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Football to scrimmage Saturday in Cardinal and White Spring Game

Junior quarterback K.J. Costello (above) will play in his first Cardinal White spring game this Sunday, in preparation for his senior campaign with the team. (BOB DREBIN/isiphotos.com)

The Stanford football team will take the field at Cagan Stadium this Saturday for the Cardinal and White Spring Game, the final meeting of their 2019 spring practice sessions. This scrimmage, played between the team’s offense and defense, is a yearly tradition for the team, and is open to the public for free.

The game is part of a promotion put on by Stanford Athletics called Cardinalpalooza, a public festival highlighting the excellence of Stanford’s spring sports. Saturday’s festivities will include five total games for Cardinal teams, including beach volleyball versus San Francisco, softball vs. Utah, men’s volleyball vs. BYU, and baseball vs. Washington.

The Stanford football team will take the field at Cagan Stadium this Saturday for the Cardinal and White Spring Game, the final meeting of their 2019 spring practice sessions. This scrimmage, played between the team’s offense and defense, is a yearly tradition for the team, and is open to the public for free.

The day begins, however, with the Cardinal and White Spring Game, kicking off at 1 p.m. During the scrimmage, the first, second and third team offense and defense will take turns against one another in live-ball, 11 on 11 drills. The offense is given the ball at the touchback line, and can score points by scoring touchdowns or field goals. The defense can score points by forcing turnovers, fourth-down stops, getting ‘sacks’ and scoring defensive touchdowns.

Stanford finished the 2018 season with a 9-4 record, finishing 6-3 in the Pac-12. While many had hopes of a College Football Playoff appearance for the team after their 4-0 start to the season, the season was by no means a disappointment. The program still finished with its 10th straight bowl appearance, the longest active streak in the Pac-12. The Cardinal defeated Pitt in the Sun Bowl to cap their season.

This will be rising-senior quarterback K.J. Costello’s first spring game of his Stanford career, having missed previous years with injuries. With a clean bill of health, Costello has been participating in spring practices with the rest of the team. Costello hopes to make an improvement on his already strong junior season, and another offseason of work with head coach David Shaw is sure to bring him back stronger than ever in the fall.

However, Costello and the Stanford offense are losing a plethora of talented players to graduation and the NFL. Tight end Kaden Smith, running back Bryce Love, wide receivers JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Trenton Irwin, and linemen Jesse Burkett, A.T. Hall and Brandon Fanaika. New faces will need to step up next season, and the spring game may serve as a preview for what the offense has in store. Rising junior tight end Colby Parkinson should see another breakout season, and rising junior tackle Walker Little will try to continue to cement his place as a top tackle in the Pac-12.

Lesser-known faces to look out for are rising sophomore receivers Simi Fehoko and Michael Wilson. With Costello losing three of his most reliable pass-catchers, he’ll need new targets to rely on, and these two freshmen have an enormous amount of potential. At running back, rising juniors Trevor Speights and Dorian Maddox are the favorites to carry the running game next year, but rising sophomore Justus Woods is another player to look out for.

Other stories to watch on offense include a possible sighting of rising junior quarterback Davis Mills, who has also missed the past two spring games with injury. The quarterback position is expected to be settled heading into the 2019 season, but Mills may be able to make a contest if he can truly live up to his recruitment hype. Mills is the highest graded quarterback recruit that Stanford has ever had, more highly rated than Andrew Luck.

On defense, the player to watch is undoubtedly rising junior cornerback Paulson Adebo, who put on an incredible show during his sophomore season, breaking out fully in the Big Game, where he came up with two interceptions to seal the win, one of which was likely the most impressive play of the Stanford season. The question is, who will line up with him this fall with the departure of Alijah Holder?

The defensive line and linebackers will also need massive improvement, as the Cardinal struggled to get pressure on quarterbacks all season long, and the team now loses starters in Joey Alfieri, Bobby Okereke and Dylan Jackson. Strong candidates for breakout 2019 seasons include rising sophomore end Thomas Booker, who had an incredible freshman campaign, and rising junior tackle Dalyn Wade-Perry, who looked good in limited time on the field.

The action begins this Saturday at 1 p.m. on Cagan Stadium.

A previous version of this article was mistakingly headlined “Football to scrimmage Sunday in Cardinal and White Spring Game.” The article itself also incorrectly stated that the game is on Sunday. The Daily regrets this error.

Contact Bobby Pragada at bpragada ‘at’ stanford.edu

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