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Some final notes from Kezar and the Cardinal & White game

I just wanted to touch on a few final things from the Spring game before Stanford moves on to focusing on individual workouts until August.

  • Luck looked fantastic out there.  Going 16-22 for 165 yards in a 48 minute game where he only played maybe five series is phenomenal.
  • After Luck, it still looked like the backup is Nunes.  I do agree with Jon Wilner, though, that it looks like the coaches really want Brett Nottingham to step up and compete for that backup spot.  Nottingham has improved by leaps and bounds since the open practice I saw him at in February, and I get the feeling that if he had had a little more experienced OLine in front of him while he played Saturday he would have definitely hit a few long bombs as opposed to getting touched for losses of 16 and 7 yards.
  • Zach Ertz will be a tremendous value to the offense come the Fall.  He was responsible for three of the Cardinal's six TDs and caught six passes for 64 yards.
  • Ryan Hewitt was a bit of a surprise at WR, notching up 61 yards on four catches.  Dependable Griff Whalen was outshone on receiving by both Hewitt and Ertz, but still went 39 yards on three catches.  If Owusu can stay healthy (a big if), then the passing game could get interesting next year.
  • If you saw the game on ESPN3, you probably noticed a graphic where Coach Bellotti talked about the running corps next year with Taylor, Wilkerson and Gaffney.  While Gaffney wasn't playing (he was in SoCal for baseball), the other two seemed to live up to their numbers from last season.  Wilkerson got almost half of his 65 yards on a single run during the opening series of the second quarter.  Freshman Ricky Seale was also another one of the surprises to take away from the game, going 52 yards on nine carriers.  And we still have Jeremy Stewart, a standout from the Orange Bowl.
  • Unlike last Saturday when I said the defense shone, this time I was really concerned about them at the beginning of the game.  Despite going up against the second-team offense, they allowed them to drive about fifty yards before Shayne Skov (it's really weird to see him with his war paint eye black and no mohawk) and company finally got a stop.  There weren't that many big "ooo" plays from the defense, but they did get a few sacks in there with Josh Mauro and Terrance Stevens and others.  Ben Gardner was especially effective late in the game with some key sacks against Nottingham.
  • I'm interested to see what incoming freshman linebacker James Vaughters brings to the defense.  ESPN commentators Mike Bellotti and Dave Fleming said that the coaches were raving about him and what he brings.
  • The wind caused substantial problems for the White team, but surprisingly didn't effect either FG/PAT kicker.  Both Williamson and Whitaker connected on all their kicks.  While it seemed the White team was always punting into the wind, the one punt from the Cardinal team was with the wind, so what should have been only about a forty yard punt ended up floating farther than that.
  • I just realized that while everyone keeps mentioning that Utah lucks out in not having to play either Stanford or Oregon next season, Stanford got two big breaks in the scheduling in playing Oregon at home and completely avoiding ASU and Vontaze Burfict.
  • The attendance at the game was pretty respectable.  Last year, only one side of the stadium was open to fans, filling up the stands.  This year, both sides of the stadium were open for seating.  While it wasn't a full house (sections located at the endzones were sparsely seated), there were still quite a few people there, filling up the sections from about 15-yard line to 15-yard line.  There also were quite a few people on the grass in the west endzone with their backs to the wind as well as people who seemed to be there just to enjoy the environment and food, milling about on the concourse.  I even saw someone wearing a Cal cap.