The fallout from this past weekend's upset loss is felt emotionally throughout the Cardinal community, but an immediate physical impact is felt as well. The man whose hands hold the key to any Stanford success this year, have bloodied and swollen hands. The Cardinal took a massive hit in the first quarter Saturday when quarterback Trent Edwards was hit by a pair of UC Davis pass rushers. He left the game with two bloodied hands and never returned. His right (throwing) hand was wrapped in ice as Stanford's starting signal caller stood on the sideline.
As much as fans' faith has been shaken by this unprecedented loss, their hope for the remainder of the season goes hand in hand with Edwards hands. The schedule affords a bye this weekend, fortunately for the Cardinal and their quarterback, but will Edwards be back next Saturday for the Pac-10 opener against Oregon?
"The ball is in my court right now," Edwards begins with a basketball metaphor. "Structurally, everything is place - the bones, the tendons and everything. It's pretty swollen right now. It's hard to put pressure on it."
Ironically, the hand that was bleeding the worst on Saturday was Edwards' left, though it is his right hand that is the most swollen today. The quarterback has a bone bruise on his right ring finger, between the middle and upper knuckles.
"I wish it were the other way around," the redshirt junior laughs. "It will be a slow progression the next couple of days. It's coming along great - the ice and exercises to treat it."
With a unique schedule during this bye week, Stanford was to have Monday and Tuesday off but instead ran a difficult progression of 100-yard sprints. Wednesday was to be the first day returning to practice, though the NCAA-allowed maximum of seven coaches were still on the road (they returned today) recruiting. While the linemen ran, the skill players conducted seven-on-seven work. Edwards did not throw, and he is not expected to throw today when the coaches and team return to a full and normal practice regimen. The Los Gatos (Calif.) native says that he expects to throw on Sunday, the first practice of the Oregon game week.
"I'll be back," he proclaims.
Until Edwards returns, the remaining Cardinal quarterbacks will pick up the slack. Redshirt sophomore T.C. Ostrander can greatly benefit from the opportunities this week to take the lead in repetitions with the Stanford offense - something he did not have prior to the Davis game. Something that showed in his performance in the Davis game.
Another question which we had to ask last Saturday was who Walt Harris would play should injury also take Ostrander out of action. Given the protection, or abject lack thereof, afforded by the Stanford offensive line, quarterback injuries would seem to be probability and not a possibility. Would he turn to true freshman Tavita Pritchard, of little experience and even less meat on his lean frame, or redshirt freshman Garrett Moore, with less gifts but a year of Stanford Football under his belt?
"I think of the two next guys, one has a lot more knowledge in our offense," Harris responds. "The other is a recruited football player on our team, Tavita Pritchard, who has more overall talent. We'll probably work both of them, but I would think Tavita would be the guy."
Pritchard ran Stanford's scout team offense last week in preparation for the Davis game, though we will watch in the coming days to see the repetitions and work he receives if Harris indeed prepares the Washington state slinger for action as the Cardinal's third thrower.
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