March 10, 2013
Shaw talks scrimmage
Stanford's second open practice of the spring was highlighted by a 77-play scrimmage that featured its fair share of explosive plays. Shaw declined to provide information about a kicker/punter who wore No. 45 during the two open spring practices. "He's not officially on the team yet," Shaw said. "We're just taking a look at him."
On defense, Kyle Olugbode made an interception and Kevin Anderson and Blake Lueders registered sacks. Kevin Hogan and Evan Crower led an offense which averaged 4.83 yards per play and scored two touchdowns. Most of the offense came in the passing game, where several receivers had strong performances.
"I thought it went very well," Stanford coach David Shaw said of the extended scrimmage. "I'm very excited about what the receivers did today. I thought they had a very nice day. Ty (Montgomery) getting down the field, he just barely missed a throw down the field. Michael Rector making a big play, Kelsey Young making a big play. That was a lot of fun."
According to the official Stanford athletics recap, Hogan completed 15-21 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown, while second-unit signal caller Evan Crower was 10-17 with 85 yards. Third-string quarterback Dallas Lloyd also received several snaps, and broke off a few nice runs.
"It's nice to have another running quarterback in the mix that can also throw," Shaw said of Lloyd. "We had some fun. The thing is our quarterbacks aren't live in these periods, but that drives him crazy. He wants to be live, he wants to be tackled he wants to hit and run through guys, so we made him live at the end and he did a good job."
As for the players assigned with the task of protecting the quarterback position, Shaw was reasonably pleased with the offensive line's performance. The coaches rotated plenty of players with the first and second units throughout the practice.
Conor McFadden began the scrimmage working with the first unit at center, but Kevin Danser and Khalil Wilkes also worked at the position. Likewise, Kyle Murphy and Josh Garnett received plenty of snaps with the first-string, in addition to the usual suspects like David Yankey, Andrus Peat, Cameron Fleming and Danser.
"I thought we did OK," Shaw said of the offensive line's performance. "We fumbled two snaps with Kevin Danser at center and sometimes a little 'he said/he said' there. Besides that I thought he did well. I thought Khalil has continued to make progress. Conor McFadden has made progress. We'll keep evaluating that position, but as far as the rest of the offensive line goes I've been really pleased, especially with the starters. Andrus Peat gave up a sack today on a great pass rush by Kevin (Anderson). Besides that, I think Andrus has been phenomenal. Another great day by him. Josh Garnett is picking it up. It's been fun to watch the guys start to gel this early. Because usually you don't gel on the offensive line until training camp. But they're starting to gel and it's been fun to watch."
Lueders, Vaughters competing at outside linebacker: While James Vaughters played with the first-unit defense during last weekend's open scrimmage, Blake Lueders received the first-team reps on Saturday. Vaughters and Lueders are currently engaged in a heated competition to replace Chase Thomas at the outside linebacker position opposite Trent Murphy.
But no matter who eventually earns the starting nod, both will play significant roles on the defense, Shaw said.
"You guys know my feeling on this," Shaw said. "Who starts the game is the dumbest stat kept in college football. Who cares? But it's important to some people. I really, really don't care. I know we're going to need both of those guys to play. They're both going to play a lot. And they're both hard to block. Lueders had a sack today, he had another couple of pressures on the quarterback. He was really tough off the edge. Both of those guys cause havoc in the backfield. I'm excited about where they both are."
Searching for defensive line depth: While Stanford's top four defensive linemen - Henry Anderson, David Parry, Josh Maurp and Ben Gardner - are as good as any defensive line quartet in the Pac-12, there isn't much in the way of proven depth at the position.
In the open practice, a number of younger, reserve defensive linemen took reps with the second and third units at defensive line. Shaw said that defensive tackle Ikenna Nwafor has shown some positive signs.
"You know, I really like where Ikenna Nwafor is," Shaw said. "He's just so big and so physical and so long. He fits right in there with what Josh Mauro and Henry Anderson have done as far as those taller defensive tackles we've been able to play with that can cause penetration and keep deflecting passes. We keep getting those passes deflected just like our guys did against other teams. Those guys have done very well."
Personnel Updates: Several players were held out of the Saturday scrimmage with injuries. Fullback Geoff Meinken[db] was "sore", Shaw said, and didn't participate for "precautionary" reasons. Shaw said that the same rationale applied to safety [db]Ed Reynolds and running back Ricky Seale. All three players, along with tight end Charlie Hopkins will be back for the second session of spring ball.
They will be joined by center Graham Shuler and receiver Keanu Nelson, who missed the first session due to disciplinary reasons, and linebacker Shayne Skov, who was out due to a university-mandated suspension. Patrick Skov (family reasons) will also return for session two, as will running back Tyler Gaffney.
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