The Stanford Cardinal and Oklahoma State Cowboys had themselves outstanding regular seasons respectfully, but for the Cardinal, they feel they have something else to prove for one of their own; quarterback Andrew Luck.
Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton and few offensive players met with the media at the Camelback Inn in Scottsdale on Wednesday, when a reporter posed a question to tight end Coby Fleener:
What will be the keys to Stanford's offensive success?
"That Andrew Luck gets to the game on time."
Over confidence? Hardly. Fleener just knows that Luck comes as advertised:
What do you think that people watching Stanford play for the first time will notice?
"That Andrew's really all he's cracked up to be," Fleener said. "That he is the best player in the nation and he deserves that title."
Luck is only one man, and the Cowboys will have a lot more to deal with than just him. There will be lots of run game coming for the Card, and Andrew Luck doing the dirty work in the red zone. Couple that with the amount of depth this Stanford squad possesses, and the options become innumerable for the offense:
"I tell you, it will make a big difference for us, just to have the ability to be multiple in our personnel groupings," Hamilton said. "This gives us the ability to line up in power run formations with the same personnel grouping that we can line up in empty formations, with no backs in the backfield. And in the red zone, those guys present matchup problems for their opponents."
The red zone won't be the only area of difficulty for the OSU defense, seeing that they play mostly spread offenses in the Big 12. Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Bill Young spoke about the challenge of dealing with the Cardinals physical style of play that they frankly haven't seen much of this season:
"We've been playing basketball on grass for about nine games, and all of a sudden it's going to be smash mouth football; that's hard to simulate."
If the Cardinal can control the ball and limit the turnovers, they will be quite a tough team to beat.