Stanford had its spring game on Saturday and there were plenty of fans in the house. Even Mother Nature was a Stanford fan on Saturday as much of the heavy rains went away before the game started and stayed dry for the majority of the game. Going into the game, I wasn't looking for much as I know what we have on defense and it is still as good as advertised. I know we have a quarterback competition that will likely be decided the last week of August, and we have the best player in country in Christian McCaffrey. Still, there are always surprises whether they are good or bad that pop up during the spring game. Now before we get into the 2016 edition, remember that many players have turned in terrible spring game performances but still had impressive seasons the same year so a scrimmage game in April isn't a death sentence.
The first thing that was good to see was FANS. It doesn't matter that Stanford had to move their spring game to the soccer field to make the game look full. The weather wasn't perfect and yet plenty of fans young and old arrived to get an early glimpse of the 2016 squad. Stanford was an average football team in the 90's but they filled the old Stanford Stadium up. Stanford is now a national contender and needs to start packing the stadium anytime they play.
The second thing that was probably not a shock to me or many other fans but more of a disappointment was Luke Kaumatule. Kaumatule looked like he was still learning to play on the defensive side of the ball and regardless of who he went up against on the offensive line, he couldn't budge them. At 6'7, 300 pounds, he is built to be a force but it looks like the only Luke you'll see with the force is Skywalker. Kaumatule, barring a magical summer, shouldn't see any meaningful time.
That doesn't mean the defensive line is bad. Stanford had Solomon Thomas all over the field and he could be an All-American. Harrison Phillips was dressed but did not play as he is recovering from his ACL injury last season and some of the younger players like Wesley Annan and Dylan Jackson among others looked good in spurts.
The quarterback competition that won't be solved until August might have been an overstatement. Ryan Burns looked like a guy that finally gets his time to shine. Even his interception wasn't all his fault as he might have been throwing against one of the best corners in the Pac-12 in Quenton Meeks; luckily Meeks plays for Stanford during the real games. Burns threw well, ran well, and looked like a confident upperclassman.
Keller Chryst on the other hand still looked like the college game was moving too fast and was inconsistent all day. The one positive that I can take away from this is don't expect Chryst to be a clipboard holder. He is still very athletic and you may see Shaw use him like he did with Kevin Hogan in his first season. I will also say that even though I think it was an easy decision to say Burns is better than Chryst, it is still only April and Burns wasn't good enough to completely rule out Chryst or incoming freshman K.J. Costello competing for the starting job.
There wasn't much that was noteworthy but Stanford could have even more weapons offensively this season than last. Losing Hooper will be tough but Stanford has playmakers all over the field at all times and Bryce Love and Trent Irwin are already making preseason all-conference headlines. Rector is a homerun threat at all times and tight end Dalton Schultz is going to add to the list of Stanford tight ends who burst onto the national scene.
Oh yeah, that Christian McCaffrey guy is still on the team and he had a few fair catches on punts but was technically inactive. He has gotten bigger, stronger, and faster but Shaw wants to make sure not to burn his best player in April.
That is pretty much my take and if you have any questions or comments, I'd love to hear them.