Youth Being Served as Spring Game Approaches

April 7, 2009

STANFORD, Calif. - With the annual Cardinal and White Spring Game less than a week away, roles continue to be defined at key positions on both sides of the ball that will give Stanford a clearer picture of its personnel once camp opens in August.

With a combined 15 starters returning on offense and defense, Stanford will be far from starting from scratch come August. However, with three workouts remaining until the spring game on April 13, head coach Jim Harbaugh continues to be impressed with the development of many of Stanford's underclassmen, many of whom will be vying for starting roles for 2009.

'Our young guys have really been impressive this spring,' said Harbaugh. 'A lot of guys have really stepped up and have played beyond their years. Spring ball is about identifying players who can fill roles either as starters or backups. Even though we return 15 starters, the continued development of a lot of our younger players will play a large role in what kind of football team we will be once the season rolls around.'

Offensively, redshirt freshman David DeCastro has been listed atop to the depth chart at right guard since the beginning of the spring, while Jonathan Martin, another redshirt freshman, is making a strong push at left tackle.

'Both of those players will be anchors up front for years to come,' said Harbaugh. 'Martin improves every day and he has those long levers, which are a tremendous asset.'

Wide receiver Chris Owusu, who played in five games last year as a freshman, has worked his way into a potential starting role opposite Ryan Whalen.

At quarterback, the competition between senior Tavita Pritchard and Andrew Luck looks like it will spill over to fall camp, as both players continue to get equal reps in practice.

Defensively, sophomore Delano Howell has made a smooth transition from running back to strong safety, where he is listed first on the depth chart. However, Howell will likely miss the remainder of spring practice with a sprained knee, an injury that is not expected to sideline him for an extended period of time.

'He had seven practices at his new position, which may not sound like much, but it will give him a solid framework once fall camp rolls around,' said assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator Ron Lynn.

Sophomore Alex Debniak, who appeared in eight games last season, continues to push fifth-year senior Will Powers for the inside track at the 'sam' linebacker position. Lynn has been impressed with the teacher-student relationship that has developed among the two players.

'Will is a very good role model for Alex,' Lynn said. 'He (Powers) is very sound technically and has been around for awhile. Alex learns something new everyday just by watching Will.'

One of the most hotly-contested position battles of the spring has been at the 'will' linebacker position, where junior Chike Amajoyi and sophomore Max Bergen continue their competition for the top spot on the depth chart.

Working on Both Sides of the BallOwen Marecic's transformation into a two-way player is well past the experimental phase. The junior is working with the second team defense at middle linebacker and continues to get reps at his customary fullback position.

'Owen is a tough, physical guy who likes to play and hit people,' said Lynn. 'He has good size to play the mike position and he wants to learn. He can function on 60 snaps a game and they don't all have to come from one side of the ball.'

Loukas Tears ACL
Quarterback Alex Loukas tore his right ACL in practice last week and will likely not be available for the start of fall camp. Loukas' injury leaves Stanford with just two quarterbacks (Pritchard and Luck) for the remainder of the spring. Freshman Josh Nunes, who is part of Stanford's highly-acclaimed recruiting class, is the only other quarterback in the program.

Spring Game Set for April 13
The annual Cardinal and White Spring Game will take place on Monday, April 13 at Stanford Stadium beginning at 7 p.m. The team held its second annual spring draft last Saturday to determine the rosters for the Cardinal and White squads, which will be coached by D.J. Durkin and Greg Roman. Quarterback Andrew Luck was the first pick in the draft, while Tavita Pritchard was selected second. Wide receiver Chris Owusu was taken with the third pick.

Season Tickets Currently On Sale
Season tickets for Stanford's 2009 football season are currently on sale at the Stanford Athletic Ticket Office, on-line at GoStanford.com or by calling 1-800-Stanford. Current season ticket holders have until April 17 to renew their season tickets at the same seat location.

Season ticket packages for Stanford's seven-game home schedule, which includes dates against UCLA (Oct. 3), California (Nov. 21) and Notre Dame (Nov. 28) start as low as $169 and up to $299. An attractive Family Plan option (2 adults, 2 kids) is available for just $199.

Four game You Pick'em Mini Plan ticket options begin at just $91, making Stanford Football one of the most affordable sports entertainment options in the Bay Area.

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