'A two-way street:' Kevin Hogan touts better communication with Stanford coaches

STANFORD, Calif. -- Quarterback Kevin Hogan is surrounded by a roster in transition, but he might again be the primary hinge point for Stanford this season.

Consider last year's dramatic swing: Through the first 10 games in 2014, the Cardinal converted only about 50 percent of their red-zone opportunities and averaged only 24 points per game on the way to a 5-5 record -- a mark made especially disappointing considering the club's stellar defense.

Then came the reversal.

Stanford went undefeated while averaging 38 points in its final three games, when Hogan's completion percentage jumped from 64 to 76 percent and the offense scored on every one of its 27 trips to the red zone.

It's understandable, then, that the media is still trying to solve the riddle of his drastic turnaround at the end of last season. Hogan offered some insight a few months ago, but the fifth-year senior spoke publicly for the first time this season on Tuesday.

He explained that the offense found a better rapport with the coaching staff during its late-season hot streak, something that very well might have been linked to John Flacco's fiery locker room speech -- the impassioned plea that David Shaw and others have credited with bringing the team back together following its last loss of the season.

"We found a rhythm, an identity,” Hogan said. “We really started communicating well with our coaches. It was a two-way street going back and forth and I thought that worked very well for us."

He suggested that the healthy connection continued into the offseason.

"We've seen it the first two days [of camp]: They’re catering to us," Hogan said. They’re putting stuff in to allow us to play fast and to play smart.”

He added that the coaching staff "has done a great job throwing everything in the book at us this offseason" in an effort to ensure that the team is better prepared to handle adversity than in 2014. Throughout offseason conditioning, there was a renewed emphasis on attention to detail and a process-oriented approach to the game.

"I don't have [larger] personal expectations," Hogan said. "I just want to improve on whatever I can. I want to be 100 percent on every single run check and pass protection. I don't want turn the ball over and I want to make sure I get guys in the right positions."

Team cohesion, then, is what he considers to be the winning lottery ticket -- the one that can carry over 2014's sizzling finish and bring consistency back to Stanford football.

"A great team has many hands and one mind," Hogan said. "That's a quote we're really taking to heart this year. We're trying to all be together."