Mike Sanford is heading to Boise State
Stanford offensive assistant coach Mike Sanford is heading back to Boise State, his alma mater, after the Rose Bowl. Meanwhile, quarterback Dallas Lloyd may be moving to the safety position next year. As Stanford prepares for Michigan State, there are plenty of important developments coming out of the Cardinal's camp.
Mike Sanford to Boise State
The Rose Bowl is still two weeks away, but offseason activity has
already begun for Stanford. Any highly successful program can expect
its coaching staff to attract plenty of outside interest, and that
phenomenon has just taken its first significant bite out of the
Quarterbacks/wide receivers coach Mike Sanford, considered by many
to be Stanford's top recruiter, is leaving David Shaw's staff to
become the offensive coordinator at Boise State, where he played
quarterback from 2001-2004.
"I'm extremely excited about the opportunity to return to my alma
mater," Sanford said.
He will remain with the Cardinal through the Rose Bowl, but Shaw
will be tasked with finding and naming a replacement as soon as
possible. Current running backs coach Tavita Pritchard, a former
quarterback on The Farm, is an obvious candidate for the position,
but it's also possible that Shaw hires from outside the program to
complement offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren with an experienced
play caller. Since Bloomgren also coaches Stanford's offensive
linemen, he prefers to stay on the sideline during games, so
Sanford's replacement will presumably assume a birds' eye view from
the booth during games.
Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton left the Cardinal for the
Indianapolis Colts after last season, and Shaw responded by
promoting both Bloomgren and Sanford within the offensive coaching
Meanwhile, Shaw himself has quieted unfounded speculation that he,
too, may be leaving The Farm. Several rumors suggested Stanford's
lead man was a candidate for head coaching gigs in the NFL and
Texas, but Shaw affirmed that he intends to stay in the Bay Area for
the indefinite future. He repeated that he hopes the Stanford job is
"No matter what I say, the rumors aren't going to stop," he said.
"It doesn't bother me. Every good football program in the last 15
years, after two good years, the head coach is going to be rumored
to go someplace else. I take it as a compliment."
Bowl Practice Development: Dallas Lloyd to Safety
With high school football seasons across America all finished and
the February 5 National Signing Day not overly far away anymore,
recruiting is beginning to creep its away back to a position of
greater attention this December. The immediate priority of Shaw's
staff, however, revolves around developing youngsters who already
are part of Stanford's squad. This pre-Rose Bowl stretch of practice
affords a valuable opportunity for potential future contributors to
develop and for the staff to evaluate their future potential.
While freshman linebackers Kevin Palma and Peter Kalambayi
have impressed this week, the most intriguing Stanford development
has come courtesy back-up quarterback Dallas Lloyd. The
six-foot-three, 212-pound sophomore, who has impressed with his
athleticism but struggled to hold onto the football in limited
action on the offensive end, has been taking reps at the safety
Stanford is likely expecting standout free safety Ed Reynolds to
declare for the 2014 NFL Draft. Zach Hoffpauir, who was recruited to
the program as a safety, seems to have found a more comfortable home
at the nickel back position. Since concussion problems forced Drew Madhu to medically retire from the program before this 2013 season,
the Cardinal may be facing a crunch at this important position in
the defensive backfield after this season, and that's why shifting
Lloyd there has long seemed like a logical course of action.
Michael Thomas Earns Fame in South Beach
- Former Stanford defensive back Michael Thomas finally got his NFL
shot just days after the Miami Dolphins signed him off the San Francisco 49ers' practice squad. He made the most of his inaugural
opportunity, intercepting Tom Brady in the end zone to seal the
Dolphins' critical win over the New England Patriots. The pick made
Thomas an overnight celebrity in South Beach and drew heaps of
attention to Stanford on an NFL weekend during which alumni
accounted for 28 points and four interceptions. Thomas was named the
AFC's Defensive Player of the Week, while his former teammate
Richard Sherman (Seattle Seahawks) was the NFC's Defensive Player of
Shaw sent Thomas a text message before the game, encouraging his
former player to make the most of the opportunity.
"He certainly did that," Shaw said afterward.
- Shaw also named running back Barry Sanders as one of the young
players who has enjoyed good practices in this bowl preparation
- Shaw is very complimentary of Michigan State's balanced squad,
which features what is (statistically) the best defense in the
nation. "They're extremely well-coached in all three phases," he
said. "They're never out of position."
- Stanford is remarkably healthy. Defensive end Ben Gardner and
tackle Ikenna Nwafor are the only two players currently out with
injuries, while the rest of the roster is healing well after a
strenuous season that featured 13 games in 14 weeks.
- Left guard David Yankey is Stanford's second consecutive unanimous
All-American (Zach Ertz was one last year). Linebacker Trent Murphy
and kick returner Ty Montgomery are consensus All-Americans. This is
the first time in program history that Stanford has had three
David Lombardi is the Stanford
Insider for The Bootleg. Check him out at www.davidlombardisports.com
and follow him on Twitter @DavidMLombardi.
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