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White beats Cardinal in Stanford Football spring game

Posted by davefowkes on 04/14/2009

It took a little while for the teams to kick it into gear, but when they did it was Andrew Luck leading the White team to a 42-17 win over the Cardinal team in the annual spring football game for Stanford. The red-shirt freshman put on quite a show under the lights at Stanford stadium in front of several hundred Cardinal fans as he tries to earn the starting job this fall. By my very unofficial tally, Luck was 19/26 for 383 yards and five touchdown passes.

Luck and returning starter Tavita Pritchard are competing for the starting job this fall. Pritchard played okay going 14/28 for 178 yards and two touchdowns. His night would have looked better had he not had Luck on the other side of the ball.

Coach Jim Harbaugh certainly noticed the effort by his young quarterback and while he would not commit to a quarterback for the season, Harbaugh did say, “If we started a game tomorrow, Andrew Luck would be our starter.”

Luck really only threw one or two bad passes. At least three of his incomplete passes were dropped passes or his numbers would have been even better.

Down 3-0 after the first quarter, Luck led the White team to its first touchdown. On a third and 16 play, Luck found Richard Sherman down the middle for a completion, and after Sherman put a nice move on the safety it ended with a 41-yard touchdown pass.

Luck’s next touchdown pass also went to Sherman. A nice 17-yard pass over the middle to Sherman who was interfered with trying to get free in the end zone. That score would make it 14-10 at the half in favor of the white squad.

The play of the game came on the first drive of the 3rd quarter. Luck again scrambling threw across his body downfield to Corey Gatewood for a gain of 55 yards. That set up a three yard touchdown run for Jonathan Stewart.

Luck had another great downfield throw to Doug Baldwin for 42 yards right down the sideline. It eventually led to a 20-yard touchdown pass on a fade route to Baldwin. That made the score 28-10 White.

In the fourth quarter, Luck again used his feet to step up in the pocket and fire the ball threw traffic to Ryan Whalen in the back of the end zone for a four yard touchdown pass.

The white would end the scoring in the game on a 4th and 10 play. It was deemed too long for a field goal attempt so they sent Luck and the offense back on the field. Luck fired a bullet 32 yards to the end zone to Coby Fleener who made a nice move on the defender to catch the ball and score the touchdown!

It was an impressive evening for Luck and both players and fans were impressed by what they saw. “That play was all Andrew,” Fleener said of his touchdown catch.

While Luck certainly stood out in the game, there were a number of other stars who made great plays. Pritchard had two short touchdown passes to the flat off of play action fakes. One went to fullback Owen Marecic and the other to running back Blaise Johnson who ran hard all night.

The surprise of the night was linebacker Alex Debniak, who made a few impressive defensive plays for the white, but wowed the crowed with his running ability at the fullback position. He surprised people with back to back runs of 11 and 14 yards in the second quarter. But the big run came in the 4th quarter when he rambled for 59 yards to set up a score. He capped his night on the red’s final drive by stopping a screen pass for a loss of three to set up a third and long.

The Cardinal were without many name players be it Toby Gerhart who was at Sunken Diamond playing baseball, or Delano Howell and Allen Smith who were out with injury. A lot of players played both ways because of that.

In the end it was great to see the Cardinal and White out there on the field. It was football under the lights! Now it is back to the weight room and film rooms for the next few months as they get ready for fall. And for the next four months the topic will continue to be who will start at quarterback for Stanford. Given tonight’s performance, that question may get answered sooner than later.

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Big recruiting day

Posted by davefowkes on 02/04/2009

Oh my what a day! Okay, maybe the recruiting class is not as great as predicted all the way back to yesterday, but this is still a great day for Stanford football fans! Today is national letter of intent signing day for college football. All the high school seniors put their signature on a piece of paper declaring which college they are going to go.

It appears to be a banner day for the Cardinal! The consensus is that Stanford has a top 20 recruiting class nationally and the 3rd best list in the Pac Ten. (UCLA had a good day and jumped Stanford into 2nd place). As a long suffering Stanford fan though this is just wonderful! First the obvious, how often has Stanford had top 20 classes ever? Then you think about the depths that this program has sunk in the early part of this decade, to think that student-athletes again want to attend the farm brings nothing but optimism for me! Jim Harbaugh is proving he was not just a good hire, but a great one! Kids want to come here and play for him. And if he leaves to coach in the pros next year, the kids will still be left with a free ride at a prestigious institution. Not a bad deal!

As for the details, Harbaugh likes TEs I guess since he has 4 of them on the way. But there are some exciting players in the mix. The number one recruit, a 4-5 star MLB from Pawling, NY, Shayne Skov, could help right away next year. Local high school Bellermine will send two players, RB Usua Amanam and the only OL recruited Kevin Danser. Amanam will also compete for playing time as a true freshman.

Bottom line, who knows what will happen to these athletes. Maybe they never develop, maybe the coaching staff changes, but on a day when they declare where they want to go, I am just happy that Stanford has a bumper crop of athletes and a top 20 ranking. The buzz is high for Stanford. The football futures seems to be very bright!

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