April 13, 2013
By Mark Soltau
STANFORD, Calif. - David Shaw, The Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football at Stanford, was hoping his offense would step up Saturday afternoon in the Cardinal & White Spring Game at sun-banked Stanford Stadium.
He got his wish.
Although the highly-touted Cardinal defense (White Team) emerged with a 40-34 win against the offense (Cardinal Team), the latter had good moments during the two-hour game, which concluded spring practice.
"I thought Evan Crowerplayed extremely well," Shaw said of the junior quarterback, who completed 26-of-35 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns. "He's poised, he's in control and he understands what's going on, which with young quarterbacks, you want to make sure they completely know what's going on so they can anticipate and play fast. And he did that today."
The left-handed throwing Crower appears to have secured the back-up job behind starter Kevin Hogan.
"I just wanted to come in and try to get reps and have a good spring to lead into the fall and into the season," said Crower. "We came out here with a lot of energy and the offense played well and put up some points. The O-line blocked very well and the receivers caught the ball."
Shaw was also pleased with the play sophomore running back Barry Sanders, who redshirted last season. He showed elusiveness on several runs, rushing for 18 yards on seven carries.
"It was nice to see him get out there and make some guys miss," said Shaw.
Running back Tyler Gaffney, who left school last year to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, also made a nice impression on his head coach. He has only been practicing with the team for two weeks.
Gaffney couldn't wait for Saturday's game.
"It felt great," he said. "I haven't put the pads on for a while. It's been 15 months since the Orange Bowl. It's awesome to be back out here."
Gaffney said he hardly missed a beat.
"It's just like riding a bike," said Gaffney. "The first couple of plays, your heart is beating a little fast. You get in the swing of things and it' a great opportunity."
"It was good to see Ty (five catches for 59 yards) making plays, and Michael Rectorshowing speed and explosiveness," said Shaw. "I'm excited where we are at the receiver position. Guys were blocking downfield, which is as important as anything to us."
Pratt, who turns 28 in May and spent eight years pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers organization before coming to Stanford last year, caught five passes for 78 yards.
"Playing ball is always fun," Pratt said. "Just having some time to get some reps, it helps slow the game down. Last year, it was a lot to take in. I knew what I was doing, but at the same time, things weren't quite as slow. It helps to have snaps and experience under your belt."
"Not even close," he said. "They're all even right now. It's going to be through training camp until we see who takes that job."
On defense, sophomore cornerback Jarek Lancaster and senior strong safety Kyle Olugbodeshared the team lead with six solo tackles. Olugbode had two tackles for losses.
"I'll tell you what, Alex Carter... you better be careful if you're going to challenge him," said Shaw. "He's so physical, he reacts so fast, and he gets his hands on balls and deflects passes."
Shaw said fifth-year senior linebacker Shayne Skovis playing as good or better than he was two years ago before he sustained an early, season-ending knee injury.
Senior defensive end Henry Anderson did not play due to disciplinary reasons ... Senior placekicker Jordan Williamsonwas perfect on the day, converting field goal attempts from 42 and 45 yards, and made two extra points.