Stanford football head coach David Shaw met with the media today to preview spring football which begins on Monday. There was no breaking news to report but there was some insights. I will have a complete transcript of the press conference later this afternoon but here are a few highlights that stuck out to me.
**Quarterback Alex Loukas has left the program. One of the many big competitions this offseason will who gets to back up Andrew Luck. Redshirt sophomores Josh Nunes and Robbie Picazo will have to battle redshirt freshmen Brett Nottingham and Darren Daniels during the spring. Daniels will see time at both quarterback and wide receiver this spring.
**Tight end Levine Toilolo will see some limited action this spring. He is progressing nicely from a knee injury that cost him almost all of last season. Shaw says “we need him on the football field this fall” so they will be very cautious with him this spring.
**The coaching staff has one opening left. The coach who will be in charge of tackles and tight ends has yet to be hired and Shaw says he does not expect to hire anyone in the near future.
**Mike Sanford will coach the running backs. Mike Bloomgren has been hired for the offensive line and run game coordinator. Shaw’s connection to Bloomgren is through Bill Callahan, a Jets mentor for both of them.
**The offensive line has some gaping holes to fill and it will be another source of intense competition this offseason. Khalil Wilkes and Sam Schwartzstein will get the first crack at competing for the center position. At least entering spring, Jonathan Martin will stay at left tackle and David DeCastro will stay at right guard.
**It is not often you need four players to replace one, but that is what Shaw says Stanford will need to replace Owen Marecic. They need one player at linebacker and three at fullback.
**Sophomore Blake Lueders will begin camp at outside linebacker but Shaw expects him to move around at the linebacker position until they find the best spot for him.
**Shaw also emphasized the wide receiver position saying they need a few young receivers to really step up. Plenty of playing time is available on the other side of Chris Owusu.
**Shaw said he was surprised when OLB/DE Thomas Keiser decided to turn pro. “He could have benefited from another year.” But Shaw also talked about his positives and said “he will get a shot” to play on Sundays.
**Shaw did discuss play calling. It sounds as if the play calling may be another convoluted scenario like last season with three people all having heavy input. Shaw says he will have the final say, but Pep Hamilton will call a lot of plays and Bloomgren will have heavy input as well.
**Shaw called kicker Nate Whitaker one of the unsung heroes of last season. He emphasized the kickoff coverage success as much as the field goal kicking. Shaw says that will be another hot spot for competition.