Stanford Begins Life Without Luck


Stanford Head Coach David Shaw has a lot on his plate at the moment. For one, he has to deal with the punishment of his All-American linebacker, Shane Skov, who was arrested recently for driving under the influence. Secondly, Shaw has to make two coaching hires after Special Teams/Recruiting ace Brian Polian left for Texas A&M, and Co-Defensive Coordinator Jason Taver departed for Oakland.

While these issues will likely be solved very soon, there is one pressing issue facing Shaw and his staff as they head into spring practice next month. That is finding the successor for QB Andrew Luck, who has since moved onto the NFL draft.

You know all about the accolades- Luck was a two-time offensive player of the year in the Pac-12, a consensus All-American, and a quarterback who could make all the throws. Stanford won double-digit games under his watch, and went to two consecutive BCS bowl games.

He’s projected to be the top pick in the upcoming April draft, and his legacy at Stanford probably won’t be matched for a very long time, if ever. Still, Shaw is confident that he will find a suitable replacement for Luck. Just who will replace Luck though? According to Shaw it will be a five-man race that will start in the spring and carry on well into the fall.

The first candidate is junior Brett Nottingham. Nottingham has the size (6-4, 210), the arm strength and ability to run Stanford’s Pro-Style attack- now the only ingredient missing is experience. In 2011 he completed just 5-of-8 passes for 78 yards and one touchdown. Nottingham earned the backup spot to Andrew Luck this past season, so he will head into 2012 as the likely leader for the position.

The second candidate is senior Robbie Picazo. Like Nottingham, Picazo has only thrown 3 passes in his entire Stanford career, and as a former walk-on, doesn’t have the accolades that Nottingham garnered as a four-star recruit in 2009.

The three other candidates are junior Josh Nunes, who threw two passes in 2010, and a pair of freshmen who redshirted last season, Kevin Hogan and Evan Crower. Neither Crower nor Hogan came with much recruiting hype, but they’ve got the  size and ability the the others possess.

Though the situation looks dire now, all is not lost for Stanford. There is considerable talent in this group of quarterbacks, with a good mix of experience (in the system), and whoever wins the starting positions should be protected by a strong running game. Couple that with back-to-back excellent recruiting classes, and Stanford should be set to continue a strong run in the Pac-12.Will they make it a to a BCS game? Probably not, but the days of Stanford winning 4 or 5 games are long gone.