Football News and Notes

The injury report keeps piling up, including the loss of an exciting defensive player for the remainder of the season. Also a look at the quarterback sitution, and how things might have played out differently this year. Plus the timing on the decisions on fifth years for the redshirt juniors.

  • The injury front continues to be a sad and sore subject, with another rash of injuries coming in the past week.  At the running back spot, J.R. Lemon sprained his ankle and most likely cannot go this Saturday against Oregon State...  Kenneth Tolon had a flashy start when he entered the game, but left after his ankle was rolled.  He did not return, and also did not practice Monday - "by design," according to Teevens.  He described Tolon as "day to day" for this week, though sounds hopeful that he will have the shifty tailback for Saturday...  On the defensive side of the ball Michael Craven was unable to play at all on Saturday, with his stinger injury aggravated to the point that he told the coaches he could not go.  This stinger has been limiting Craven for the last several weeks...  Stud freshman defensive end Julian Jenkins fractured the radius in his arm in the second half of Saturday's game, but played through the remainder of the game.  Teevens described the young warrior as "stoic" about the injury, not breathing a word of any pain until after the game.  He was so nonchalant about it that only a Sunday X-ray turned up the break.  It is an unintrusive break, which means it should heal in good time, but Jenkins is done for the year.
  • The injury to Jenkins thins out the defensive end position, and Will Svitek will be the most immediate answer to help add depth.  Svitek moved earlier this season to tight end, where he has been a very solid #2 to play not just behind Alex Smith, but on the field with him in two-TE sets.  When Drew Caylor was banged up a couple weeks ago, Svitek took double-duty in practice in preparation for possible ironman duty at TE and DE in games.  That turned out to be unnecessary, but now with Jenkins done for the last two games of the season, Svitek is again hearing the call.  He should get work on both sides of the ball this week in practice, and has a serious chance at playing both in these remaining games.
  • Some folks who have been recovering from injuries include a cadre of receivers.  Caleb Bowman made great progress from his fall camp knee injury and surgery, to the point that he actually played in late October.  But lightning incredibly struck twice, and a broken hand now has him done for the year... Justin McCullum made great progress coming back from major knee surgery in the spring, though Teevens says he is "practicing but not quite yet ready to play"...  Nick Sebes had medial collateral damage to his knee this fall, but Teevens says Nick has fought back aggressively in his recovery.  "You have to admire guys like that," Teevens glows.  Says Sebes is not quite all the way back, but there is a chance he could go this Saturday against Oregon State.  The coach pines about the possibility, "We could use his speed out there."
  • Kyle Matter will continue in his starting role at quarterback this Saturday, seemingly regardless of the recovery of Chris Lewis.  Lewis is still struggling with his bruised shoulder, which inconsistently acts up on him.  Last week, Lewis actually enjoyed his best day of throwing since the injury, but then could not throw at all the next day.  His health status for this weekend is completely up in the air, though his very spotty opportunities for repetitions the last several weeks in practice dictate that he would not start even in healthy.  The question is whether he can play, not whether he can start.  The one positive note here is that Teevens sees Lewis as probable, and that is an upgrade from last week.  He threw lightly on Monday, and hopefully can build throughout the week.
  • Speaking of the quarterback situation, a big ol' bucket of irony has been splashed on this offense.  Back in the season opener at Boston College, Kyle Matter delivered a strong and surprising performance.  The staff didn't know what they would or could get out of the redshirt freshman, who played pretty well for his first ever college game.  Then he followed up with a strong performance in relief of an injured Lewis in the San Jose State game.  Those early returns told the offensive coaches that they had their solid top two at the position, and decided then that they could safely redshirt Trent Edwards.  Only deeper into the season did it become apparent that the quarterback play for Stanford was woefully inadequate for this offense or any offense, but to the credit of Teevens and his coaches, they are sticking by their guns in redshirting Edwards.  His progress, both mentally and physically, this fall has been significant, and he could honestly be the most able quarterback right now to play.  A lot of coaches panic and will burn redshirts for very temporary gratification, but Teevens wants to take the long view and save a full four years of Trent Edwards.  On the one hand, it is the right decision and a very strong sign of the fortitude of Teevens to hold on to the redshirt... though on the other hand it is poignantly and painfully clear how the start to the season ironically kept a great QB on the shelf.
  • Speaking to that point going forward, Teevens says that he will conduct a completely open quarterback competition this spring for all five slingers.  He particularly is putting a lot of weight into the "work ethic" that the QBs show in this off-season.  Any guy who rests on his laurels (though I don't think any laurels for resting can be found at that position today), will find himself behind in the game, so to speak.  Teevens was not happy with the commitment shown this past summer, of which he can have no direct control or supervision, and wants a revolution in leadership and ethic between Big Game and spring football.
  • The USC game had possibly the pinnacle of efficiency for this offense, including a runaway running game and perfect 14-of-14 throwing by Kyle Matter.  Yet the O added up just 147 yards of offense?  That's the most disheartening stat of the season.  And if Dennis Erickson or Jeff Tedford have any lingering doubts about what Stanford's offense might be capable of, that line of questioning is over.  This offense officially cannot get the b

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