Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Stanford's Nunes looking for fresh start
By Kevin Gemmell
Stanford quarterback Josh Nunes isn't spending much time lamenting what happened last preseason. Penciled in as the backup quarterback to Andrew Luck, Nunes had a turf toe injury in the third week of fall camp that kept him sidelined for four games.
The injury may have cost him the backup role -- but he's determined not to let it damage his chances to take over as Stanford's starting quarterback in the fall.
Josh Nunes will be competing for the starting spot this fall.
Nunes, who now wears a steel plate in his shoe, said the injury no longer bothers him and he's spent the past two weeks splitting reps with Brett Nottingham -- last year's backup -- with the first team offense.
"I think the competition is going great," Nunes said. "I believe a competitive atmosphere makes all the guys better. We know that every single day we're competing for that spot and we all bring that great atmosphere to practice and that helps us to be efficient and really make the most out of every play and every opportunity. There are no wasted plays. There can't be."
Nottingham is considered Nunes' stiffest competition. After Nunes went down last fall, Nottingham won the backup role -- and held it throughout the season. While head coach David Shaw said he won't name a starter until late in fall camp, there is an assumption that Nottingham has an advantage since he has the most game experience of any returning quarterback. Nunes knows that could have been him last season had it not been for the injury, but says it's not worth burning calories on what-could-have-beens.
"It is what it is," he said. "You can never account for the injuries. I feel like you have to make the most of your opportunities and you can only control what you can control. It really sucked getting hurt like that -- especially with the amount of time we all put into it. It was disappointing, but you can only come back as strong as you can. Being out I tried to take as many mental reps as I could and really study the offense."
And who better to study than Luck -- the presumptive No. 1 pick in next month's NFL draft?
"Besides seeing what he does on the field, the biggest advantage is being able to see him go through the process," Nunes said. "For me, it's his attention to detail and the drive and tenacity he has to learn. He always wants to be the first one to know things and then go out and apply them in practice or even sessions outside of practice. It was great to see how he goes through the process."
While Nottingham and Nunes have been splitting the main reps with the first team, Robbie Picazo, Evan Crower and Kevin Hogan are also in the mix. Nunes said it's not hard to maintain friendship among the competition -- though things can get a little testy at times.
"It can definitely get a little edgy because we're all competing hard," he said. "But if it weren't like that we'd have a problem because everyone is really passionate about getting that spot. But they are all great guys and I think we handle it pretty well. The coaches let us know whose taking what reps in the rotation so that makes it easier."