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November 14, 2012

Progress Report: Frosh OL

When the 2012 Stanford recruiting class was announced, coach David Shaw made an interesting statement about the talent level of the group of offensive linemen the Cardinal signed.

"Forget about Stanford, this could be one of the best o-line classes in modern football history," Shaw said.

The chief beneficiary of that talent is Stanford OL coach Mike Bloomgren, who knows and works with the group more than anyone.

Cardinal Sports Report spoke to Bloomgren about his thoughts on each player's progress so far this season.

Here's what Bloomgren had to say:

Andrus Peat

"Andrus has come so far. The only the that's held Andrus back from being as could as he can be right now is the injuries that he's had. Getting banged up in camp, missing time there, and having this hand injury, which has now turned into a great weapon. He's used to learn how to use the cast a little bit when he punches, which is awesome. He's taken some great strides, we've thrown him in games and all he's done is play at a very high level."

Kyle Murphy

"What hasn't Kyle done for us? I just wish Kyle weighed 320 pounds like the other two (Peat, Garnett). He's gained 15 pounds since camp started, which is really hard to do, as we all know. Especially with practicing and lifting the way these guys do. He's our jumbo tight end and he does some things innately. Football comes pretty easy to Kyle Murphy. It's a lot of fun."

Joshua Garnett

"Josh has been an assassin for us. We put him in there to drive block the biggest people on their line or we put him in at fullback to lead block on Manti Te'o. He does a great job. He's a guy I wish we could find more ways to get him in the game. It's a depth thing. We've got guys playing pretty well at this point. Kevin Danser is playing like and all conference guard and Khalil Wilkes is taking steps week in, week out to get better."

Graham Shuler

"Graham is another kid that's gained some weight. He went on a road trip with us, came to the hotel with us and we told him it was for two reasons: 1) Because he's earned the right to. He's done such a great job. 2) The other reason was so he could be around us and get those milkshakes after dinner and get those calories or a road trip and he put on like five pounds, which is phenomenal."

Is he the heir apparent at center?

"It's hard to say that because we have other guys in the program that have worked so hard, like Conor McFadden and those kind of guys, but Graham is awfully, awfully talented," Bloomgren said.

Nick Davidson

"Nick is a guy that you've seen him progress. He's starting to put on the weight - that's a thing. You had two guys who came in as monsters at 320 pounds in Andrus and Josh and these other guys came in as normal-sized collegiate freshmen. They're all working hard to put on that weight and Nick has done a good job. Nick loves football. Nick has it pretty ingrained in his DNA with his grandfather and his dad (Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach Jeff Davidson)."

Did you get to know his dad?

"A little bit," Bloomgren said. "We had met at combines and stuff in the past and through the recruiting process we got to visit a good bit. I think the world of his parents."

Johnny Caspers

"Johnny is up over 280 now. I think he was at 257 when he came in. The strength numbers are going through the roof. I love the way he plays. They're all willing and there are really no busts in that class. We're going to love watching them for years to come."

Where does the class stack up compared to expectations?

"I think you have to say exceed," Bloomgren said. "That's hard to say about a class that
had that much fanfare, but three of them are playing a ton of snaps for us and three of them are redshirting. I don't think they're redshirting behind a line that stinks. I think David Yankey is playing at a higher level than anyone in college football right now. He's kind of unique combination of David DeCastro and Jonathan Martin. He's
unbelievable."

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