Friday, November 9, 2012

Stanford's QB Change and the 49ers

On Tuesday, Stanford made a change at QB and 49ers fans should take notice.  The move to Redshirt Freshman Kevin Hogan came as little surprise.  Hogan had replaced season long starter Josh Nunes near the end of the first quarter in on Saturday against Colorado and led the offense on 6 straight scoring drives, 5 of them touchdowns.

Of making this decision Shaw said, "Kevin gives us that added dimension as a runner.  It's rare to be able to run and throw as well as be able to handle all the things we need him to handle."

When questioned on why he chose to go with Nunes to start the season Shaw said, "He was the only quarterback we had at the time who could handle and execute the game plan."

Shaw didn't just throw Hogan to the wolves on Saturday.  He had been utilizing Hogan in the Hogan Package, a series of plays from the shotgun formation.  He was very effective in this role and threw his first touchdown pass in Stanford's win over Cal.

Why do I bring this up, and why should 49ers fans care what is happening down on The Farm?  I find this situation to be somewhat similar to what is taking place down in Santa Clara.  Close observers of the 49ers and Stanford football programs will tell you that the offenses for both teams are nearly carbon copies.  And that makes sense given the amount of time Stanford coach David Shaw spent working under and with 49ers Heach Coach Jim Harbaugh and Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman.

The 49ers have also used their version of the Hogan Package.  The WildKaep, featuring Colin Kaeparnick as the QB in a series of plays from the shotgun formation has been utilized throughout the preseason and parts of 5 games during the regular season.

When questioned about the use of Kaepernick, Roman's response was very similar to that of Shaw.  "He brings in a different dynamic when we bring him in there" Roman said, "We run some quarterback runs, some play actions off those types of plays."

Do I foresee a change coming to the quarterback spot for the 49ers any time soon?  No.  Alex Smith is playing as good as he has at any point in his career right now.

The change at Stanford, and the way their offense performs and attacks defenses is something that any 49er fan who can watch their games in person or on TV should pay attention to.  It will probably be very similar to what you will see from the 49ers when Colin Kaepernick eventually starts a game.

When that will happen, only time will tell.  If this team falls short of the Super Bowl, it could make for a very interesting off season.

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