Aug. 12, 2006
Stanford, Calif. -
Stanford Football held its first full contact practice on Friday afternoon at the Elliott Football Practice fields. The practice was highlighted by a spirited 18-play scrimmage to close out the day.
The running game will be a critical key to success for the Cardinal in 2006. With Jason Evans, Anthony Kimble and Nick Frank returning, as well as Ray Jones and Emeka Nnoli expecting to contribute, the Cardinal are optimistic about being able to run the ball.
At the fullback position, head coach Walt Harris seems pleased with the progress made by Nnoli.
"Emeka has done a great job for us thus far at fullback," commented Harris. "The improvements he has made from last Fall to Spring and from Spring to now are really noticeable."
In addition to the power running game supplied by Nnoli and the starting fullback Frank, the Cardinal coaches are pleased with the performance thus far of freshman Toby Gerhart.
Gerhart, the California High School Player of the Year from Norco, California, rushed for 40 yards on seven carries and caught two passes for 15 yards during Friday's scrimmage. Gerhart handled the majority of the snaps at the tailback position in the absence of Evans (summer school exams) and Kimble (minor skin infection).
One run in particular drew cheers from his teammates on both sides of the ball when Gerhart took a handoff around the right side and broke several tackles en route to a 23-yard gain. His ability to combine speed and explosiveness is something Cardinal coaches are very excited about.
"Toby looked good today, but he still has a lot to learn," offered Harris. "I think he has a chance to help us."
Trent Edwards completed all four pass attempts for 39 yards during the scrimmage
During the "team" period, Edwards connected with Kelton Lynn on a perfectly thrown deep ball which resulted in 60 yard scoring strike
During the "blitz" period, Mike Silva kept the defense's scoring streak alive by intercepting a Tavita Pritchard pass and returning it 40 yards for a score
Recent visitors at practice have included Bill Walsh, Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby, Dr. Jerry Porras (professor in the Graduate School of Business and author of the bestselling book, Built to Last) and Todd Husak, Stanford's starting QB in the 2000 Rose Bowl