Don't miss the material The Bootleg has produced ahead of Stanford's match-up with Washington State. State of Stanford covers the impact of the Cardinal's developing injury situation, How to Beat WSU provides a thorough breakdown of the contest, while Clardy's Corner examines the developing explosiveness of Stanford's attack.
Another Hit To The Secondary
Stanford cornerback Barry Browning, hurt late during Stanford's win over Army, will not travel for the Cardinal's game against Washington State this weekend. He has been cleared to fully participate in practice, though, and is expected back for Stanford's October 5 home match-up against Washington.
"[Barry] will play next week," David Shaw affirmed. "He just probably needs a couple more days. He actually looked fine at practice. He was physical, he could plant and break. He just didn't get quite enough work to make us feel good about [traveling him]."
Browning's absence makes it official: The Cardinal secondary will be two men down during the first half against the Cougars' pass-happy offense. Free safety Ed Reynolds will return at halftime after serving his 30-minute targeting suspension, while the Cardinal will use Usua Amanam at cornerback in case Alex Carter or Wayne Lyons needs a breather at CenturyLink Field. If Amaman shifts, Ronnie Harris will take over at nickel back for Stanford.
"We're fine numbers-wise," Shaw said. "We should be OK."
By the way, Harris is now wearing No. 21. He switched from his old No. 23 because he sees simultaneous special teams action with Jackson Cummings, who still wears No. 23.
The Forgotten One?
Stanford tight end Davis Dudchock has yet to see game action three games into the 2013 season. Shaw explained this lack of playing time, which has come after a relatively eventful spring for No. 83, comes because the Cardinal has more need for its super-sized bodies at the position. Dudchock is listed at 242 pounds, while Luke Kaumatule and Charlie Hopkins check in at 267 and 262 pounds, respectively. The latter players are the ones who've enjoyed Stanford's tight end playing time.
"[Dudchock] runs extremely well, and he's done much better blocking," Shaw said. "But for what we do at the tight end position, those [bigger] guys have just been better at it."
Stanford enjoyed almost mind-boggling versatility in its tight end room during the Coby Fleener-Zach Ertz era. Those two talents, both now in the NFL, lined up in multiple spots, including on the perimeter. But those days are at least temporarily on hold. The Cardinal has turned to its wide receivers for receiving production instead; meanwhile, the tight end unit has gone two consecutive games without a catch. Entering this season, Stanford tight ends had experienced only one game in the Harbaugh-Shaw era without a reception.
"We're not going through the mental gymnastics [that we went through to involve Fleener and Ertz in the passing game]," Shaw explained. "Those are two special human beings."
Homecoming: Business As Usual
Two weeks after Shaw challenged him to be a "difference maker," Josh Garnett's first week of practice as a starter on the offensive line has finished. His coach has been pleased.
"The exciting thing for me is that I haven't seen a bounce in his step," the coach said. "I've just seen a guy that's preparing to play. He doesn't look like a guy who is anxious and overly excited, which is my concern. He's just been business as usual, trying to do everything right and trying to do it fast and physical."
Earlier in the week, Shaw joked that he had told Garnett to "just not false start on the first play."
No. 51, of course, has an extra reason to be excited beyond the fact that he's filling in for Stanford tank David Yankey, who's tending to a family issue back home in Georgia. The sophomore grew up in the Seattle metropolitan area, so this weekend marks a homecoming for him. The jovial six-foot-five, 316-pound giant wants to be a doctor after his playing career is over.
"He's going to graduate with a phenomenal degree, go play in the NFL, and then cure some disease when he's done," Shaw glowed. "He's just one of those guys."
Stanford's brand new 28,350-square foot football facility is almost ready. A firm move-in date has yet to be set, but final inspections loom. Shaw hopes that the formal unveiling comes "soon."
"Things need to be cleared," he said.
The university plans to shoot a video to showcase the facility this Sunday upon the team's return from the Pacific Northwest. I asked Shaw if he envisioned the film being in any way similar to the popular one Oregon football posted online following the opening of that program's new performance center earlier this year.
"I don't compare us to anyone else," Shaw cracked a slight smile. "This is our own thing."
- The Stanford staff was pleased with the week of practice. Following a slow offensive start, the attack posted two straight "crisp" days. Shaw said he thought the defense performed well on three consecutive days.
- Heavy rain is forecast in Seattle during the game Saturday. Shaw said that only wind would potentially hinder his team's passing game, though. "[In wet condition], it's all about quarterback hand size," he said. "Our quarterback has big hands."
- The Stanford staff will be on the recruiting trail in the
greater Seattle area Friday night. Coaches plan to attend high
school games of some Cardinal targets.
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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