The Stanford offense has made a practice of retooling after the departures of all-time program greats — most notably, at quarterback in 2012 and at running back in 2013. This year it’s the fullbacks’ turn, as the Cardinal looks to fifth-year senior Lee Ward and senior Patrick Skov to replace three-year starter Ryan Hewitt at the position.
For a college football team tied with UCLA and Wisconsin for the most tight ends currently on NFL rosters with four, Stanford football utilized its historically talented position very little last season. Stanford’s tight ends made just 10 catches for 69 yards in 2013, and multiple-tight end sets appeared on the field much less often than in previous years — when Zach Ertz ‘13, Coby Fleener ‘12 and Levine Toilolo ‘13 manned the position.
After Stanford’s second day of practices in preparation for San Jose State, head coach David Shaw passed on the first notable injury news of the season: fifth-year senior fullback Ryan Hewitt was held out of practice on Tuesday and might miss Saturday’s season opener.
It’s been a sluggish evening for the Stanford offense. The Cardinal has turned the ball over three times, and even though it has gained more than 400 yards, it only has a single touchdown to show for its efforts. Nothing is coming easy — it never does, here at Autzen Stadium.
After concentrating on conditioning for the last few weeks, the Stanford football team will finally be back in spring practice from Monday, with players ready to start competing for key places in next season’s starting lineup.