July 27, 2010

Cardinal Camp preview: Quarterback

Biggest question: Who will emerge as #2 on depth chart

Arguably there is no position on the Cardinal depth chart with gap as wide as the one from starter Andrew Luck and whomever is listed as second team. And that is no slight to the back-ups, Luck is that good. Stanford will go into camp with several candidates for the spot behind Luck. Redshirt freshmen Josh Nunes and Robbie Picazo had uneven spring campaigns, and neither took hold of the #2 slot. Former back-up Alex Loukas, who sat out 2009 with a knee injury, was moved to safety for spring drills but indications are he will return to quarterback. With undermanned Sacramento State the #2 QB figures to get playing time the opening week. And whomever emerges out of camp, the depth chart behind Luck could remain fluid all fall.

What we know right now: Luck is a rare, elite player

In Andrew Luck, Stanford and Jim Harbaugh have a rare gem: an elite quarterback who is a team leader and conducts himself with class both on and off the field. The 2010 off-season has seen Luck's name mentioned at the top of NFL draft projections should the redshirt sophomore leave school early. Luck is on quarterback watch lists and All-American teams and he is poised for a break-out season. With the departure of All-American running back Toby Gerhart the offense figures to rely more on Luck and a strong passing attack.

Fresh fall camp faces: Nottingham, Daniel and Olson

Stanford adds three quality arms to the QB depth chart. Nottingham, a late switch from an UCLA commitment and Daniel, a signee from Alabama are intriguing prospects. Walk-on David Olson turned down offers from several D-1 schools to attend Palo Alto and Cardinal coaches are enthusiastic about his potential. Daniel has flashed his great athleticism at informal summer workouts, and will be one to watch when camp opens. At this point it is hard to predict anything but a redshirt season for Nottingham and Olson.
Early camp prediction

Look for Luck to pick-up where he left off in 2010, showing no lingering effects of his hand injury that caused him to miss the bowl game. Loukas will provide Harbaugh and the offense an experienced, change of pace running option as he moves back to quarterback. Nunes and Picazo will continue to fight for depth chart slots, with Nunes gaining a slight upper hand.

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