March 9, 2013
STANFORD, Calif. – Holding its second open practice of the 2013 spring season Saturday morning, Stanford put on a crowd-pleasing display as the Cardinal ran 77 live plays from scrimmage at the Elliott Football Practice Fields.
Solid defensive play from the first unit and big plays by the offense kept David Shaw, the Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football, positive. “I’m very happy with the day – I’m excited about the play of our wide receivers,” said Shaw. “We had big plays down field and our defense was solid.”
Quarterback Kevin Hogan, referenced by ESPN Pac-12 analyst Kevin Gemmell as the league’s current Heisman candidate "darkhorse", had an efficient day completing 15 of 21 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown while showing mobility in the pocket, characterized by a step-up 16-yard bullet over the middle to Michael Rector on the day’s second offensive series.
Stanford’s other signal callers also had good numbers – lefty Evan Crower was better than his 10-for-17 final numbers indicate, throwing for 87 yards amidst pressure from the defensive front seven. Despite some of that pressure, Shaw had praise for his offensive line with three players taking snaps under center.
“It’s been fun to watch the guys start to gel this early,” said Shaw. “Usually we don’t gel on the offensive line until training camp so it’s been fun to watch.”
All told, 19 different players caught at least one pass with Ty Montgomery and Jordan Pratt leading the way with three receptions each. Pratt had 25 yards through the air while Montgomery had 36 as his speed caused trouble for the defense.
Kelsey Young had two catches for 52 yards including a 46-yarder from Hogan, pulled down in double coverage on a nifty back-shoulder pass. Young also added a 21-yard run on a reverse early in the day.
Defensively, outside linebacker Blake Lueders had a day’s-best four solo tackles including two sacks for 14 yards and a QB hurry. One week after Trent Murphy held the spotlight at outside linebacker along with James Vaughters, Shaw was asked about Leuders’ contributions in the context of the group’s combined productivity.
“I know we’re going to need both guys to play,” said Shaw, referring specifically to Leuders and Murphy. “They’re both going to play a lot and they’re both really hard to block. He’s (Blake Leuders) just really tough (to block) off the edge.”
In all, the first unit collected 191 yards on 36 plays, the second unit had 164 yards on 34 plays and the third unit had 17 yards on seven plays.
Jordan Williamson made a 42-yard field goal from the left hash under live conditions and was also 8-of-9 from that distance during special teams sessions midway through practice. He was 5-of-5 from the right hash and 3-of-4 from the left.
The Cardinal, which breaks from spring practice for the next three weeks, will host another open practice on Saturday, April 6. The start time will be announced early this week on football’s twitter page (@StanfordFBall).