Stanford finished 7th in The Power Rank at the end of last season, a touch behind Wisconsin (7) but more than a point better than Oklahoma (8). But how will the Cardinal fare next season without quarterback Andrew Luck, a top pick in this month’s NFL draft? The spring football game held this past Saturday gave a definitive answer.
Brett Nottingham is a better quarterback than Josh Nunes All the headlines stated that neither of these quarterbacks distinguished themselves. Coach David Shaw said the competition will continue into the fall. But Nottingham was the better quarterback in the spring game. He completed 12 of 19 passes (63%) while Nunes struggled for 11 of 29 (38%). Moreover, when the defense was dominating in the second half, a 20 plus yard Nottingham completion was the only bright spot for the offense. Nunes threw way too many balls that weren’t even close to their target. Even on his long touchdown pass to Ty Montgomery, he missed the window in which his receiver was open. Nunes threw a few moments later, making Montgomery grab the ball between two defenders. It would be shocking if Nottingham isn’t the starter.
The defense was awesome, I think… At one point in the second half, outside linebackers Chase Thomas and Trent Murphy were seemingly in the backfield on every play. The penetration was so irritating that it led to a shoving match with the quarterback at the end of one play. The two linebackers weren’t on the field later in the half when the offense started moving the ball. So is the Cardinal defense “definitely the top defense in the Pac-12, if not the nation,” as Thomas told the San Francisco chronicle when he decided to forego the NFL draft? It’s not out of the question after Saturday. The defense finished 19th in the nation for scoring defense after we adjust for strength of schedule and returns 8 starters. Or was Thomas just licking his chops because Jonathan Martin, the Stanford offensive tackle who will likely be a first round NFL draft pick this year, wasn’t lined up opposed to him? Either way, Cardinal fans are praying that Thomas figures out how to read the option before the Oregon game this year.
The big fellas up front. Entering the spring game last year, the offensive line had to replace 3 senior starters. However, the remaining starters, David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin, were top NFL prospects, and the offense line powered a punishing ground game that gained more than 10 yards per attempt against Washington. But DeCastro and Martin are gone, and their buddies got roughed up on Saturday. The defense pressured on the quarterback all day, a factor in the poor completion rate of Nunes. With a host of top offensive line recruits arriving on campus this fall, could the Cardinal line look much different on September 1 than it did this past Saturday?
Agree? Think Nunes should be the starter? Please leave us a comment.