April 21, 2007
Seemed like old times today at Stanford Stadium as former Cardinal greats Troy Walters, Todd Husak and Chad Hutchinson led an Alumni team to a 38-33 victory over the current Cardinal coaching staff in the Alumni Flag Football Game. Following the Alumni game, the 2007 Cardinal went through their 10th practice of the spring, which included a 90-minute scrimmage to end the day.
"It was a lot of fun out there," said Cardinal head coach Jim Harbaugh about the Alumni game. "We had former players from the Vow Boys, the `50's and all the way through come out today. We had a great dinner last night and a luncheon today, and we're just really excited about the great energy we've got going."
Harbaugh, nicknamed "Captain Comeback" during his 15 years in the NFL, threw for three touchdowns today but could not bring his team back on the game's final series. Although he completed 18-of-24 for 135 yards and three TDs, Harbaugh had the ball in the last minute with him team trailing by five points. But, the Cardinal head coach threw incomplete on a Hail Mary pass from 32 yards out on the game's final play, giving the Alumni a 38-33 win.
Some of the other former Cardinal players who played in the game included Tommy Vardell, Mike Mitchell, Brian Allen, Greg Baty, Bob Whitfield, Corey Hill and Greg Sampson, to name a few. Those in attendance, but choosing not to play in the game, included NFL players Eric Heitman, Kwame Harris and Will Svitek, Casey Moore, Darrin Nelson and Mike McLaughlin, among others.
The Alumni struck first on their first series and scored a touchdown on a 20-yard pass from Chris Berg to Mitchell. Harbaugh took his team into the end zone on their first attempt as he hit running backs coach Willie Taggart on a one-yard TD pass.
The Alumni scored again on the next play as Chad Hutchinson connected with Corey Hill on a 45-yard touchdown pass. The Alumni made the score 20-7 after Chuck Williams hit Brian Allen on a five-yard TD pass.
But, when Harbaugh hit Coleman Hutzler, a recruiting assistant on the Cardinal staff, on a seven-yard TD, and Scott Shafer, the Cardinal's defensive coordinator and former quarterback, hit Taggart on a 23-yard touchdown, the coaching staff had tied the score at 26-26.
The Alumni took a 32-26 lead after an 18-yard TD from Williams to tight end Greg Baty. Harbaugh then drove his team to the end zone as he connected on passes to former 49er Brent Jones, Hutzler and Taggart to put his team on top 33-32. The Alumni won the game on the next series as Husak completed three consecutive passes for 45 yards and a touchdown to put the Alumni on top. Husak hit Walters on passes of nine and 33 yards, then hit Hill on a three-yard play for the deciding touchdown.
Practice / Scrimmage
Following the Alumni game, Stanford began its regularly scheduled practice. After 30 minutes of drills, the Cardinal took the field and participated in a 90-mimnute scrimmage.
"I like a lot of what our offense is doing," said Harbaugh. "But we have to tighten down on our execution. There were too many penalties and turnovers today, but we did a lot of good things to build on. There's an ebb and flow to practices. Yesterday, I thought the defense won. Today, it was the offense."
Some highlights of today's scrimmage included a touchdown pass of 50+ yards from T.C. Ostrander to Mark Bradford, a 28-yard TD pass play from Ostrander to Richard Sherman and a two-yard touchdown run by Emeka Nnoli on a strong inside run.
Alex Loukas, battling for the No. 2 quarterback spot, was impressive today. He had a 40-yard run, a 45-yard pass to Stephen Carr, a 10-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Rance on a nicely thrown ball in the corner of the end zone, and a five-yard TD pass to tight end Jim Dray.
"I thought the quarterback play was very good," said Harbaugh. "I'm happy with the progress T.C. is making. He was mentally sharp and throwing with accuracy both in the pocket and on the run. Alex had a nice day today as well. We're getting a lot accomplished this spring, but we still have more work to do."
Both Nnoli and Jason Evans ran the ball well today, which is good news for the offense but not so for the defense.
"Stopping the run has to be a focus of the defense," Harbaugh said. "We didn't do that well today."
"I want to see us finish out the spring by playing hard and taking it to another level," Harbaugh said. "We've got some guys hurt, but we have to grind it out and finish the spring strong."