In the latest edition of our summer Notre Dame Fighting Irish Q&A series, we look ahead to the team Notre Dame will battle for the Legends Trophy. With a Heisman finalist on their side, Stanford will certainly be putting up a strong fight.
To get a better idea of Palo Alto’s finest, we chatted with Charlie Foy, staff writer for SBN’s Stanford community: Rule of Tree. He was nice enough to answer our questions about what to expect from the Cardinal this year.
1. What’s your overall impression of how Stanford’s 2017 season went?
Stanford easily could’ve been 6-6 in the regular season last year. Three of their games, versus Utah, Oregon State, and Cal, were decided by three points or less. The Cardinal were lucky to sneak away with a 9-3 record and win the North. Plus, anytime you beat your crosstown rival, compete for the conference championship, and have a player finish in the Heisman voting, you’ll consider your season a success. So to answer your question, I was very happy with how the season turned out.
2. Will Stanford be better or worse in 2018?
The offense will be significantly better. They return pretty much everybody. Meanwhile, the defense will be significantly worse. The lose a handful of starters. Together, the team will probably finish with a similar record. The PAC-12 is a lot weaker this year, so Stanford does have a good chance at winning the conference.
3. What’s going to be the biggest change between last year’s Stanford team and this one?
Stanford’s defense wasn’t exactly shutting down their opponents last year but will be even worse in 2018. Harrison Phillips was a rock last year in the front seven, and the departures of Justin Reid and Quenton Meeks will be huge blows in the secondary. Simply put, they are losing a lot of pieces, and there will be many new faces in the starting lineup.
4. Who are the big name players to watch for Stanford this year?
Everyone knows plenty of the spotlight will be on Bryce Love. At full health, he’ll be nearly unstoppable again. There’s also KJ Costello, who turned heads in his first season. However, the team’s X-factor will be linebacker Bobby Okereke. He impressed against Washington and Notre Dame, and the team will rely on him in 2018. If he steps up, the defense might be decent.
5. What’s your prediction for this team’s game against Notre Dame this year?
I’m picking the Irish. Stanford’s defense lost too many players, and with the game in South Bend, Notre Dame has an edge. Full disclosure though, I’ve picked this game incorrectly the past two years…