Defense regains upper hand in Stanford football’s fall practices August 15, 2014 3 Comments Share tweet Matt Niksa By: Matt Niksa Thursday marked the ninth day of Stanford’s annual training camp, and with camp coming to a close on August 23, head coach David Shaw has seen a recurring trend in this week’s training: Stanford’s defense has been dominant in its scrimmages with Stanford’s first-team offense. Senior corner Wayne Lyons (left) and the Stanford defense have posted a few straight impressive practices. (TRI NGUYEN/The Stanford Daily) “At the end of last week, the offense really was kind of handling the defense running the ball [in offense-defense scrimmages],” Shaw said. “And the last two practices the defense has really been dominant. It was good to see, from a defense perspective. Good, physical day today, though.” On Monday, Coach Shaw was impressed with the play of defensive end Henry Anderson and defensive backs Dallas Lloyd and Ronnie Harris. During Thursday’s practice, a different set of defensive players caught coach Shaw’s attention. “[Fifth-year senior] David Parry was very good,” Shaw said. “[Fifth-year senior] Henry Anderson, again, very good. [Fifth-year senior] A.J. Tarpley is capping off an outstanding camp, making plays. I think [junior] Kodi Whitfield has had a couple good days, back to back. That’s been good to see also.” While these aforementioned players have all impressed Shaw, the return of junior defensive lineman Aziz Shittu from injury and his play after his return has also encouraged Stanford’s head coach. “[Shittu] was back live today, full speed today, which was good,” Shaw said. “Just so quick and explosive. We need him, we need him to play at a high level. He and [fifth-year senior] Blake Lueders are going to play a lot of football for us.” Shittu, a junior from Atwater, California, is one of the most important pieces on Stanford’s defense. Stanford has a ferocious pass rusher in Anderson, a solid secondary led by Jordan Richards and Alex Carter and a strong inside linebacker in Tarpley. But if Stanford is going to replicate last year’s success against opponents’ running backs, when the team was third in the country in opponents’ rushing yards per game, Shittu has to be on the field and contributing valuable playing time, potentially as Parry’s backup at nose tackle. According to Shaw, it is Shittu’s versatility that makes him so valuable to this team, an aspect that Shaw hopes can transform Shittu into a breakout player. “He can play anywhere close to the edge [of the defensive line], anywhere across the front, he can play,” Shaw said. “The biggest thing for me is he has learned it all, he knows the different techniques involved, he knows all the calls. How smart he is is as important as how quick he is, so he can be that versatile guy that can be anywhere across the front. He could start one game at one position, and midway through he’s on another position. That’s great.” If there has been one thing that has been talked about more than Stanford’s defense, it has been the status of senior wide receiver Ty Montgomery. Montgomery missed Stanford’s spring practices because of a shoulder injury, and his status for Stanford’s opener against UC-Davis is questionable. Although Shaw did not shed any light on Montgomery’s status and whether he would be ready for the team’s first game, he did discuss Montgomery’s work ethic over the summer and how much better he can be this season. “Right now, it’s scary [how much better he can be]. I think he’s put on eight to ten pounds; he’s faster and more explosive, and just excited about getting the opportunity to play,” Shaw said. “His energy is up, he doesn’t want to come out of practice, he wants to get a rep, he’s pushing himself, which I think is great. The sky’s the limit for him, but as he and I talk, I just tell him, ‘I just want you to be Ty. Don’t worry about all the other stuff that can happen. All of the stuff people are going to be talking about, for all of these other awards. That’s fine and good. Let’s just focus on the football, give your best.’ He’s been doing that every day.” It remains to be seen whether or not Montgomery will play in Stanford’s opener. Shaw and the rest of the Stanford program are confident that once Montgomery comes back, he can pick up right where he left off: starring as Stanford’s every-down deep threat. Contact Matt Niksa at mattniksa80 ‘at’ gmail.com. A.J. Tarpley Aziz Shittu blake lueders Dallas Lloyd David Shaw football henry anderson Ronnie Harris ty montgomery 2014-08-15 Matt Niksa August 15, 2014 3 Comments Share tweet Subscribe Click here to subscribe to our daily newsletter of top headlines.