Stanford wrapped up its first session of spring workouts yesterday and will now take a three-week break before resuming the spring practice session on March 31.
Halfway through spring practice, head coach Jim Harbaugh has been most pleased with the depth and versatility that is emerging among players at key positions.
"You learn something about your football team every day," said Harbaugh. "Offensively and defensively, we've been very happy with the retention we've had from last year's schemes. Also, we're developing quality depth across the board."
"All players are screaming out to be seen, and it's important to look. Some are telling you to `count on me,' while others are telling you to `not count on me.'"
Perhaps the most notable development over the first seven workouts involves Owen Marecic, who has been working out at middle linebacker after starting 20 games at fullback over the last two seasons.
Harbaugh indicated the Marecic's transition from fullback to linebacker is past the experimental phase: "Owen will play both ways."
"Owen is one of the toughest and most physical players on our football team," said Harbaugh. "With (Clinton) Snyder still recovering from injury, there was an opportunity to take a look at him at another position. It has been a very smooth transition. I still expect him to get his reps at fullback later this spring, but he has opened some eyes, that's for sure."
Harbaugh also noted the play of linebackers Will Powers, Max Bergen and Alex Debniak. Harbaugh indicated that Bergen and Chike Amajoyi are "1 and 1" at the "will" linebacker position.
"We are getting deeper at all of our linebacker positions. We expect to get one of our best players in Snyder back for the second half of spring ball, as well."
Howell Adjusting to New Position
In the secondary, Harbaugh has been very pleased with what he has seen from sophomore Delano Howell, who is listed atop the depth chart at strong safety after seeing time at running back as a freshman.
"He is playing at an extremely high level. He gives us an entirely new dimension at that position."
Harbaugh also noted the play of cornerbacks Michael Thomas, Corey Gatewood, Mark Mueller and Quinn Evans.
"All four players seem ready to take that next step," Harbaugh said.
A Look at the Quarterback Situation
At quarterback, two-year starter Tavita Pritchard and redshirt freshman Andrew Luck continue to take most of the reps at practice, along with Alex Loukas, who is also seeing time at wide receiver.
"All three quarterbacks are performing very well," said Harbaugh. "It's a true quarterback competition. Whatever player emerges as the starter will know they beat out a very good player."
Spring Game Set for April 13
The annual Cardinal and White Spring Game will take place on Monday, April 13 at Stanford Stadium beginning at 7 p.m.
Pro-Timing Day is scheduled for Thursday, March 19...Pannel Egboh, Alex Fletcher, Anthony Kimble, Pat Maynor, Ben Muth and Wopamo Osaisai are expected to showcase their talents to NFL scouts and agents...the season-opener against Washington State will likely be moved back to Saturday, Sept. 5 pending approval from the Pac-10 athletic directors on April 1...several NFL players, including Trent Edwards, Evan Moore, Andrew Walter and Drew Brees, took part in the league's business management and entrepreneurial program held at Stanford's Graduate School of Business on March 1-4...the program is designed to prepare players for a business career after their football career are over...subject matters included "Leveraging the Player Brand," "Choosing Between Real Estate Opportunities" and "Marketing a New Product Line"...similar programs were held at Harvard Business School, Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania...former San Francisco 49ers Brent Jones and Steve Young served as guest lecturers.