With the Indianapolis Colts luring Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton away to the NFL, Cardinal head coach David Shaw has been forced to re-arrange his coaching staff.
Shaw on Tuesday announced several staff changes to lead the Cardinal offense into the 2013 season following a Rose Bowl championship season in 2012.
Mike Bloomgren has been elevated to Andrew Luck Director of Offense/Offensive Coordinator (Hamilton's previous position), while continuing to coach the offensive line. Bloomgren has been Stanford's run-game coordinator the past two years.
Four of Bloomgren's five starting offensive linemen earned All-Pac-12 honors this season: David Yankey (first team), Kevin Danser and Sam Schwartzstein (second team), and Cameron Fleming (honorable mention). Yankey was the 2012 Morris Trophy winner for the Outstanding Lineman in the Pac-12 Conference, as voted by the league's defensive linemen -- Stanford's first winner since 2002.
The Cardinal offensive line afforded 200-plus yards rushing in six games this season, paving the way for record-breaking senior Stepfan Taylor. Taylor produced the best season of his career (109.29 yards/game) behind the most inexperienced offensive line of his career. Stanford's 37 combined career offensive line starts coming into the season ranked 103rd in the FBS.
"I'm very excited about elevating Mike Bloomgren," said Shaw. "He was the only choice. We didn't interview anybody else, and we didn't want to interview anyone else. Mike has done an outstanding job with our offensive line and run game, though he's more than an offensive line coach.
"He understands our offense and how diverse we need to be to attack defenses. We hope to continue the success we've had on offense, while also improving in many areas, and Mike is the right guy to lead us to our goals."
Also transitioning in his third season, former running backs coach Mike Sanford has taken over Stanford's quarterbacks and wide receivers, while continuing his duties as recruiting coordinator.
Sanford mentored Taylor, the Doak Walker Award semifinalist, the past two years. Taylor rushed for two of the top three seasons in school history: 1,530 yards in 2012, 1,330 yards in 2011. Taylor rewrote Stanford's career rushing record (4,300 yards), along with the school marks for career touchdowns (45), career 100-yard rushing games (21) and career rushing attempts (843).
Under Sanford's direction in 2011, the Cardinal's deep and versatile rushing attack ranked 18th nationally, averaging 210.6 yards per game. Stanford's final rushing total of 2,738 yards was the third-highest single-season mark in school history. The Cardinal also set a single-game record for rushing yardage, when it rolled up 446 yards on the ground against No. 22 Washington.
"The last two years, Mike Sanford has done a great job with our running backs. Now I am able to move him back to his natural position in the passing game," said Shaw. "He played quarterback and assisted us while we coached the quarterbacks in 2007-08. He has worked with our quarterbacks and wide receivers in ballhandling and protections. Now he will do a great job working with me to continue developing our passing game."
Replacing Sanford as running backs coach is former Cardinal quarterback Tavita Pritchard, who for the last two years served as a defensive assistant and worked closely with Associate Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Derek Mason.
"Tavita Pritchard is one of the brightest young coaches I have ever been around," said Shaw. "He has been phenomenal helping Derek Mason on defense. He was instrumental to the turnaround of our program when he was our starting quarterback and a team leader. I'm excited to have him back on our offense coaching the running backs."
The Cardinal is currently in the midst of winter training before returning to the field February 25 for the start of 2013 spring practices. The Cardinal & White Spring Game will be held April 13.
Hamilton, meanwhile, returns to the NFL after spending a very successful three seasons at Stanford. He'll rejoin former Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck and tight end Coby Fleener.
"He (Luck) will be a tremendous asset helping me to make the transition to the Colts," said Hamilton.
Luck (339-of-627 for 4,374 yards and 23 TDs) set NFL rookie records in attempts, yards and 300-yard games (six). Luck ranked fifth in NFL attempts, 10th in completions, seventh in yards and 17th in yards per attempt (6.98). His 12.9 yards-per-completion was near the top of the league.