By George Chen
The starting quarterback for Stanford football has yet to be determined with the season opener against San Jose State less than two weeks away. Redshirt junior Josh Nunes and redshirt sophomore Brett Nottingham are currently leading the competition, while redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan sits in third.
Following Sunday’s open practice and short scrimmage, Stanford football head coach David Shaw commented on his quarterbacks’ performances, “It’s hard to tell until we see the film, but I thought they did well. They missed a couple of throws, but as far as orchestrating the offense, they did well. We won’t really know for sure until we get the chance to watch the film.”
Shaw stated that a major component of the quarterback decision will rest on the quarterback’s ability to take the offense out of bad situations, as “that’s 80 percent of the job.”
“We don’t believe in negative plays,” Shaw said. “[The quarterback] has to get us to the right play, that’s what we begin and end all quarterback meetings with. I tell them all the time: you don’t need to know what everybody has to do, but you have to know what makes a play bad. That way, Stepfan [Taylor] will get the chance to perform, the offensive line gets the chance to perform, the tight ends and receivers get the chance to perform on the right play. That’s the biggest part of the quarterback position.”
In the scrimmage, Nunes completed 7 of 10 passes for 49 yards, including a 6-yard lob that found redshirt junior tight end Levine Toilolo in the end zone, while Nottingham completed 5 of 6 passes for 125 yards on a touchdown-scoring drive. Hogan went 7 of 13 for 31 yards, and redshirt freshman Evan Crower also saw some playing time, completing 3 of 4 passes for 13 yards.
Redshirt junior fullback Ryan Hewitt suffered an ankle sprain on the first series of the scrimmage and wore a protective boot on his foot for the rest of practice. Shaw commented that “hopefully it’s just an ankle sprain, not a high ankle sprain,” and the team will be “very, very cautious” with him. Whether or not Hewitt will play in the season opener remains uncertain.
Redshirt senior center Sam Schwartzstein also “tweaked” an ankle, but was held out of the scrimmage for only “precautionary reasons” and is expected to participate in Tuesday’s practice.
Schwartzstein was elected by his teammates on Saturday as one of the three captains for the 2012 season. Joining him in the captain role will be senior tailback Stepfan Taylor and redshirt senior linebacker Chase Thomas.
True freshman wide receiver Kodi Whitfield continues to impress the coaching staff with his quick understanding of the Cardinal offense.
“Kodi Whitfield is going to play, right off the bat,” Shaw said. “He’s been outstanding during training camp. He’s picked up the offense faster than any wide receiver we’ve had since we’ve been here. He had it within two days.”