10/1 (Tuesday) Practice Notes

If you are looking for some changes in both attitude and personnel following Saturday's tempest in Tempe, then you want to read the latest practice notes. Tuesday was the first full contact practice since the ASU game, and there are some changes not noted on the depth chart. There is also some very significant injury news to note...

  • The injury news is the most significant set of updates from Tuesday's practice.  The bad news is that Casey Moore went down early Tuesday with an unknown foot or ankle injury.  He spent the remainder of the practice on the training table and did not return.  I hope to have more word on Wednesday as to his condition and prognosis.  On the more positive side, a number of banged up players returned to action.  Kerry Carter and Luke Powell both worked out, and both ran at the end of practice.  It is hard to say if Powell is 100%, but Carter certainly ran like a man with his physical faculties available to him.  Updating some of the more longstanding injuries, Caleb Bowman is not yet in uniform but he is running around with his knee brace pretty well.  Justin McCullum is now 100% integrated with the offense, in both passing drills and 11-on-11 work.  Unless there is some setback this week, he looks like he should travel to South Bend.  The outstanding question, though, is whether he is mentally and physically up to speed to be able to contribute.  Cardinalmaniacs™ should cross their fingers than he will reach that point very soon, since he has the tools to be a big help to this team.  Finally, Josiah Vinson is fully recovered to the point that he is working out at right guard in full contact drills and scrimmage work.  The probability is low, but don't count out Vinson as someone who could still help this team if there is a need at guard...
  • Returning to Kerry Carter, he ripped off the best run in a practice seen since training camp.  Normally great plays are cheered only by the teammates on that side of the ball, but he open-field move he used just past the line of scrimmage to juke the defense was good enough from a player important enough to this team that there were yelps from the entire roster.  KC needs to bring that to South Bend - bigtime.
  • If Casey Moore is absent come Saturday, Cooper Blackhurst is the #2 guy at fullback, an he got a lot of work Tuesday.  There is no question that he does not have the breakaway abilities of Casey, but I do see Cooper as a better receiving back.  And knock on wood, but Cooper holds on to the ball like an appendage in practices.  With the recent rash of fumbles, that might be as important as anything.  I also saw some use of Kerry Carter as the upback, with another tailback set behind...
  • The big position switch is that defensive end Will Svitek has been moved to tight end.  The high ankle sprain to Matt Traverso before last week's ASU game was a murderous one for a roster depleted of TEs, but any hope for an early return from Traverso was squashed when Buddy Teevens used the words "extended period" to describe his injury timeframe in Tuesday's press conference.  The Svitek move bolsters the idea that Traverso could be out for a long time, if not the remainder of the season.  This is a bold move that says a couple things: Svitek's athletic abilities are very respected to move him from a starting spot on defense to #2 tight end - i.e. the belief is that he can give an equivalent contribution in a short time at a completely different position; and there is confidence in the depth and abilities left behind at the rush DE position with Julian Jenkins, Louis Hobson and Michael Lovelady.  Note that Svitek was a serious stud tight end in high school...
  • This practice had more rumbling fire than any I have seen from Stanford in a long time.  Lots of emotion and yelling from both players and coaches, with an emphasis on killing all mistakes.  The urgency is clear, though I want to see how it is sustained through Wednesday's practice...
  • As Buddy promised, the repetitions at QB are pretty evenly split for Chris Lewis and Kyle Matter.  I saw nothing that gave an early hint at who will earn Saturday's start, though I did not a really poor first half of practice from Lewis.  Still throwing balls into bad spots, and sailing passes over open receivers.
  • As I predicted Tuesday on the BootBoard Plus message board, Babatunde Oshinowo is making the big move on the defensive depth chart.  Though just a redshirt freshman behind two fifth year senior nose tackles, O.J. got a lot of the work with the first string defense alongside Matt Leonard.
  • T.J. Rushing had the defensive play of the day when he made a great break on a Chris Lewis pass and grabbed the pick.  In a game, he would have been gone for six.  That kid is quick...
  • Good practice for Gerren Crochet.  Showed good hands in tandem with his speed.
  • I see some perturbations in the passing game being implemented...

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