys Michigan and West Virginia chokes, Cal loses, etc etc). So: USC 70 - 0. 658 yards rushing; 500+ yards passing as the Cardinal and Walt Harris do a swan dive into the depths of losers pergatory. It will be a tragedy of epic proportions. Just be prepared Cardinal Fans....

Posted by BrentMIT, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 1, 2006 at 8:02 pm

Folks, as a visitor from out of state, this situation on Saturday is gonna be ugly. Something like 90% of the tickets sold are to USC fans. Rabid, angry and hungry after that Oregon loss. Could be the worst massacre in Pac 10 history. Pete Carroll is not afraid to pile up the points and play his first stringers throughout the game. The Trojan will be throwing and running all day. Despite Walt Harris' hopes as stated in the local rag, he will be leading the Cardinal into the valley of death and will emerge with the statistically worst loss of any team in the history of the Pac 10. Cardinal fans, stay home and go shopping at the mall for this one. Although after the game Palo Alto and the Stanford Shopping Mall will be hi-jacked by 38,000 inebriated SC fans. Just hide in your rooms until the debacle is over. Hope no one gets seriously hurt. Final score: 95-0; 1800 yards combined rushing and receiving. Stanford: -82 yards rushing . 7 int's. -56 yards passing. 14 Sacks. Will not cross their own 45 yard line. Field goal attempt at the 62 yard line on third down will result in block and subsequent SC TD.

Glad I attend MIT.

Posted by StanFrustrated, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 2, 2006 at 9:45 am

Has anyone perused the Cal Bear web-sites or fan blogs? They are really laughing and salivating at the prospect of destroying the "'furds". What short memories, back in the Holmoe days they were not laughing so much and they could barely fill Memorial Stadium. At any rate unfortunately I am going to have to agree with some of the writers above, the USC game much less the Cal game is looking very very dismal. I do wonder about the forfeit option. Maybe Harris can plead no-contest due to injuries and the possbility of permanent psychological trauma to the Stanford $500,000 scholarship players. Ouch.

Posted by 7, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Nov 4, 2006 at 12:50 am

Stumbled across this blog of cretins and pundits. Can't say that I am impressed with the less than trite opinions and ugly hyperbole.

Harris is nothing of an authoritarian. Visit a practice and count how many times you hear screaming, yelling, or see him getting in the face of any player. He lacks charisma - thank goodness - but, that only shakens the ground underneath those proposing his authoritarian behavior. As for offensive savvy, this is the coach who turned U of Pitt into a bowl contending power, coordinated some of the most productive Ohio St. teams, mentored Boomer Eisiason into a Pro Bowl, and has numerous pro's crediting their careers to his help.

So why not at Stanford, yet? For one, "fans" like on this blog purporting to know something about college football make up, for the most part, the same kind who sit on the Board of Trustees and run the Booster's program. Your arrogance has always been ugly hubris. For another, and closely related to the first, refusal to recruit JC players is myopic and elitist. Although it is not the sole answer, there are several JC players with superior grades, SAT scores, and could've attended school's like Stanford out of high school but for reasons did not. To ignore these prospects sends only one message - Stanford is too good for them. As for the admissions process, what's wrong with an athelete gaining acceptance like the rest of the student population? Coach Harris may be the only one at this time who has a concrete plan for how to help high school student athletes to prepare better for admission to Stanford. Coach Harris is not the problem. Here is what it is.

Stanford needs to use its supposed genius to its advantage. It needs a football system that caters to the intelligence and independence of its players until those players form a nucleus of mentors, peer teachers, and, eventually, alumni, who create a competitive advantage via intellect. Stanford is the place where players have the ability to design plays, create audible systems, and diagnose opponents with near equal ability of the coaching staff. But, this would require time, patience, and, most difficult of all for arrogant elitists, a belief in a non-rationalist approach.

Or, you could keep proposing simple panacea and hoping that you get lucky. The enemy is within.

Posted by 8, a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2006 at 11:44 am

7, I agree comletely. An efficient allocation of talent during play, with efficiency that can only be reached by students with the talent necessary to succeed at Stanford, can more than compensate for the disadvantage brought on by admissions requirements.

Posted by Yahoo5, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 5, 2006 at 12:27 am

42-0. 0-8. what is 7 rambling about, new age "synergy" mumbo-jumbo - jc transfers with high sats that happen to be good fb players? whatya been smokin? the Cards just suck suck suck - i find the pundits perfectly justified in their anger : the Cards, even in their "down years" could be counted upon to do some "wild card" damage here in there (beating ranked Cal teams, upsetting USC, NEVER losing to a mediocre Division II team with a two touchdown lead, c'mon!, enuff already!) ....under Harris/Teevens, whatever, they have degenerated into the WORST team in the HX. of Stanford Football. This is more than a cycle, or a matter just being "faithful". Something radical needs to be done. Harris has no idea what he is doing. The Pitt/Boomer/ blah blah justification is old and tiring and has no relevancy to the current situation at Stanford. Hire a new coach with a better plan, not some half-baked psuedo defensive whiz.....Pitt fans were clamoring for Harris' head hafway through his administration...the Pitt program started going in the direction of the current Stanford program. and was by no means a "bowl powerhouse". Boomer? nervous feet, poor decison maker, sure sounds familiar. Check it out. "7 "must be a Harris ringer, what? His son-in-law?

Posted by CalFan, a resident of Atherton
on Nov 5, 2006 at 12:50 am

As a Cal alumni and die hard bear fan living in the heart of Card country, I must admit Harris is the best thing to happen to the Big Game in years. "7" is a great example of the rationalist loyalist patient fan that we love. So I agree, blame the arrogant fans, the admissions process, the lack of creative thought, whatever works. I say keep Harris, give him a raise. Sign 'em to another 5 year contract Bowlsby! We Bear fans love it when we absolutely destroy you Furds year-in and year out. I was at the UC Davis v Card game last year and that was a joke. I mean, UC Davis fans were laughing and making fun of "the so-called Div 1 team..." I mean can you imagine those hick town yokels coming to Cal, much less USC and pulling that Cowboy arrogance? They felt empowered at Stanford because they even sensed the team was in complete disarray. "7" reminds of the old Tom Holmoe supporters: "Keep Tom Holmoe, he played on 3 Superbowl teams, has no Charisma but trained under the West Coast offense, give him some time....." loser season after loser season....until folks sobered up and brought in a real Coach. So until Stanford wakes up from their coach Denial Syndrome, The Bear will eat the Cardinal alive season after season until The Axe just earns a permanent home at Memorial Stadium. So take that Cards. You have no hope. 0-12 this year; 0-12 next year. Sorry dudes.

Posted by Fan no more, a resident of Stanford
on Nov 5, 2006 at 7:44 am

7 or 8, or whatever number you go by, it doesn't take a genius to win at a place like Pitt or most other programs. But at Stanford, a genius is required because he is always going to be coaching a bunch of average caliber student athletes. Harris simply doesn't have what it takes to motivate, coach, and develop these athletes into better players like many coaches before him had done.

Stanford should dump Harris and look to see if it can get someone like Jim Grobe. Grobe is the kind of genius who can turn the program around. For those of you who may have never heard of Grobe, he is the head coach at Wake Forest, a school of about 4,000 students but with outstanding overall academic and athletic programs. Under Grobe, Wake Forest was ranked 22 before they knocked off No. 16 Boston College yesterday. Their only loss is to Clemson, another highly ranked team.

CalFan, I'm turning into a Cal fan to fill the void. Tedford is the best thing to happen to Cal in a long time. He's much like Bill Walsh in terms of the impact he has brought to the Cal program. Sure, one can point to standout players like Lynch and Jackson but they wouldn't be shining like they are without a great coach like Tedford. Some Stanford players started out with great potentials but are getting wasted by Harris. Right now, you can tell the players have lost all interest to play for Harris. Unless Harris is dumped soon, forget about next year too because you can forget about getting any high school standouts to commit. And as for JC transfers, thanks but no thanks, Stanford has always managed without them. All Stanford needs is another genius.

Posted by Fan no more, a resident of Stanford
on Nov 5, 2006 at 8:44 am

To further my point about the importance of coaching over player quality, take a look at last year's recruiting at Stanford and Wake Forest. You can verify the info at

Rank (quality, out of 119 Division I-A programs):
Stanford 38 - pretty darn good
Wake Forest 65 - definitely under-achievers compared to Stanford recruits

Star Players (out of 5 stars)
Stanford 2 four stars, 7 three stars, average 2.58 stars
Wake Forest 0 four stars, 5 three stars, average 2.33 stars

JC Transfers
None at both schools

I wouldn't be surprised if this is a typical result for these two schools year in and year out, although I would be surprised if Wake Forest didn't move up and Stanford moved down this year. We'll see.

2006 Record
Stanford 0-9
Wake Forest 8-1

Posted by StanAlum, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Nov 5, 2006 at 6:21 pm

The ugly numbers
-- The losing streak is now 11, tied for the longest in school history.

-- They've scored more than 10 points in a game only once and allowed fewer than 30 only once.

-- Excluding the 35-34 loss to San Jose State, the Cardinal have been outscored 283-49 in their other eight games.

-- Opposing teams now have a 2,157-610 edge in rushing yards.

Fan No More is absolutely correct. I think 7 and 8 are Cal loyalist masquerading as Cardinal fans. Dump Harris. The only problem with Stanford loyalists they are not being vocal enough around Harris and his inability to motivate and even milk a victory. CalFan is the type of cynic that just gets to me. Just a few seasons ago they had Holmoe and horrible season after season, so don't gloat so much. NCAA sanctions are going to come down hard when they discover all of the recruiting violations.....

Posted by BabeInWoods, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 5, 2006 at 6:25 pm

How about we run the players through the Cyclotron / Linear Accelerator and we use the radiation to transform the players into incredible Hulks----and then we will really kick ass, wait there are only 3 more games. This would only make us 3-9. Oh well there is always next season....patience Stanford fans, patience....

Posted by BrentMIT, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 8, 2006 at 6:31 pm

"Well, maybe there is a new way: On the play in the 42-0 USC loss Saturday in which Stanford's one field-goal try was blocked and returned for the Trojans' fifth touchdown, five Stanford players were hurt.
Five. Out of 11, five. That's not a play, it's a Marx Brothers skit." SF Chronicle

So Harris won't be fired due to his contract paying him around 500K per year which runs another 4 years. The conventional wisdom is even an endowment as big as Stanfords will not tolerate paying someone 400-500K per year for nothing. So Harris will stay and will hopefully have 3 seasons to "turn things around". When you think about it, how much worse can it get? Even bringing in the zombie doppleganger of Woody Hayes would not do it. Btw, how many Division IA teams have had no-win seasons?

Posted by Duke Nuke'em, a resident of Stanford
on Nov 11, 2006 at 11:18 pm

As a Duke graduate, congrats to the Cardinal! First victory and the record breaking 0-12 season is kaput! Too bad. They were headed towards being the first PAC 10 team in hx. without a win. Seriously, glad Stanford finally won. Now Duke is the only major 0-10 team. Hope Tyrone Willingham does not lose his job. Walt Harris is great! Keep the guy!

Posted by PinoleaonPaul, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 20, 2006 at 8:29 pm

yo the team almost won last Saturday but I read in the paper the Seniors all cried in the locker room. That is too bad, I will bet they will cry even more after Cal beats them to a pulp like to the tune of 62-0. People will be hurt. Bowlsby has to fire Harris after the Cal game and bring in some uber leader like Urban Meyer who can inspire these bunch of scholarship players to play at least in a competitive manner. Hell, I could walk on and probably play on special teams. Do something Bowlsby before it is too late and we end up with 1 win in three years. UC Davis is still laughing at us and they suck!

Posted by BobTooBgud, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 20, 2006 at 8:32 pm

I hate to say this but PinoleonPaul is right! Harris has to go. Even though they will have to pay him $ while he sits on his ass and does nothing, that is the American Way. Stanford should just bite the bullet and hire a real leader. The Washington victory was more of a fluke and most likley an example of the the players not following Harris' crappy game plan. They probably deviated from his book in order to win. That is how lame this coach is!

Posted by Fan again, a resident of Stanford
on Dec 5, 2006 at 11:46 am

Remember me? I was "Fan no more" but the news of Harris firing has changed all that. I am hence forth "Fan again".

I favored an earlier firing of Harris but this is definitely a case of better late than never. Harris simply had to go and I am just ecstatic that he is history. Hopefully, we will get a new coach who knows how to win with the limited talent pool Stanford is known to attract - in the fashion of great coaches like Bill Walsh.

I would suggest looking at Jim Grobe, the head coach of Wake Forest, who has taken the unheralded Demon Deacons to national prominence. The way he has been able to win with players no body else were interested in recruiting out of high school is simply amazing. The only difficulty in getting Grobe is the 10-year contract he signed back in 2003.

Just don't get another coach like Harris who got a lot more out of Stanford than the other way around.

Posted by StanfordDan, a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jan 9, 2007 at 4:10 pm

I would like to congratulate the Cardinal for hiring Jim Harbarauh (sic). Success at a third tier school like USD is a great barometer of success. Goals for 07: 1, Go .500: Beat the Oregon Schools; Beat the Washington Schools; Beat at least one of the Az schools. Stay close in the USC and UCLA games 2. Stay close in the Big Game. It's a home game fer crisSakes! 3. Mentor the new hot shot Freshman Quarterback from Washington. Do this and JH will survive at least another year.

Posted by CardinalGray, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 25, 2007 at 9:58 pm

I am looking forward to the 2007 season. I think The Cardinal has improved at every position. 15 starters are returning. The Cardinal played close to nationally ranked Cal last year. The wide receivers are amongst the best in the Pac 10 if not the nation. Coach Jim spent alot of time with Bill Walsh before(RIP), so the West Coast offense will be alive and well. Don't be suprised if the Cardinal make it into a bowl game this year. They are going to ambush and suprise alot of people this season. 8 home games will also help. Best wishes Cardinal for a great season!

Posted by StanAlum, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Sep 28, 2007 at 11:49 pm

I was at the Oregon game. We lost, but it was the most exciting Stanford game in years. We probably will lose the next few weekends (although the TCU homecoming game is looking good barring any majolr injuries) The good news is that the sense of excitement and anticipation is back. Stanford can rock and roll with anyone. Who knows? Maybe an upset is in store. At least 3 to possibly 5 victories this season with some close scares for heavily favored teams. Next season, the Cardinal contends for a Bowl Game. Go Crazy Coach JIm! (just don't explode) Go Cardinal!!!

Posted by StanAlum, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Sep 30, 2007 at 12:03 am

Ok so the Arizona game did not go our way, however, I believe the overall direction and scheme of the team is good. The players just did not execute. Dropped passes, not enough pass protection for TC, etc. It is somewhat obvious the JC transfers who populate the likes of ASU, USC, Cal, etc are just too big and athletic. The Cardinal can still compete, but they gotta execute. USC is up next on the road. Sorry, it will be gruesome. Still, go Cards!

Posted by BatterUp, a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 17, 2007 at 9:18 pm

Man watta a season. Beat SJ State, Az. and USC. Proly the biggest upset in recent college history given the spread. The Cardinal showed fighting spirit and a willingness to play for Jim H. Unlike the Harris years where clearly they hated the guy. The PAC 10 is really competitive this year. It will be difficult for the true scholar athletes to compete with the semi pro JC Transfers that populate USC, Cal, AZ, ASU, Oregon State. Stanford players are just not as athletic, fast or strong as these other teams. Stanford football players graduate at a 95% clip. Cal is graduating its players at the rate of 48%. For Cal African American players, it is 42% per cent. On a campus of mostly caucasion and Asians, Cal's football team has a disproportion of African American players compared to the general student body. All of this just so they can bulk up their football team and rock and roll with the big boy programs like USC. Stanford will most lose to Cal next week, but that's ok. At least Stanford remains a relatively honest program and treats its players like true student-athletes. Go Cardinal!

Posted by CalGuy, a resident of Woodside
on Nov 17, 2007 at 9:25 pm

BatterUp's piece upstairs is so full of holes. This is typical StanFurd elitist crap. Everyone knows that Cal is by far a better school than StanFurd. Your school hands out easy grades as long as that 45K tuition is being paid. Our football team is better because it is a reflection of a superior school. Our women are better, our Profs are better, hell, our campus is prettier than your gigantic Taco Bell looking architecture. Our students are smarter and most likely can beat up most of you ma ma's boys Stanfurd losers. Even our city is better. Palo Alto is boring yuppie hell. Only losers go to Stanfurd. Nobody at Cal ever applied to Stanferd because they knew the school was just one big Taco Bell with a bunch of whiney rich kids who don't know what they want. Cal has character and tradition. When the Bears kick your crappy teams ass next week, we may or may not take your cheerleaders prisoner, if we do we will make them parade around campus in chains while making them do our teams laundry!

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