The Stanford Cardinal are taking on the Washington Huskies this Saturday, and Washington's defense has to go up against Stanford's unique offense, which has four fullbacks on its roster. On Monday, Washington head coach Chris Petersen said he explained the concept of fullbacks to his defense, and they were “very intrigued.”
Chris Petersen on facing Stanford's offense:— Tim Booth (@ByTimBooth) November 6, 2017
"We explained what a fullback is to our defense. They were very intrigued."
You can’t really blame them for having this reaction. Stanford’s one of the few modern offenses that still actively uses fullbacks — senior Daniel Marx has played in all nine of the Cardinal’s games so far.
“We’re trying to lead the nation in fullbacks,” head coach David Shaw said via The Mercury News in August. “We have multiple scholarship guys there right now.”
A banged up Cardinal RB Bryce Love was held to just 69 rushing yards on 16 carries, just 4.3 yards per attempt during Stanford’s 24-21 loss to Washington State. Perhaps we’ll see more of Marx getting involved on Saturday.
“I love playing fullback,” Marx said. “I’ve played it ever since I can remember, since I was a little kid. I guess in terms of utility in the offense, it can kind of give you different options and different looks. As Ryan Hewitt (Stanford, ’14) did it the best, or the most obvious, you could split him out as a tight end and kind of run all this stuff. And then bring him back in the backfield and ask him to lead block. I think it’s just the ability to be versatile that allows you to kind of do that, while being able to run downhill at 100 miles an hour and hit someone as hard as you can. That’s always fun.”
What’s even more intriguing about Stanford’s offense has become somewhat of a signature for it — the offensive line’s gigantic formations. My colleague Richard Johnson penned a love letter to them last season:
"Brevity is the soul of wit."
And there is nothing brief or funny about Stanford. The drives are long and the method of play soberingly serious.
You tell me what is funny about this. This is Stanford trotting out n-i-n-e offensive lineman for a formation in practice.
In fact, these types of jumbo formations have been used frequently against Washington before:
Stay intrigued, Washington.