Ho­gan pre­pares for any­thing – and ev­ery­thing

McLean na­tive stu­dious in ef­forts to lead Car­di­nal

The Washington Times Daily - - Weather - BY ZAC BOYER

PALO ALTO, CALIF. | Watch Kevin Ho­gan in team meet­ings, and the in­ten­sity with which the Stan­ford quar­ter­back crams de­tailed notes onto ev­ery pa­per is a spec­ta­cle in it­self.

Khalil Wilkes finds it en­ter­tain­ing. Ear­lier this sea­son, as Stan­ford pre­pared to face Ari­zona State, Wilkes no­ticed Ho­gan jot­ting down the ten­den­cies of de­fen­sive tackle Will Sut­ton, the reign­ing PAC-12 de­fen­sive player of the year.

It’s one thing for Ho­gan to dis­sect the scout­ing re­port on lineback­ers and de­fen­sive backs, try­ing to un­der­stand their habits. But de­fen­sive line­men?

“I thought it was kind of weird,” Wilkes, Stan­ford’s center, said, laugh­ing. “I was like, ‘Why do you got to write so much about him? Why do you got to write that his best move is a club-and-rip? What does that re­ally do for you?’ That’s just the way he trains.”

For Ho­gan, his sep­a­ra­tion is in his prepa­ra­tion. In his first full sea­son as a starter, the McLean na­tive and grad­u­ate of Gon­zaga Col­lege High School in the Dis­trict has the Car­di­nal (8-2) en­ter­ing the “Big Game” on Satur­day against Cal ranked No. 9 in the Bowl Cham­pi­onship Se­ries standings and No. 10 in the As­so­ci­ated Press poll.

Af­ter tak­ing over as the starter with five games re­main­ing last sea­son, Ho­gan, a red­shirt sopho­more, led Stan­ford to vic­to­ries over UCLA in the PAC-12 cham­pi­onship game and Wis­con­sin in the Rose Bowl. He won his first 10 starts, has thrown three touch­down passes in a game three times and has won all eight games Stan­ford has played against a ranked op­po­nent.

But as Ho­gan has learned, it’s not al­ways that easy. Stan­ford’s chances of cap­tur­ing a sec­ond

con­sec­u­tive PAC-12 ti­tle took a sub­stan­tial hit Satur­day when he threw an in­ter­cep­tion with 3:07 re­main­ing, al­low­ing USC to emerge with a 20-17 vic­tory fol­low­ing a 47-yard field goal.

“He hates los­ing,” left guard David Yankey said. “You see it on his face and ev­ery­thing af­ter the game, but as soon as it’s over, as soon as we move on to Sun­day, he’s back to work. He’s in the weight room lift­ing. He’s get­ting ready for the next op­po­nent be­cause he knows he doesn’t want to let that hap­pen. He knows he doesn’t want to have a sec­ond let­down.”

Ho­gan made his de­but last Novem­ber in a game against Colorado, re­plac­ing Josh Nunes on the fi­nal play of the first quar­ter. Af­ter he threw for 184 yards, ran for 48 more and led Stan­ford to a 48-0 vic­tory, the Buf­faloes’ first home shutout in 26 years, coach David Shaw an­nounced Ho­gan would take over as the start­ing quar­ter­back.

Rather than im­me­di­ately call home and share the news with his par­ents, Jerry and Donna, Ho­gan in­stead waited un­til the next time they spoke. That type of hu­mil­ity was what struck Shaw upon first meet­ing Ho­gan, who was sold on Stan­ford within an hour of his first re­cruit­ing trip.

The Car­di­nal’s coaches first be­came aware of Ho­gan af­ter Pep Hamil­ton, Stan­ford’s wide re­ceivers coach in 2010 and now the In­di­anapo­lis Colts’ of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor, un­earthed his high­lights on an East Coast re­cruit­ing trip. Hamil­ton shared the tape with then-coach Jim Har­baugh and with Shaw, who was im­pressed by what he saw.

“I watched 2 1⁄2 games, and all the games were played in rain, played in mud, but he never slipped,” Shaw said. “That’s the sign of a real ath­lete. A lot of guys, when it’s sunny and beau­ti­ful, [stand out]. He’s play­ing in mud, he never slipped, he made guys miss, he ran, he threw the ball deep in windy con­di­tions and rainy con­di­tions. It was like he was play­ing on a sunny day. That was ex­cit­ing to see.”

Ho­gan com­mit­ted to Stan­ford in June 2010, be­fore his se­nior year at Gon­zaga. His de­ci­sion was only so­lid­i­fied months later when, the fol­low­ing Jan­uary, An­drew Luck de­cided he would re­turn to Stan­ford for another sea­son.

That al­lowed Ho­gan to learn as much as he could from the fu­ture No. 1 over­all pick, who led Stan­ford to an 11-2 record that sea­son that ended with a loss to Ok­la­homa State in the Fi­esta Bowl.

“I try and carry over as much as I can from what he was do­ing,” Ho­gan said of Luck. “He was the ul­ti­mate game man­ager. He was a great leader in off­sea­son work­outs with the team. Ev­ery­one re­spected him — re­ally, just his hard work, his work ethic. He’d al­ways be in there watch­ing film af­ter prac­tice, and [it was im­pres­sive] how he car­ried him­self off the field when the cam­eras might not be on him.”

When Ho­gan learned Luck was in­stru­men­tal in set­ting up sum­mer work­outs with his team­mates, he wanted to do so as well. He and Yankey were among the play­ers who over­saw a vol­un­tary sixweek pro­gram in June and July de­signed to mimic ev­ery as­pect of an in-sea­son prac­tice.

Run­ning back Tyler Gaffney, who took last sea­son off to play mi­nor league base­ball, has seen a change in Ho­gan’s ma­tu­rity and con­fi­dence.

Last year, Gaffney said, Ho­gan “was Brett Favre­ing it: Run­ning around, throw­ing the ball to open guys, not fully un­der­stand­ing” what he had to do. Now, he com­pre­hends the com­plex­i­ties of the play­book — and team­mates are tak­ing note.

“He’s tak­ing care of the ex­tracur­ric­u­lar of, ‘We need the hus­tle out of you,’ or ‘We need this out of you,’ tak­ing more of a lead­er­ship role and un­der­stand­ing where he fits in on the of­fense,” Gaffney said. “Ob­vi­ously, in games, ev­ery­one makes a mis­take here or there, but when it comes to go­ing to prac­tice and what we’ve done, he’s right on point.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Gon­zaga Col­lege High School prod­uct Kevin Ho­gan, who won his first 10 starts at Stan­ford, im­presses his Car­di­nal team­mates with how de­tailed he is get­ting ready for a game.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

His hard work be­fore the game al­lows quar­ter­back Kevin Ho­gan to en­joy the perks of suc­cess af­ter the game, as he did in lead­ing Stan­ford past Oregon two weeks ago.

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