Top things learned so far this spring: No. 3

The countdown of five things we learned from the first half of Stanford spring practice continues.

No. 3: Crower makes strides; Burns in doghouse

When Evan Crower served as Stanford's No. 2 quarterback a year ago, he won the job largely by default. Dallas Lloyd had his own packages and Ryan Burns was on campus, but it was Crower taking the reps behind Hogan.

Heading into the spring behind starter Kevin Hogan, who will also be a redshirt junior, Crower figured to welcome some competition for the backup job with Burns coming off his redshirt. So far, it hasn't played out that way.

With Burns held out for disciplinary reasons, Crower took an important step toward reclaiming the role he held last season. It's clear he's much more comfortable compared to where he was a year ago. Stanford coach David Shaw was complimentary of Crower's progress, but acknowledged he didn't play his best in the team's open scrimmage March 8. Then again, no one on offense did much of anything that day.

Burns will return next session, but he's got some ground to make up both in reps and to get back into the coaching staff's good graces. Shaw isn't usually one to call out a player, but twice mentioned how Burns was missing critical practice time when the topic could have been avoided. Burns needs a strong second session to build some momentum going into the summer and fall, when freshman Keller Chryst arrives.


No. 4: No clear leader at running back

No. 5: The offensive line is set