By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Online Sports
Ty Montgomery is part of a group of receivers who give the Stanford football team something it hasn't had since, well, since both Chris Owusu and Montgomery were healthy and playing together.
Cardinal coach David Shaw said the speedy Montgomery, Devon Cajuste and others possess can only add to the overall diversity that Stanford would like to have at its disposal on offense.
"Those guys can go deep and they have to be covered," Shaw said following Stanford's 34-20 victory host Army on Saturday. "That opens up the running game. If they focus on the running game, it opens the play action play, which we scored on twice during the game."
Stanford opens its Pac-12 Conference season against visiting Arizona State on Saturday at 4 p.m. The Sun Devils moved into the AP Top 25, at No. 23, after beating then No. 23 Wisconsin, 32-30, over the weekend.
Stanford remained at No. 5 in the nation, behind Alabama, Oregon, Clemson and Ohio State.
The Cardinal also should receive reports on injuries to defensive back Barry Browning and defensive end Henry Anderson.
Anderson, who left Saturday's game with a leg injury, appears to be the more serious. Browning was able to walk off the field under his own power.
Josh Mauro, though, more than made up for the loss of Anderson. He turned in his finest game performance yet.
"He took his game to another level," Shaw said. "He played out of his mind."
Mauro recorded seven tackles, six of which were unassisted, to match outside linebacker James Vaughters for the team lead.
"I consider Josh a starter," Shaw said. "Josh Mauro is going to play in the NFL."
Vaughters recovered a fumble in the second half, extending to a nation's-best 26 consecutive games in which Stanford of forcing at least one turnover.
Big offensive days for Montgomery and running back Tyler Gaffney are indication that Shaw is intent on using whatever means necessary to attack the opponent.
He still insists that big, physical backs like Gaffney and Anthony Wilkerson are at the heart of the game plan, but using the fullback and/or tight end in creative ways are also a component.
"They run so hard," Shaw said. "They're big, physical guys and drag people. To be the team we want to be, physical between the tackles, we need those two guys. Those two guys are our horses right now. We need that for our identity."
Senior fullback Ryan Hewitt did not play against Army and Hogan did not complete a pass to a tight end.
"We can be very balanced," Montgomery said. "The guys outside are doing their job to help the running game and when the ball is thrown our way, we catch them."
Stanford currently ranks 15th in the nation in total defense, allowing an average of 292 yards a game. The Cardinal is not among the top 50 in total offense.