Yankey Out; Injury Updates
Stanford will be significantly shorthanded entering the challenging
road environment of Seattle's CenturyLink Field. Hours after the
Pac-12 conference confirmed free safety Ed Reynolds' first half
suspension, David Shaw announced that left guard David Yankey will
miss the entire game against Washington State while tending to a
"He's in our thoughts and prayers," Shaw said. "He's OK. He'll be
with his family this week. We hope to get him back soon... We'll
rally around him in spirit, but we'll go try to win a game without
The Cardinal may also be without third cornerback Barry Browning for
the second straight week. He practiced in a yellow non-contact
jersey Tuesday, but Shaw doesn't confidently expect him to be
full-go until Stanford's October 5 home game versus Washington.
"He's 50-50 right now, but we're maybe leaning toward him not
going," the coach said.
Meanwhile, linebacker Blake Martinez, also a special teams ace, will
miss about three more weeks because of a lower body injury. He has
resumed running activities. The status of defensive end Henry Anderson remains unchanged. He's recovering from a knee injury
that's expected to shelve him four to six weeks.
Josh Garnett, a Washington native who cheered for the Seahawks
at CenturyLink Field in his youth, will take Yankey's starting spot
at left guard. The sophomore's hometown of Puyallup is just outside
of Tacoma, the second largest city in the Seattle metropolitan area.
Dozens of friends had already messaged Garnett pictures of their
tickets to the game before hearing news that they'd be present for
his first career start.
"Get ready to lose," some of the messages read.
Excitement for No. 51's homecoming should only grow from here on
out, though Garnett doesn't expect his following to be as large as
the 200 fans who gathered to see New York state native Devon Cajuste
play at Army. Since the Washington Huskies host Arizona right up the
road just three hours before Stanford and Washington State kick off,
Garnett expects fans from his hometown to be scattered between the
two stadiums on Saturday.
Garnett's development has entered the fast lane since the beginning
of September. Back in April, Shaw expressed desire
to see more rapid progress from his talented guard. About two
weeks ago, he challenged Garnett to show more consistency on the
football field. The desired level of performance has materialized
over the the course of September just in time for Garnett's biggest
"I wanted to see him move people and knock them back," Shaw said.
"And that's what he's done."
Garnett's primary 2013 action up until this point has been as
Stanford's primary 'Ogre,' one of the Cardinal's eligible
supplementary blockers that lines up in the backfield. He says this
role has helped him develop pull blocking skills that will be
essential at left guard Saturday.
"A lot of the Ogre spot involves blocking cornerbacks and
linebackers," Garnett said. "It's helped me with my pulls a lot
because I was having a really tough time squaring up linebackers and
chopping my feet going from long stride to short stride."
Yankey has provided textbook pull-blocking examples in the film
room, many of which have been received with "ooohs" and "ahhhs" from
the younger linemen. The senior's low trajectory, flexibility, and
powerful ability to establish leverage are rubbing off on Garnett,
who has developed an affinity for pulling.
"Time slows down a bit and everything clears," he said. "You just
see this guy about six yards ahead of you. It's really fun. Those
moments are the ones you live for. You get to hit smaller guys
instead of those big 300 pounders inside."
Pulling isn't reserved for guards in Stanford's offense. Offensive
coordinator Mike Bloomgren has implemented wrinkles that have
allowed for Andrus Peat and Cam Fleming, two of the Cardinal's
massive tackles, to also get on the move.
"They don't pull as much, so when they [do get the chance] they know
they're only getting a couple shots," Garnett laughed. "So they're
running trying to take someone's head off."
Stanford's versatile linemen will be working against a much-improved
Washington State defense that has only allowed 17 points over the
course of its past three games. The Cardinal's offense will also be
dealing with the deafening environment of Seattle's CenturyLink
Field, where Garnett says he and Kyle Murphy were barely able to
hear each other speak when Stanford played Washington last season.
The field turf's pellets bounced because of the intense noise.
By the way, Dillon Bonnell, who was Stanford's primary Ogre last
season, will likely re-assume playing time next to Johnny Caspers while
Garnett is at guard. Murphy remains the Cardinal's jumbo tight end.
Washington State coach Mike Leach has established his
traditional pass-heavy offense in the Palouse, so Stanford's
shorthanded secondary faces a challenge against quarterback Connor
Halliday and a talented set of Cougars' receivers.
Devon Carrington will start at free safety for the first half in
place of Ed Reynolds, whose helmet-to-helmet hit against Arizona State's Taylor Kelly earned him a half-game suspension from the
league office. Shaw said Reynolds' punishment was "just," though he
noted the hit was an outlier considering No. 29's spotless record.
"Ed does not play the game to hurt people or get hurt," he said. "He
doesn't know why and we don't know why he ducked his head [into
Kelly on the rush.]"
Stanford expects Halliday to throw the ball 60 times Saturday, so
Carrington's shift to safety and Browning's probable absence leaves
the Cardinal with a shortage of experienced cornerbacks during a
game in which they'd usually rotate at the position. Shaw has
mentioned that Usua Amanam and Ra'Chard Pippens are options to
provide depth, but neither is listed there on the depth
chart and it is possible that the staff would rather not use
unproven cornerbacks against a pass-heavy attack in such a hostile
The Farm Boys' strategy may be to chew up as much of the first half
as possible on offense to buy time for Reynolds' return at
intermission. At that point, Carrington will be able to move back to
- Defensive end Ben Gardner mentioned that Stanford is "more
polished" in the defensive front seven than it was last season.
He said he enjoyed teaming up with relative depth chart
newcomers Aziz Shittu and Joe Hemschoot on a tackle for loss
against ASU. "I saw their eyes light up," he said.
- Fullback Ryan Hewitt (bruised knee) came out of the weekend
"feeling pretty well." Shaw said that his role will probably
increase versus Washington State.
- Shaw and Kevin Hogan both confirmed that Andrew Luck ran the
same exact bootleg play Sunday at Candlestick Park that Stanford
had perfectly executed Saturday (Luck had
already verified this to The Bootleg). Hogan, though,
smiled and noted that Luck is "a lot slower" than him.
Meanwhile, Shaw said that he fought a severe case of "mixed
emotions" while watching the 49ers play the Colts.
- Now that classes have started, six-foot-six, 318-pound tackle
Cam Fleming, an Aeronautics and Astronautics major, will miss
chunks of many practices because of his lab schedule.
David Lombardi is the Stanford
Insider for The Bootleg. Check him out at www.davidlombardisports.com
and follow him on Twitter @DavidMLombardi.
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