Holder, Meeks and Marx ruled out for Washington
Yep. This is going to be a fun one.
The program is obviously officially mum on the injuries as usual, but it looks like that recurring right shoulder injury is officially sidelining Holder, and Meeks has also been ruled out after getting taken out of the UCLA game. Marx was also beat up in that game, and though he returned late against the Bruins, he’ll be held out as well.
Alameen Murphy and Terrence Alexander will start at corner on Friday for the Cardinal, with Frank Buncom the first man off the bench in his first real exposure on defense. Shaw said that he will rotate “at least three” cornerbacks.
“My teammates have faith in me and they know I’m going to do my job,” Buncom said. “My week of preparation I wouldn’t say has changed very much, but just with the anticipation of knowing that I have a bigger role this week coming up it’s also humbling at the same time.”
Buncom says the DBs have a pretty significant rotation in the first-team defense anyway, so the practices and his routine won’t change much other than him getting a lot more reps under his belt and working on communication within the defense, especially with a noisy Husky Stadium set to explode on Friday.
Shaw said Monday that he wouldn’t necessary rule out burning a freshman’s redshirt if he absolutely needs to against Washington. Among the freshmen, I’m told that Malik Antoine has been very sharp mentally and has been taking reps with the twos on defense. Obi Eboh was dealing with a minor groin issue for a while but has since been improving steadily.
Of course, Murphy and Alexander both saw extended playing time towards the end of last season with both Ronnie Harris and Holder out down the stretch, but they’re a clear step down from Holder and Meeks.
Washington’s John Ross might be the fastest receiver in the conference, according to Shaw, and slot receiver Chico McClatcher is averaging 22 yards per catch. Stanford’s had trouble with the tight ends and slot guys matching up in pass coverage with linebackers, and Alexander’s had trouble getting beat over the top. No bueno.
Both fullbacks have been practicing well, and the team has been steadily ramping up Reagan Williams’ workload over the course of the season. Shaw says that he and Chris Harrell will split the snaps “possibly fairly evenly.”
The injury list continues to mount, with Francis Owusu already having been ruled out for Friday.
…and we’re also not sure about Taboada and Fanaika
Taboada got banged up early against UCLA and Fanaika quietly didn’t play. Shaw says that the team’s still going to wait and see on those two.
The Ty Montgomery kickoff loophole play finds its roots at Stanford
Shaw gave a proud smile when asked about Montgomery’s play on a kickoff return on Sunday, when he crept out of bounds and touched the ball with his feet on the sideline to force a “kickoff out of bounds” penalty for 15 yards.
“Of course I’ve seen it when guys do it, because we’ve practiced it,” Shaw said.
Montgomery texted Shaw in the aftermath of the game asking him to thank special teams coach Pete Alamar for running those drills at Stanford.
“It’s a little-known rule, but it gives the returner a great out to make sure that it is a penalty,” Shaw said.
“I’d have loved to see the [helmet-to-helmet rule] changed three days ago. I don’t know why we’ve got to wait until the end of the year. It doesn’t make any sense. If we look at that hit, anybody who loves college football, who watches college football, coaches it, plays it, officiates it, is a fan of it, is a parent of a player who plays it, tells you right now that should be outlawed. It should be in ink in the rulebook today. We don’t have to wait until the offseason. We’re more advanced than that.” – David Shaw