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Yurosek aims to maintain Stanford tight end legacy in new coach Taylor’s offense

Yurosek aims to maintain Stanford tight end legacy in new coach Taylor’s offense

STANFORD – Of almost 100 Stanford football players whose portraits are shown on the 2023 team roster, one group stands out.

The tight ends all wore thick black-framed glasses when they took their individual portraits – a nod to the legacy of their predecessors who prided themselves on “intellectual brutality” and used smarts and physicality to dominate the line of scrimmage.

The Cardinal struggled to run the ball or stop the run in recent years, and appeared to give up on that mentality entirely by implementing a hurry-up spread offense under new coach Troy Taylor.

But senior Benjamin Yurosek said the tight end group is still trying to return to its roots and play hard-nosed, old-school football.

“We grew up watching Stanford and that style of play,” Yurosek said. “I think the Stanford man always has the same mentality. I don’t think any of that changes. Obviously, our offense is a complete 180 from last year, but talking about the person and the mentality we’re still aggressive SOBs and we want to get after people just like we did back in the day.”

A 2023 portrait photo of Stanford tight end Benjamin Yurosek. 

The Bakersfield-raised Yurosek hopes to carry on the recent run of great tight ends at Stanford. Seven Cardinal tight ends were drafted between 2012-2020, including Coby Fleener, Zach Ertz and Dalton Schultz.

“You can check the resume, the legacy. From 2010, there’s not one school better,” Yurosek said. “Every time I see ‘Tight End U’ (about a school) other than Stanford, I get a little pissed.”

And while Taylor’s offense may utilize the tight end position differently than it was used in the pro-style offense under former coach David Shaw, there are still many opportunities for production. Last year, when Taylor coached at Sacramento State, tight end Marshel Martin led the team in receptions (65), receiving yards (879) and touchdowns (12).

Yurosek was named all-Pac-12 second-team tight end by the Associated Press last year after catching 49 passes for 445 yards and one TD.

Whether Yurosek can approach Martin’s totals is somewhat dependent on other factors — how quickly an offensive line with four new starters can jell, whether the running backs can stay healthy and force defenses to respect the running game, and perhaps most importantly, whether the Cardinal can get consistent QB play from a group that combined has thrown 31 career passes in college.

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But Yurosek is focused on what he can control for now, such as adjusting to a new offensive system.

“We have a lot of new stuff coming in,” Yurosek said. “So learning that in Year 1 and not just learning it but becoming an expert in it and knowing it like the back of your hand so when you’re out there, you’re not thinking, you’re just playing.”

Yurosek feels that the production will come if the players can learn Taylor’s system quickly enough.

“This guy wins every place he goes,” Yurosek said. “So we’re excited to score some points like he always does.”