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Will Hogan Slump After Misleading Start To Career?

by Henry McKenna
Sep 03, 2013 4:18 PM EDT



Hogan has started six games against four ranked opponents. It's a small sample size, but an impressive one with a 6-0 record. While the Cardinal players look at their first four games with drooling mouths — San Jose State, Army, Arizona State, Washington State — the team will see Washington on Kevin Hogan’s 11th start of his career.

2012-13 Starts

Passes

Completions

Yards

TDs

INTs

Colorado

23

18

184

2

0

Oregon State

29

22

254

3

2

Oregon

36

25

211

1

1

UCLA

22

15

160

1

0

UCLA

22

16

155

1

0

Wisconsin

19

12

123

0

0

Total

151

108

1,067

8

3

That’s when the pressure begins to mount, and in a sense, Hogan will be beginning his “sophomore season” against UCLA. It will be his 13th career start, as if he had played a full regular season.

With an extra week and too much time to worry, I wonder whether Hogan may regress at a sophomoric moment in his career, which is inconveniently located at the hardest part of the 2013 schedule.

The table tells the story of Hogan’s passing stats thus far. His rushing brought an important element to the Stanford offense, and while he has six wins to brag about, his passing performances were not all that impressive. He has only completed 108 passes. Safety valve Zac Ertz accounts for 373 of Hogan’s 1,067 passing yards. Hogan’s numbers make him look like a game manager against ranked opponents.

Sophomore slumps are a superstition in sports, and yet they exist. They happen.

At the pivotal moment in Stanford’s season, Hogan will have padded his stats and developed a rapport with his receivers. The Stanford stable of running back will have established a pecking order. He already knows when to run the ball and when to stay in the pocket. Everything should be going right for the young quarterback. He might even consider himself a wizened veteran — but that would be sophomoric. The tough part is yet to come.

He faces Washington, Utah, UCLA, Oregon State, Oregon, USC, Cal and Notre Dame. Hogan should be at a point in his development where he is the centerpiece of the offense. However, Stanford may not need Hogan to win the game for them. As they showed last year, they rely on a team effort. If Hogan is willing to step back from the spotlight, made conservative decisions, Stanford might have a better chance of winning big games. In the Oregon State game, when he needed to generate points in a hurry, he threw two interceptions. Both came while Stanford was losing and the second was forced deep into coverage. He did, however, turn around and throw game-winning touchdown.

It’s hard to say how far he and his receivers will come in the first four games of the season, but I fear Hogan might try to do too much. He’s an excellent quarterback, but he’s not the best player on the team. In fact, he’s not even in the Top 5 (Skov, Reynolds, Murphey, Yankey, Flemming).

Anything could happen, but come October, coach Shaw might be asking Hogan to do less and let the rest of his team win the game. If he tries to do too much, we may see Hogan look sophomoric or just plan foolish.