Stanford football held their annual Cardinal and White Spring Game last weekend at Cagan Stadium where the Cardinal soccer play. It was a relatively close game between the offense and the defense, but the offense managed to come out on top even without superstar Christian McCaffrey.
There was a lot going on in the smaller venue holding 1,900 people, but what is most important to take away from the teams spring game is how the two competing quarterbacks played, how the offense performed with no McCaffrey and a few notable defensive players that will benefit the team since losing crucial players last year.
The two quarterbacks that will have to battle it out for a starting position for the 2016 season are Keller Chryst and Ryan Burns. Chryst has been the favorite since last season, playing behind former quarterback Kevin Hogan. However, since Saturdays game things are starting to swing more towards Burns.
Burns came in the game looking confident and ready. He showed no intimidation with the pocket pressure and was able to complete passes as well as making sure to get in countless reps. Countless reps and familiarizing himself with the playbook is what will serve to Burns advantage if he wants to become the starter. Statistics wise Burns showed that he played a better game than Chryst on Saturday completing 17 of 23 attempts for 153 yards and two touchdowns.
Chryst also had a strong game once he got settled in. It took him a little longer than Burns to get warm and start playing topnotch ball, but once he did he looked poised and accurate. Chryst completed 16 of 25 attempts for 156 yards with two touchdowns.
Former teammate Zach Hoffpauir who is transitioning from playing professional baseball last season to coming back to The Farm this season comments on both these quarterbacks.
“Obviously they’re both super talented, amazing arms,” Hoffpauir said. “Probably two of the best arms in the country or the Pac-12. But now you can tell they’re really commanding the offense, making their checks, their kills, all that stuff, so they’re doing a great job.”
The offense managed to defeat the defense this year even without McCaffrey. Coach David Shaw has been resting McCaffrey just about this whole spring season, because they are aware of how grueling their season will be. McCaffrey only appeared in the spring game for three punt returns. Shaw did not want the running back to participate in any contact since there will be plenty of that to come in just a few months.
While McCaffrey was on the sideline it gave sophomore Bryce Love a chance to stand out and prove himself. In Saturdays game Love had a total of 11 carries for 48 yards and two touchdowns. Exciting things are among the Cardinal with Love stepping up and McCaffrey’s extreme talent.
McCaffrey and Love will make a great duo because while one is the running back the other is capable of being the wide receiver. Assisting in that offense could also be Cameron Scarlett. The sophomore weighing 216-pounds will be able to help in the short yardage game that former running back Remound Wright left behind last year.
Another great addition to the offense that we saw on Saturday was David Bright. Bright brings a calmness to the team as he can fill many voids that previous players left behind. Bright’s versatility allows him to be able to play right or left tackle and guard. Those are key positions that needed to be filled since Joshua Garnett and Kyle Murphy departed last season.
A couple players to acknowledge on defense as well are Solomon Thomas and Jordan Watkins. Thomas has been known for leading the team this past winter and spring by being a role model for the younger players, and always willing to give 100 percent. While Watkins demonstrated his ability to play strong defense and obtain two tackles for a loss on Saturday.
Things are looking good so far for the Cardinal as they take a break and will all come back together in a few months to begin training for the season. Hopefully, by then we will have a better idea on who the starting quarterback will be. Shaw sure has a tough decision to make with that one.