"Jim's a tough guy and you can see his personality is all over this football team," Fitzgerald said.
Bits from Annar Rankings
Taking a look at the past 2 years of the rankings there are a few things of interest. Let's start with Coach Shafer at Western Michigan in 2006.
- 2006 W. Michigan Rushing Defense - Rating: 36 (17th in the nation)
- 2006 W. Michigan Passing Defense - Rating: 1 (57th in the nation)
- 2006 W. Michigan Total Defense - Rating 37 (23rd in the nation)
- 2007 W. Michigan Rushing Defense - Rating: -19 (79th in the nation)
- 2007 W. Michigan Passing Defense - Rating: 0 (62nd in the nation)
- 2007 W. Michigan Total Defense - Rating -19 (75th in the nation)
Everyone would expect the rushing defense to drop with less aggressive play calling. I was surprised that the passing defense also slightly dropped despite 4 returning starters in the secondary and corners that weren't being left on an island as often. How did things change for Stanford from 2006 to 2007? I'm glad you asked.
- 2006 Stanford Rushing Defense - Rating: -55 (115th in the nation)
- 2006 Stanford Passing Defense - Rating: 32 (15th in the nation)
- 2006 Stanford Total Defense - Rating -23 (85th in the nation)
The passing defense may be a result of a defense that let guys run through them like Paris Hilton. This is just speculation since I admit to not watching a single '06 Stanford game. On to 2007
- 2007 Stanford Rushing Defense - Rating: -20 (83rdh in the nation)
- 2007 Stanford Passing Defense - Rating:- 32 (107th in the nation)
- 2007 Stanford Total Defense - Rating -52 (104th in the nation)
Ouch, the rushing defense was about the same with a boost in ranking because of sacks. The passing defense was bad, ND bad (which by the way finished dead last in 2007 for total offense). But Stanford only had 1 returning starter in the secondary.
What does it all mean? I have no idea. But in a year when everyone is looking at the offense things should be just as interesting on the defensive side of the ball.
"we return our entire defensive line, plus our starting corners, and a LB. we'll be very good defensively"
RRod has not wavered between early March and now that LB is the strongest position group on the team.