The Stanford Cardinal enjoyed a very successful 2012, which saw the Cardinal win the Pac 12 Championship and earn a berth in the Rose Bowl Game, Stanford’s first appearance since 1999. Head coach David Shaw won the Pac 12 Coach of the Year award for the second straight year, but has lost his offensive coordinator, Pep Hamilton, to the Indianapolis Colts. The school has announced Mike Bloomgren will be promoted to take Hamilton’s spot, but will a new coordinator mean a new Stanford in 2013?
Bloomgren takes over the offensive coordinator job, better known as the Andrew Luck Director of Offense at Stanford, after spending the last two seasons as the offensive line coach and running game coordinator. Since he’s been overseeing the offensive line, four of Stanford’s five starting offensive linemen have earned all-league honors, including David Yankey who was an All-American this year and won the Pac 12‘s Morris Trophy as the top offensive lineman in the conference.
In short, he’s been responsible for building the hard-nosed identity that has helped Stanford reach back to back BCS bowl games. And David Shaw couldn’t be happier to promote him:
“I’m very excited about elevating Mike Bloomgren. 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.”
While Hamilton, who also acted as the quarterbacks coach, was expected to expand the passing game for Kevin Hogan in his sophomore season, expect Bloomgren to continue to focus the Stanford offense on establishing a tough, physical running game. Hogan will be pivotal to their success, of course, but he’ll likely be asked to be more efficient than proficient, which he showed he could do very well this season.
In reality, the offensive philosophy isn’t likely to change in Palo Alto all too dramatically. Last season, Stanford threw the ball less per game than any other team in the Pac 12, and they’ll likely keep that trend going next season. The Cardinal will rely on their offensive line and jumbo sets to move the football methodically under Bloomgren, using the pass to punish defenses who try and crowd the box.
The continued reliance on the running game will help Hogan develop at a more even pace, without the added pressure of having the entire offensive thrust onto his shoulders at once. It will also allow for a young and inexperienced group of receivers and tight ends to acclimate themselves before being forced to become play makers before they’re ready.
The identity of Stanford has become a tough, hard-nosed, run first team who will line up and knock the defense around on their way to the end zone. Mike Bloomgren has helped to develop that identity over the last two seasons, and he’ll continue to cultivate it as the offensive coordinator in 2013 and beyond.