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Defense regains upper hand in Stanford football’s fall practices

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)

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.

  • maddogsfavsnpiks

    8/16/14, Sat, 10a-noon scrimmage (2 weeks to ssn kickoff) – Notes.
    * Defense in control thru most of Sat scrim. Major exception on drive that opened the 2nd half of the scrim when the O seemed to come out with more fire and intensity – Josh “Pancakes Galore” Garnett leading the charge. It featured the #1 O vs mostly #2 D (altho there doesn’t seem to be a lot of separation between #1 and #2 in the two deep rotation on D). The re-focused O finally broke the plane for 6pts on a 20 yd +/- TD pass to Cajuste in the far corner. My vantage point was not great (far side ground level on the 40 yd ln) and Cajuste’s catch was to the opposite end and corner, soo… i noted Garnett firing up his team and OL mates during the latter part of the drive sequence. Otherwise, the D only allowed the one TD and a short FG by J Will.. altho he didn’t on another try from 50 yds – it fell just short (it looked to me like he’s getting more lift on the ball early, maybe so as to avoid the blocked runbacks that helped ignite the ducks’ 4th qtr near-comeback last year, but in the process is perhaps sacrificing some distance ? ) – his other shorter FG was from about 20 yds and towered over the up-rights.
    * 4 QBs took snaps, Hogan, Crower, Burns and Chryst, and in terms of quality, they played pretty much in that order, too, altho Chryst looks like he could vault Burns and maybe Crower, if given a few more weeks of practice. He is young, but he’s also the biggest, bulkiest of the bunch. Collectively the QBs threw 4 INTs and just 1 TD.
    * RBs Sanders, Seale, and McCaffery got most of the carries, and each made a couple of nice runs, that involved breaking tackles, or eluding tacklers in some way, altho none had a really big gainer. If i had to guess the combined run yardage… maybe 65-75 yds on 25 carries ?
    * The OL is solidifying with Peat, Garnett, Shuler, Caspers or Austin, and Murphy getting primary snappage, with Casey Tucker and David Bright first backups and also involved in the Jumbo and Ogre formations.
    * Even without Ty “Money” available, the WRs looked solid. Cajuste and Rector both hauled in some long passes that either set up or scored pts. Stallworth made a couple really tough grabs, including one out in front of him that he had to extend for, on a short post pattern, with a safety bearing down on him head on. Chryst barely overthrew an open Owusu on what lookt like a fly pattern.
    * All 3 TEs that played, Cotton, Taboada, and Shultz caught passes and are likely to see plenty more receiving opps this year. They looked quite capable as receivers and blockers.
    * RB Kelsey “Only the Good Die” Young, RT Kyle “Pile Driver” Murphy, WR Ty “Money” Montgomery, TE Austin “Hula” Hooper, CB Alexander “the Great” Carter, RB Remound ‘Gotthat” Wright, all missed the scrim for varying reasons – minor injuries, precautionary measures, taking a test, and undisclosed discipline for the latter.
    * The main rotation of the front 7 on D, looks like it’ll include DEs Henry “Hammerin’ Hank” Anderson, Aziz “Eatchu” Shittu, Blake “the Looter” Lueders, all of whom could be poised for monster years; Tackles David “the Nose” Parry and maybe Alex “Yoyo” Yazdi; 2 of 3 ILBs Blake “the Martinizer” Martinez and AJ “Coveralls” Tarpley who plays like an on field DC and had one of the day’s piks (which mighta gone all the way), so we’ll call it a pik 6, plus Noor “U nor I” Davis is coming on strong; and 2 of 3 OLBs, including Kevin “no relation” Anderson, Peter “Kumbaya” Kalambayi, and James “the Vaunted” Vaughters…
    * Meanwhile, there were alotta TruFrosh getting big time, quality reps on both O and D:
    – RB C. McCaffery, looks like a strong runner, made a couple quality runs, broke a couple tackles here ‘n there, and stuck his head in there on pass protection.. – there won’t be the HS highlight reels here tho. He also looks to be a natchel pass catcher, like his dad, altho he catches ‘em outta the backfield. Shaw said afterwards that of all the frosh, he stood out the most.
    – OT Casey Tucker took reps with 2nd tm OL and i think in jumbo packages.
    – TE Dalton Shultz made at least one fine catch, for a key 1st down as i recall, but on a couple other downs was way offsides, twice.
    – FB Daniel Marx made a fine conversion on a 4th and short. The play was well blocked and Marx rumbled, then boomed into the tackler for 5 yards, well beyond the 1st down marker.
    – CB Terrence Alexander had a couple PBUs and an INT (all five frosh DBs, Simmons, Holder, TA, Denzel Franklin, Alameen Murphy looked precocious and Duane Akina told me afterwards, he’s super-excited about their potential).
    – DE Solomon Thomas – i watched him on one play rush the passer, but he was handled fairly well by the OT (Nick Davidson or Brendan Austin?).
    – LB Joey Alfieri also got some mins late in the scrim.

  • Sarra .B

    مواضيع بكالوريا الجزائر

  • guest

    Nice job with the article. Hopefully the team will do well this year.