Fanaika is out against Washington too, Taboada is TBD
This brings the total injury count up to five: Owusu, Meeks, Holder, Marx and now Fanaika, the extra offensive lineman, whom Shaw says will most likely not play against the Huskies on Friday. Tight end Greg Taboada is still questionable – we probably won’t know about him until the day of the game.
Fanaika’s loss is pretty big (no pun intended) – he’d been one of Stanford’s top offensive line performers to start the season despite not being a starter. In Fanaika’s absence against UCLA, we saw a lot more of Nick Wilson – expect more of that on Friday. Wilson actually played pretty well against the Bruins last week, but it’ll remain to be seen how much Stanford will want to turn to particularly heavy sets against Washington’s stout front seven.
When asked about who might play in Taboada’s place if the tight end isn’t ready to go, Shaw just smiled and said, “We have options.”
I wouldn’t expect Stanford to actually play Ben Snyder or Scooter Harrington in too big of a role, so I’d imagine that Taboada’s loss is J.J. Arcega-Whiteside’s gain. There isn’t going to be much wiggle room against Washington’s secondary, especially with two experienced safeties, so having a big go-to-option to move the chains is not only necessary, but crucial.
As far as the injuries to Meeks, Marx and Holder go, Shaw said that they would “not necessarily” be out in the long-term and that they’ll be considered week-to-week until their return. Either way, it doesn’t sound like it should affect them too long, though I wouldn’t be surprised if Holder is slower to return given the recurring nature of his injury. It’d certainly be good to have them back for Washington State, though.
- Chris Petersen always has something tricky up his sleeve – remember in 2014, when he called an unsuccessful fake punt that set up Stanford’s go-ahead touchdown drive on a short field? Shaw is making sure to have his players prepared for any such shenanigans again. He’s prepared his team to know their responsibilities on any number of trick plays, such as fake punts, fake field goals and reverse passes. (“You never know what’s going to show up when,” Shaw said.)
- Shaw isn’t too worried about the cold (the forecast has the temperature in the 50s on Friday night in Seattle). He says that the heat is more of a concern for this team, since they actually get used to chilly environments because of the temperature usually ending up in the high 50s to low 60s by the end of practice on campus.
- Shaw isn’t expecting his team to be ready for the speed of Washington wide receiver John Ross, whom he called the fastest player in the Pac-12 when healthy. He thinks it’s going to take a bit of game time for his DBs to adjust to Ross. (“He’s no stranger to us. Our guys know him very well,” Shaw said. “Our guys have to be very, very careful and make sure that we try to limit the big plays.”)
- The team’s condition isn’t much of a concern coming off the short week. Shaw held them back a bit in a shorter practice on Monday, had a full, physical practice on Tuesday and just did a walk-through on Wednesday as to not wear them out too much.
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