The Big Rose Bowl Report

Our extensive coverage of the 100th Rose Bowl continues with a look at Stanford's victory in the Beef Bowl, news on Ikenna Nwafor's injury, and a thorough examination of the state of the team just days away from kickoff in Pasadena.

Stanford and Michigan State have enjoyed an eventful few days in the lead-up to the 100th Rose Bowl. The Cardinal won the Beef Bowl at Lawry's The Prime Rib, a Beverly Hills institution, out-eating the Spartans by 15 pounds on Saturday night. A year after Josh Garnett was rumored to have had some trouble at practice the day after the Beef Bowl (he ate seven slabs of prime rib in 2012), David Shaw again put the onus of pressure on his freshman offensive lineman. Dave Bright downed four slabs of prime rib to lead the way for Stanford.

Remember, the winner of the Beef Bowl has gone on to win the Rose Bowl about 70 percent of the time, though the Farm Boys lost the event to Wisconsin (619 pounds to 602 pounds) last year before going on to defeat the Badgers in the football game.

Mason: Staying Put
Defensive coordinator Derek Mason said that he intends to stay at Stanford, though he acknowledged he does have greater ambitions down the road. He was contacted by Connecticut and Army in recent weeks, but declined an opportunity to interview for those jobs.

"It's got to be the right job," he said.

Injury Report: Surgery for Nwafor; Williamson In
Nose tackle Ikenna Nwafor, who has been out since injuring his foot at Washington State on September 28, was not progressing as quickly as Stanford had hoped. He underwent corrective surgery on that foot earlier this December. Shaw hopes that he can return to action by the second session of 2014 spring practice.

Kicker Jordan Williamson, meanwhile, has had some time to recover and is expected to handle kick-off duties at the Rose Bowl. Conrad Ukropina has taken his place over the past several weeks, but Williamson will work kick-offs in practice Sunday. Barring any setbacks, he'll be the man booting it deep for the Cardinal on January 1.

Lloyd to Safety
Quarterback Dallas Lloyd has been working out at free safety during this bowl practice stretch for Stanford. He told me he was excited about his offensive involvement in the quarterback "Lloyd package" this year, but approached Shaw with his idea to also contribute on the other side of the ball.

"Part of my nature is making plays," he said. "The competitive drive that's inside of me wasn't happy with just two or three plays a game."

The meeting with Shaw went smoothly, as Lloyd said the coaching staff had already considered the switch before he approached them with it.

"I trust coach Shaw like he is my father," he said. " I told him that."

Fleming's Plans
The Bootleg predicts that David Yankey and Ed Reynolds will declare for the NFL Draft after this season and that A.J. Tarpley, Ty Montgomery, Jordan Williamson, and Ben Rhyne will stick around for one more season at Stanford. Right tackle Cam Fleming remains an intriguing question, though he did shed some light on his upcoming decision on Sunday.

"It's looking like there might be one more year," he told me.

Fleming's decision will come after he has a chance to consult with his parents following the Rose Bowl. The full radio interview with him is embedded below.

Hotel Switch
Stanford's hotel is in Century City now, but -- just like last year -- the team will shift hotels to enter their gameday routine on the eve of the January 1 Rose Bowl. It's all part of the final focusing stretch before the big game. 

David Lombardi is the Stanford Insider for The Bootleg. Check him out at and follow him on Twitter @DavidMLombardi.

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