CardinalSportsReport - Notebook: Defending the triple option
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Notebook: Defending the triple option

Stanford's defense will face a test on Saturday in the form of an Army offense that runs a triple-option offense.
In their first game under new Black Knight head coach Jeff Monken, Army scored 47 points in a win over Buffalo. The triple option fueled an effective ground game that gained 341 yards.
Last year, Army rushed for 284 yards (4.7 yards per carry) against the Cardinal's stout defensive front.
"We have to get ready for the triple option," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "We have to get ready for the ball going a bunch of different directions. Last year's experience I think helps us but this is a different coaching staff, it's kind of a different deal offensively for them. They've added some things, they've subtracted some things. It's going to be a good week for the defense to really prepare for these guys."
Army's offense isn't only deceptive - it's also unusual. The Black Knights are one of the few teams in college football that run a triple option and the accompanying cut blocking scheme.
"I'd say it's pretty unusual," Stanford defensive tackle David Parry said. "Most teams do end up cutting off the backside but this team likes to cut out in space. I think it's more tough for our linebackers and db's that have to see so many cuts out in space rather than guys in the trenches who are used to a decent amount of cuts normally throughout the season."
Stanford is doing its best in practice to prepare for Army's blocking scheme.
Though Stanford does not ask its offense to cut in practice, the Cardinal does run a variety of drills designed to help defenders safely shed cut blocks.
"We hit it in drill work every day," Cardinal inside linebackers coach Peter Hansen said. "We do it maybe once a week, we throw a bag at their legs and work on the cut block protection type technique. We've done it several times a day now just in the short, individual periods we have. And just trying to get that mental mindset that we're going to get cut, for sure, but we're also going to put on film some great block protection and we're going to use our hands and have low pads and do a great job keeping guys off our legs. We've done it with drill work and what we talk about."
On the other side of the ball, Stanford's offense will probably be without its leading rusher from a week ago, Remound Wright. Wright suffered an undisclosed injury against USC.
"I think we're going to hold Remound," Shaw said on Thursday. "He practiced well yesterday and was a little sore. So if we give him the week off this week and then the bye week he should be ready to go for Washington. We're going to need him throughout the year. It's close to the final say that's what's going to happen. We're going to talk about it again after practice today. But it looks like we'll probably hold Remound out."
Stanford's front seven, on the other hand, should get a boost this week with the return of reserve inside linebacker Kevin Palma, who missed the USC game with a lower body injury.
"It looks like Palma is going to go," Shaw said on Thursday.
One of only two freshmen or redshirt freshmen in Stanford's two-deep on defense, Palma made significant improvements to his game between spring ball and fall camp.
"One of the main things we always talk about in our room is our eyes, and are we getting our eyes in the right place," Peter Hansen said. "And your eyes will get your feet there and your hands and everything like that. In the spring he struggled a little bit with it but he progressed rapidly at the same time. We saw there was going to be a high ceiling. And we saw he was taking great steps towards it. That's how he got our attention in the spring and then his improvement from then until fall was dramatic."
Have any of Stanford's younger players caught Shaw's eye on the scout team early in the year?
"A lot of guys have practiced well," Shaw said. "Isaiah Brandt-Sims I think has been great. He's played some running back, he's played some receiver for the scout team. Dallas Lloyd has been great running the scout team, a lot of what he did in high school. Dontonio Jordan has had a great week of practice. He hasn't had a chance to play a lot here, but he did a good job. He did the same thing like Isaiah, played some receiver, played some running back, showed some toughness running between the tackles there, that was great to see."
One on one with: Stanford defensive end Blake Lueders
CSR: When you guys played Army last year you were an outside linebacker, now you're a defensive lineman. What's the hardest thing about playing an offense that cut blocks, runs a triple option, presents some new looks to you guys?
Blake Lueders: They have a lot of different looks, a lot of different ways to block on their offense, but you can't hesitate. You have to play fast. You have to know your assignment as far as being the dive player, the quarterback or the pitch. I think where they capitalize on teams who have guys who either hesitate or try to play both the dive and the quarterback and just try to play the ball, do a little too much. Really, I think it comes down to team defense and everybody doing their assignment and executing.
CSR: I know Coach Shaw has said that you guys aren't cutting every day in practice or anything, but are there things that you guys can do to prepare for that type of blocking?
BL: We do a lot of cut drills. We don't cut in the scrimmage team periods itself, but when we're starting practice just with Coach Hart we'll do some cut drills. We still get some good work on it and should be ready for it.
CSR: What is your assessment of the front seven over these first two games? What are you guys doing that you think you're doing well, what are you doing that maybe needs to be shored up?
BL: I think we've done overall pretty well but there is always room for improvement. I think we can always get more knock back - that's one thing we always talk about, not losing your gap integrity, always having your gap. Those two things are the two most basic things for the front seven and I think we've done a good job on that or the most part, but consistency, every now and then a play, one or two guys will be out of place. That can make a big difference.
CSR: With your defensive line, you guys don't exactly go two-deep at every spot yet. You basically rotated four guys against SC? Is that manageable for you guys? How difficult is that not having a ton of depth there right now?
BL: I think we all felt pretty good against SC. If need be a four-man rotation, we can do it. Ideally we'll have some more guys step up in the next coming weeks, so we'll see.
CSR: Segueing from that, who are some of those guys who might be strong candidates to step up?
BL: Luke Kaumatule and Nate Lohn continue to get better. They're chomping at the bit. I think how I was talking about myself earlier, every bit of game experience I get at d-line is big for me. I think it's even bigger for them. So hopefully they'll get some good playing time this week that will help build their confidence and they'll be more comfortable playing d-line in the game.