Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Meet your quarterback: Stanford
By Kevin Gemmell
There were six quarterback competitions in the Pac-12 this year. Some came about by the departure of some outstanding quarterbacks. Others just needed new life infused into the offense.
Today we're going to take a look at each of the quarterbacks who won their job.
We continue the series with Stanford. And it's no easy task being the guy that has to follow in Andrew Luck's footsteps. But heading into spring, five were vying for the job. That number got narrowed to two -- Josh Nunes and Brett Nottingham -- though Kevin Hogan apparently made a late charge in fall camp.
Nunes was named the starter last week and will look to carry on the success that Luck helped start.
Josh Nunes, Stanford
2011 stats: N/A
Career stats: 1-2, 7 yards. 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions.
Pros: Nunes is a very consistent quarterback with a good football IQ and a solid understanding of what Stanford wants to do with the pro-style offense. He's more of a traditional pocket passer who knows the offense very well. He was actually Luck's backup heading into fall camp last year until he was injured and missed all of 2011. Knowledge of the scheme and offense shouldn't be an issue for him. A good offensive line and outstanding playmakers, such as running back Stepfan Taylor, tight ends Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo and wide receiver Ty Montgomery, should help Nunes get acclimated.
Cons: He’s not as athletic as Nottingham, who was Nunes immediate competition for the starting job, nor does he have as strong of an arm. And of course there is going to be a great deal of scrutiny -- most of it unfair and unfounded -- as he replaces one of the best college quarterbacks. He doesn't have much time to catch his breath either with Hurricane Trojan blowing into town in Week 3 followed by his first collegiate start on the road at Washington.
How he won the job: All throughout Stanford's quarterback competition, the vibe was that head coach David Shaw was looking for someone who could get Stanford in the right play versus the right defense. To play quarterback at Stanford, you don't need a howitzer for an arm, nor do you need to complete 80 percent of your passes. You have to be able to recognize what the defense is giving and Nunes was able to do that better than Nottingham.
Coach speak: "Every single day he gets a little bit more control," said Shaw. "I think it's hard when you're in a competition to take the team over because you are in a competition and you want to be respectful of the other guys you are competing with. Now that the decision has been made I think Josh has started to assume control of the offense. I had to remind him the other day, this is officially your huddle. No one talks in your huddle but you. It's not my huddle it's your huddle. He's starting to take that over and it's good to see."
Backup plan: Shaw didn't flat out say Nottingham is the backup, but it makes sense he'll probably be first guy off the bench. Nottingham actually saw some mop-up-time last year, appearing in six games, completing 5 of 8 passes with a touchdown.