Stanford QBs keep progress in perspective

April, 16, 2012
4/16/12
9:00
AM ET
Easy now, Stanford fan. Back away from the ledge of the Dumbarton. Take your mouse and slowly click away from Craig's List. No need to hawk those season tickets just yet.

So neither Josh Nunes nor Brett Nottingham looked like Andrew Luck in the spring game on Saturday. Relax, people. All of the reports out of Saturday's get together at Kezar Stadium project doom and gloom for Stanford at the quarterback position. But honestly, what were you expecting? It's a spring game -- a glorified scrimmage with funky rules and a gossamer thin depth chart. To quote Lloyd Dobler: "You must chill. You must chill."

[+] EnlargeJosh Nunes
Kelley L. Cox/US PresswireWhile quarterback Josh Nunes took the majority of the snaps with the first offense, neither he nor Brett Nottingham stood out in the spring game.
Saturday just leaves us with what we already knew, that Stanford's quarterback conundrum won't be sorted out until deep into fall camp. Sure, there was always that off chance that maybe, just maybe, a white-helmeted-knight would emerge from spring ball with precision, arm strength and a Luckian understanding of the offense.

After Saturday that doesn't appear that will be the case.

"I don't care what the numbers say, (the quarterbacks) didn't play well enough for us to win," head coach David Shaw told reporters after the game.

Nunes and Nottingham, had average performances. Nunes connected on 11 of 29 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns. Nottingham was 12-of-19 for 118 yards and an interception.

Both took a day to digest everything that had happened on Saturday; to watch some film, soak in what they did right and wrong and give themselves a fair evaluation. And both came out with the proper conclusion that no one is hitting the panic button.

"I felt like we did a lot of good things and it was a great experience," said Nunes, fresh off of a film session Sunday afternoon. "I think it allowed me to pinpoint a few things I need to work on heading into the off period. I feel like I'm really ready to attack the season."

And Nottingham?

"I'm not panicking," he said Sunday. "I worry about the things I didn't do correctly. But I'm not panicking. I put a lot of stuff on tape so now I can go back and clean up what I wasn't sharp on. Obviously when you're replacing a guy like Andrew Luck, there is going to be a lot of attention and press, but overall I thought there was a lot of good stuff that I can learn from."

Conference championships are never won in spring scrimmages -- and barring significant injuries to load-bearing players -- they are rarely lost. So don't read too much into the numbers (which by the way, don't account for the several drops).

"Our main goal is to be competitive in season and win a national championship," Nunes said. "I think we have all of the tools to do that. We weren't using all of our bullets on Saturday and I'm just taking it as a great learning experience. There are some things I need to work on and get better at, but I take a lot of good things away from it."

Nunes actually worked the entire time with the No. 1 offense. Is that worth reading into?

"Uh, I guess you have to ask coach Shaw," Nunes said. "But it was a good opportunity to get out there with the ones and keep creating come chemistry with my receivers."

Following the game on Saturday, Shaw said they wanted to get a "good look" at Nunes. Take that for what it's worth.

Naturally, because of who Nunes and Nottingham are trying to replace, the spotlight probably feels like a tanning bed set to extra crispy. All that -- the hype, the publicity -- is just window dressing to the million dollar question: Are they better quarterbacks now than when spring started?

"Without a doubt. Absolutely. No question," Nottingham said definitively. "Coming into spring ball, I think we were a little rusty. But there has been significant progress in knowledge of the playbook. Whenever there is a position change of this magnitude, you want to do whatever you can to narrow the gap. With Andrew leaving you want to minimize the drop off as much as you can. Yes, there is still a lot of work to be done. But I feel like there has been a lot of progress."

And at this stage in the game, that's all you can really ask for if you're a Stanford fan.

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