Stanford Notebook | November 23, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - November 23, 2012

Stanford Notebook

by Rick Eymer

When Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan gets excited, at least those in the media, he'll smile a little and continue answering questions in a bland manner, never changing expression.

After the 11th-ranked Cardinal (7-1, 9-2) beat then No. 1 and undefeated Oregon in Eugene on Saturday, he was exceedingly dull in his answers to the sideline reporter and even more so in the postgame interview room.

"He's like that all the time," Cardinal linebacker Shayne Skov said Tuesday. "We always kid him about sitting down for an interview in 'Talladega Nights.'"

It's in reference to the comedy featuring Will Ferrell who gives one-word answers in his first major interview.

Two starts into his major college career, Hogan has maintained a cool, calm demeanor that defies his alert, hyper personality on the field. That's probably how he likes it. Cool on the inside while dissecting the defense with laser precise inside.

The most animated he got during the weekly press conference was describing his fumble during the overtime period.

"I dove in there and got my hands on it," Hogan said in a monotone. "Then I heard the refs yell "white ball, white ball" and breathed a sigh of relief."

His best contribution in the game? "Getting us into the right plays," he said. "I made some mistakes and turned the ball over."

* * *

On Friday night, the Stanford women's basketball team knocked off No. 1 Baylor, 71-69. Chiney Ogwumike then tweeted to the football team: "You're up."

The Cardinal football team was watching their usual movie together when coach David Shaw reported the news about the win.

"The room erupted," Shaw said. "I think it is special. They lost one of the best players in the country and are trying to prove to themselves they are good and we lost one of the best players in the country and we still want to prove to ourselves we're good."

The No. 1 ranked Stanford women's soccer team and No. 1 ranked women's volleyball team also won over the weekend.

Shaw encourages his players to support other sports. Football players were seen at both Sunday's soccer match and men's basketball game.

Shaw and women's coach Tara VanDerveer talk every week.

"I've also talked to Dick Gould and Skip Kenney," Shaw said. "The biggest topic is how to coach these highly-motivated, highly-skilled athletes."

* * *

California officially announced that football coach Jeff Tedford is out and a new search will begin immediately.

Tedford, who came to Cal from Oregon, spent the past 11 years in Berkeley, taking over a program that was in the doldrums and turning it around.

"We got to know each other quite a bit," Shaw said. "I have a lot of respect for him as a football coach and as a person. It's always a sad day, particularly what he's been able to accomplish. The way he conducted himself was exemplary."

Tedford won a school record 82 games during his tenure, which included five bowl victories.

"This was an extraordinarily difficult decision, one that required a thorough and thoughtful analysis of a complex set of factors," athletic director Sandy Barbour said in a statement. "Ultimately, I believed that we needed a change in direction to get our program back on the right track."

* * *

Stanford heads south to face UCLA on Saturday, in what could be a tuneup for a return visit in January for the Rose Bowl game.

A victory over the Bruins, who already have clinched the South Division title, will put both teams in the Pac-12 Championship Game on Nov. 30 at Stanford Stadium at 5 p.m. Should the Cardinal win that, it will return to the Rose Bowl (site) and play in the Rose Bowl (game) for the first time since the 1999 season (2000 game).

Thus, Stanford controls its destiny. All it has to do is beat UCLA twice and it's on to Pasadena — again. With a victory Saturday, Stanford would record three straight 10-win seasons for the first time in school history and Shaw would become the first head coach at Stanford to reach 10 wins in each of his first two seasons.

* * *

The Cardinal has won 11 of its past 12 games played in November dating to 2009. In its three November games this season, Stanford's defense has allowed only eight third-down conversions (19.1 percent) against Oregon, Oregon State and Colorado.

* * *

By facing No. 15 UCLA, Stanford will be taking on its third straight nationally ranked opponent following wins over Oregon State (then No. 13) and Oregon (then No. 1). The last time the Cardinal played three consecutive ranked opponents was 2007. However, Stanford has yet to defeat three ranked teams in three straight games.

* * *

Stanford currently ranks first in the NCAA in tackles for loss (9.27 per game) and is second nationally in both rushing defense (71.18 yards per game) and sacks (4.18 per game). The Cardinal also owns the 10th-best scoring defense (16.91 points a game) and ranked sixth in third-down defensive efficiency (28.74). After recording a plus-11 turnover margin (No. 7 in the nation) through its first nine games, Stanford has suffered a minus-five turnover margin over its past two games. UCLA, meanwhile, ranks 110th (of 120 FBS schools) in sacks allowed (3.45/game) and is tied for 117th in tackles for loss allowed (7.91/game).

* * *

Stanford beat UCLA last season in Stanford Stadium, 45-19. In the last meeting in the Rose Bowl, the Cardinal prevailed, 35-0, in 2010. Andrew Luck threw a combined five touchdown passes in the two wins.