Patching up the OL

WITH THE COUGAR offensive line in more disrepair than a '73 Gran Torino, <b>Mike Price</b> is doing some shuffling this week to make sure any gaps are filled. He's also holding his breath that it'll be enough to get through Stanford on Saturday before getting that much-needed bye a week from now.

Tackles Sam Lightbody and Calvin Armstrong both are unlikely to play this week --- Armstrong with a pinched nerve suffered against USC and Armstrong with a bum ankle from playing basketball. What's worse is that they're just the latest Cougar hosses on the injured list. Top-flight tackle Josh Parrish went down with a broken leg three weeks ago and won't be back for another three, and senior left guard Phil Locker has missed the last two weeks with a deep leg bruise.

Locker, though, looks like he'll be ready to go for the Stanford game and probably will start. Redshirt freshman Riley Fitt-Chappell, Lightbody's capable understudy last week at left tackle, is slated for a starting nod as well. They'll join regulars Tyler Hunt (center), Derrick Roche (right guard), Billy Knotts (left guard) and Troy Bienemann (TE).

After redshirt freshman Norvell Holmes and true freshman Nick Mihlhaueser, both guards, the depth chart gets a bit clouded, so Price has moved back up defensive linemen Josh Shavies and Bryan Olsen to the OL. And Roche, an All-American caliber guard, is working out at tackle this week just in case. Shavies, tipping the scales at 320, is no stranger to the offensive line, having played tight end as a true freshman and sophomore.

"For us to be 5-1 at this point with all the injuries we've had is incredible," Price told today. "I just want to get through the Stanford game, win by a point and get home to get these guys healthy. After the bye, we're going to be in great shape, but until them I'm holding my breath."

Adding to Price's worries is the fact Stanford's offense, which has struggled this season with turnovers and the new formations introduced by first-year coach Buddy Teevens, consists pretty much of the same players who dropped a cool 39 points on the Cougars last year.

Moreover, Card quarterback Chris Lewis may be the Cardinal most off track this season, but he's a talented player with a lot of experience. And standout back Kerry Carter looks to be fully healthy.

"These are the same kids we saw last year. They can move the ball," Price said. "These guys scare me."

Stanford's starting nose tackle, Craig Albrecht (Achilles' tendon) is out for the year and his backup, Babatunde Oshinowo, has a sore ankle

Kickoff is at 2 pm PT at Stanford Stadium. There will be no live TV coverage.

Oddsmakers have installed the No.12-ranked Cougars as 6 1/2 point favorites.
Sammy Moore tweaked a hamstring on his heroic fourth quarter catch against USC last week and his questionable for the Stanford game.

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