The afternoon session of Tuesday's practice had the distinct feeling of autumn in the air. Patches of gray clouds hung over the late afternoon sky, the air had a decisive crispness to it. On the practice field, the team now wore shoulder pads as fall practice continued into its first week.
Injuries of course are the enemy of any football team as it prepares for the season to start, and Stanford is no different, especially with depth a question mark for this squad. Michael Craven is a freshman linebacker, a consensus Prep All-American who will certainly contribute heavily come the start of the season. However his Cardinal career got off to a very shaky start as he pulled a hamstring last week during freshman workouts. While he was seen undergoing stretches in between several drills today, Stanford fans should be happy to know he was very active today's practice. The same cannot be said for Tank Williams though. The senior defensive back was hobbling around most of the time, nursing a sore back. Other kibbles and bits from practice:
- Will Brett Pierce be the go-to guy at tight end? After dropping a beautiful pass over the middle from Randy Fasani during 4-on-4 drills, the big guy came back with a very impressive diving grab, going parallel to the ground to make the play.
- Brandon Royster, also against the first team D, had a very nice run straight up the middle for a mythical touchdown, igniting a rousing ovation from the rest of the offense who were watching from the sideline.
- Prettiest play of the day would have to have come from the Chris Lewis/Ryan Wells combination. C-Lew pumped once and then threw a 50-yard bomb to the speedy wide out, allowing #4 to run under it and snatch it right along the sideline. Absolute perfection.
- J. R. Lemon (as in the fruit, and former Detroit Tiger Chet) had an impressive long punt return, albeit against limited contact by the special teams.
- Teyo Johnson continues to impress as a wide receiver. He not only hauls in conceivably every ball thrown to him, but also has the agility and speed to turn simple catches into big gains. Only exception was a floater from Kyle Matter that even the 6'6" hoopster couldn't snag. A collective gasp from the gallery was let out as Johnson got up unscathed. Teyo was also seen sporting a mini-afro. As stylish as it was, it in no way resembled the massive fro the great Andre Tyler sported.
- Not to make an early prediction, but Mike Sgroi should be the starting punter. The freshman Sgroi, who reportedly benched 13 reps of 250 lbs has quite a leg. He outkicks incumbent Eric Johnson every single time. However an even more depressing sight was watching a pitching-like machine "punt" balls to the returnees during drills.