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Cardinal Notebook: Ty Montgomery questionable for UC Davis, Barry Sanders emerging, Shaw loves O-line

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The beginning of camp has produced plenty to talk about for the Cardinal

Stephen Dunn

1. After media days revealed that Ty Montgomery was still recovering after right shoulder surgery, Montgomery's status was in doubt for both the opener against UC Davis and week 2 against USC. However, in the last several days, David Shaw has asserted that Montgomery is ahead of schedule in his recovery and could not miss any time.

In Shaw's own words:

"I never follow the direction of the player. I always follow the direction of the doctors," Shaw said. "We'll see. Ty's ahead of schedule. He's ahead of schedule. He's a phenomenal athlete. And if he's ready to go Game 1 and the doctors say, `You know what, he's at limited risk for re-injury, let's let him go play,' I'm all for it.

"There's no babying football players," Shaw added. "If Ty's ready to go, he's returning kickoffs, he's playing the game. If he's not, we'll hold him off. I don't have an issue with that."

2. A couple of position battles have already been settled after the first week of camp: Johnny Caspers will be the starting right guard, and De La Salle product Austin Hooper will be the starting Y tight end. Caspers, a member of the recruiting class of 2012, makes it a clean sweep across the line for that class, while Hooper appears to be the most complete of all the tight ends on the roster. Eric Cotton, Greg Taboada and Charlie Hopkins are all promised playing time, and I would be particularly interested to see the massive Cotton used as a red zone target.

3. About that o-line: David Shaw has talked them up big time.

"I don't mind saying it: This is the most talented offensive line that we've had since we've been here,'' he said.

That's some serious talk. He's also compared Andrus Peat to Jonathan Ogden in the past. While the line looked like it has some work to do in the Spring Game, there's no reason not to be optimistic about this group.

3. Kelsey Young has assumed the role of the lead back in the crowded group, and all reports from open practices indicate that Young has had success running between the tackles. Power football had been the big question for Young, a fly sweep specialist over the last few years, but he appears to have adjusted well.

4. Meanwhile, Shaw has indeed promised us more Barry Sanders. While it's unclear how the carries will break down by running back as the year goes along, I wouldn't be particularly surprised to see Sanders get the 2nd-most snaps of any back. His ability to catch passes will come in handy on 3rd down, and he showed improvement at following power blocking during the spring game.

5. Remound Wright will be back from his disciplinary suspension soon, and rejoin the busy backfield.

6. Freshman Keller Chryst will redshirt this season, but that didn't stop Todd Husak from being blown away by the Paly product at open practice on Saturday.

7. Fellow freshman Christian McCaffrey has earned a lot of praise in camp. Shaw mentioned that McCaffrey will probably be the freshman to see the most playing time this fall, and it appears he could help out in the return game and perhaps as a fill-in for the Kelsey Young fly sweep role. McCaffrey has always shown real speed and vision, so if he's big enough to handle some hits, he'll be an interesting piece to add to the offense.

Also, quarterback coach George Whitfield chimed in with this tidbit: