Stanford Not Phased by Unsettled Quarterback Position
Aug. 4, 2008
STANFORD, Calif. - The only clarity that came at the end of spring drills back in March pertaining to Stanford's quarterback situation was the starting job was going to be earned sometime early in fall camp. The candidates--Tavita Prtichard, Alex Loukas and Jason Forcier--seem intent on making second-year head coach Jim Harbaugh's decision a tough one, as all three players have shined in various drills over the first three days of camp.
If there is ever a time that uncertainty in the quarterback position can be viewed as positive, this might be it. Coaches and players feel regardless of which player wins the starting job, Stanford will have quality depth at the position which will serve the team well during a long Pac-10 Conference season.
'It's a true quarterback competition,' said Harbaugh. 'It's not a nice guy competition. All three of them can make plays to help us win games. That's the bottom line. I wish we had a competition like this at every position.'
Pritchard might have the edge in experience after making nine appearances and seven starts a year ago, completing 97-of-194 (50%) of his passes for 1,114 yards and five touchdowns. He secured his spot in Stanford football lore when he engineered an epic, 24-23 upset of top-ranked USC in his first career start, connecting with Mark Bradford on a 10-yard touchdown pass with 0:49 left to seal one of the biggest upsets in college football history.
All three quarterbacks are taking the competition in stride.
'I expect to start on August 28th and I hope Alex and Jason feel they will, too,' said Pritchard. 'All three of us are going to make plays in camp, but we are going to make mistakes, too. We have to keep looking at things in the big picture and not worry that each play is being looked at under a microscope.
'We are all pulling for each other. This competition is elevating all of us.'
Forcier sat out last season after transferring from Michigan, where he saw action in six games as a reserve quarterback in 2006. After being slowed with nagging injuries during the first session of spring workouts, he adjusted quickly to a new offensive scheme during the latter half of spring drills and impressed coaches with his quickness and mobility.
'I feel I'm improving everyday with more reps,' said Forcier. 'We're all pushing each other to get better. If I win this job, I will know I earned it.'
After spending his first two seasons at Stanford as an understudy to starters Trent Edwards, T.C. Ostrander and Pritchard, Loukas demonstrated marked improvement, poise and confidence during the spring, indicating he is ready to have a significant impact on Stanford's quarterback scenario this season.
'I'm just trying to go out and compete to win every rep,' said Loukas. 'All three of us are very close off the field. We help each other with reads but at the same time, we all know it's a competition.'
'In this day, whether on the collegiate level or NFL, teams obviously need to have more than one quarterback ready to play games without a noticeable drop off,' noted offensive coordinator David Shaw. 'There's a mutual respect among the three of them. They are all competitive guys who are willing to fight for the job. None of them are content to sit around and just wait for their turn. It's a healthy competition.'
Heralded freshman Andrew Luck, who was rated as the fourth-best prep quarterback in the nation by Scout.com after passing for 2,684 yards and 19 touchdowns as a senior at Stratford High School in Houston, Tex., will undoubtedly figure large in Stanford's future quarterback plans.
Cardinal Clips: Stanford completed its third workout of camp this morning and broke for lunch and meetings at 12 noon...Pritchard was impressive in team drills this morning, connecting with Nate Wilcox-Fogel on a post pattern for a gain of 40 yards...he also completed a 25-yard corner route to tight end Coby Fleener and connected with freshman Warren Reuland for a 37-yard gainer...Loukas split two defenders in completing a 30-yard pass play to Richard Sherman...safety Austin Yancy had an interception...individual game tickets remain on sale at the Stanford Athletic Ticket Office, the Stanford Ticket Office at Tresidder Union, on-line at gostanford.com or over the phone by calling 1-800-STANFORD.